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Monday, June 23, 2014

Independent Handbag Design Award Winners 2014


Congratulations to the talented winners of the Independent Handbag Design Awards 2014.  While the CFDA honors designers of multiple fashion categories, the IHDA is the only internationally known competition that celebrates the purse.

This was the 8th year that the awards were held, championed by accessories professor Emily Blumenthal.  The designers from over 100 countries around the world over the years consider her a Godmother of independent design.

Yes, these awards focus on labels that do not come from the same few corporations that run the industry.  Designers that win receive major pushes to their careers, such as partnerships with huge brands, photo spreads in InStyle magazine, launches at Bloomingdale's...

This year, the winner of Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design as well as Instyle.com's Audience Fan Favorite was John Edwards of Florian London.  His gorgeous wife accepted for him and humbly thanked everyone for their support.  She expressed his dream and sacrifices to get there.

That's what I love about these awards.  There is so much heart in the design, from the personal stories behind the makers to the good intentions in the handbag itself.  The winner for Timberland's Best Green Handbag was Carolina Riffi Ollite-Hopman of Carat23.  This was a category for bags made of renewable, organic or recycled materials.  The FEED sponsored the most Socially Responsible Handbag.  Monica Frisbie of Mondrina won for her Peru-made bag.

I loved Morgan Richard's story behind his winner for Optitex Best Student Made Handbag.  He dedicated his work to his uncle, who believed every piece should tell a story.  He made that directive literal, but telling the story of his uncle in a script-printed leather used on his bag.

Designers flew in from all over the world to attend the ceremony.  One of the few who did not make it was winner of Bernina's Best Handmade bag Gili Rozin Tamam.  She just had a baby.  Her MeDusa bag was a fun embossed and spiked clutch made from plastic.  MeDusa means "jellyfish" in Hebrew.

Guess Handbags sponsored a category asking for designers to sketch a bag using denim.  Finalists had their designs made and the winner, Tika Kuchukhidze of TIKA won an opportunity to work with the team in Italy.

Monica Botkier was this year's recipient for the Iconoclast award.  The Independent Handbag Designer Awards always honors a successful designer who also started independently and built a brand from scratch.

Get a jump on the next "It" bag from one of these designers and you can say you knew them when...

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