As 2020 comes to a close, we’re seeing that the newest handbag brands are changing the game. Up-and-coming designers have diverse backstories on how they founded their bag brands with a common regard on craftsmanship, materials, and accessibility. Quality and artistry aren’t just limited to the classic Birkins and Speedys anymore. Emerging handbag brands are thinking outside the box—quite literally, from semi-circles to croissants (yes, like the pastry). The best new handbags of 2020 throw out all the rules— from oversized totes to teeny-tiny handbags just enough to fit lipstick and a few Tic Tacs.
Ahead, see the 11 top designers to keep on your radar.
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After quitting their day job, wife and husband Aude Jan and Charles Gout moved from Paris to vibrant and hip Mexico City, where they launched their handbag and accessories brand Audette. Beautifully constructed, Audette bags reflect minimal shapes and refreshing colors of the culture of Mexico City. It fuses a French design team with Mexican leatherworkers and Italian leathers. This semicircle bag adds an understated, modern touch to your everyday attire while being versatile with an adjustable strap to wear cross-body or at shoulder-length.
Large Oil Canvas Shopper Tote Bag
Kassl Editions began in Amsterdam in 2018 as a sustainable outerwear brand, sourcing dead-stock fabrics from factories and combining luxury with technicality. Their sophisticated coats were a success, and now they launched an equally cool bag collection made with the same environmentally conscious materials. This puffy bag reflects their outerwear roots and feels like carrying a large, chic, pillow around that can fit everything but the kitchen sink.
Mini Pump Croc-Effect Leather Top Handle Bag
Named after the stylish character played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the ‘90s thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley, Marge Sherwood is the latest trendy bag brand of 2020. The South Korea-based bag brand is vintage-inspired with echoes of ‘50s and ‘60s silhouettes. This mini top-handle bag may not fit much, but tiny bags are an ongoing trend and impossible to resist.
COA-NYC, short for Coming of Age, stays true to its name as the brand incorporates playful colors and practical designs that were inspired by the designer Luri’s childhood in Miami. This cute Everyday Bag reminds us of school lunch bags, upgraded in silk gingham sourced from the garment district in NYC.
Croissant Leather Top Handle Bag
Reike Nen is an accessories company from Seoul that combines classic elegance with a contemporary twist. This Croissant Leather Top Handle Bag was not made out of butter, but the leather sure feels like it. Wear it over your shoulder as the slouchy, shape imitates a hobo bag. Alternatively, fold it in half and create a completely new look.
Silk Cloqué Knot Bag
Each of NST Studio’s pieces are completely one-of-a kind and made-to-order in charming prints. It’s hard not to fall in love with all of their darling bags, done up in jacquard pastels and silk florals fit for Marie Antoinette. While the Silk Cloqué Knot Bag is great for a day in the park, it also makes for a perfect evening bag.
Vavvoune was founded by self-taught designer Valerie Blaise. The leather accessories are created in a small, in-house studio in Brooklyn, New York and much of Blaise’s inspiration comes from her Haitian background. This beauty is structured and elegant, with custom hardware details. Wear it using the top handle or across the body with its removable strap.
Mila Shoulder Bag
JW Pei’s website is a library of vegan leather bags in dozens of designs and colors, cut in the trendiest styles of the season. The best part? It is super affordable. The L.A.-based brand wanted to make sustainable, fashion-forward pieces effortless and accessible. Get lost browsing through the endless designs, but take pause with this knotted, powder blue shoulder bag.
Sorbet Woven Tote Bag
Launched in March 2020, Maison Modulare was founded by Chrys Wong, who discovered success by creating luxury masks using fabric surplus in response to the global pandemic. Wong’s brand reflects her zero-waste policy and consists of pieces made by family-owned operations across the world, including Oaxaca, Mexico, where this hand-crafted weaved tote was made from 100% recyclable vinyl. This sturdy, colorful tote is perfect for running errands, going to the beach or grabbing produce at the local farmer’s market.
Bowl Mini Bag
After years only being sold exclusively on its website, Frenzlauer is now available in top-tier retailers and we couldn’t be more excited. Their geometric shapes are surprisingly practical and will gain you many compliments.
Unofficially dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin,” the Telfar Shopping Bag is the most coveted bag of the year. The vegan tote bag, embossed with their iconic logo, is typically spotted on cool, underground, creative artists of New York. Because of its popularity, the only way to get a hold of one is to wait for a bag drop online, where bags sell out in minutes. Despite its scarcity, the black-owned, non-gendered fashion brand initially created the bag to be accessible for the community. The Large Shopping Bag is the ideal weekend and travel bag, but don’t bother deciding on just one—you’ll find an excuse to collect it in every size and color.
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