Last week, NYC was home to several major fashion awards. The CFDA of course, feted the mega-clothing labels like Marc Jacobs, Rodarte and Calvin Klein. These are the guys you already know and have been around forever .What about handbags and the truly unique, independent designer? Handbag Designer 101 held its annual awards this week as well. The chic, lively event was held at the classic New York Historical Society on Central Park West. This event recognized the best in individual creativity among handbag designers. Proving that the night was not just about pretty purses, categories like “Best Green Handbag Design” and “Most Socially Responsible Handbag” was awarded to designers who create with a conscience. The competition accepted entries from designers all over the world. The prizes were truly important in the assistance it gave to the winning designer. Awards included essential equipment like sewing machines and access to materials libraries. Apprenticeships for students, a contract to develop a collection with a Swarovski, a deal to sell the winning bag at Sak’s as well as a sponsored booth at the top handbag trade show in Las Vegas.
Lulu Guinness was presented with the Iconoclast award and made everyone smile by wearing a witty Giles Deacon dress paired with her own lip-shaped handbag to make a face onstage. In her acceptance speech, she hit home that independent designers were more important than ever in this time of economic trouble. People need things that are unique and well made.Perks for attendees? They must have had one of the most useful gift bags I have ever received as a guest (and designer!) The glossy Lulu Guinness bag held a pair of the designer’s slippers (comfort), a printed silk scarf from Rosangel (keep a bad hair day in check), Vitamin Water (for dehydrated, malnourished creatives), Foot Petals (for fashionista heels), measuring tape, pins, Pantone color inspiration CD and Singer sewing guide (no explanation needed).Read about the winners here.