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Supporting Black designers is a practice that extends beyond Black History Month as there honestly are so many that it’s basically impossible to fit all of this greatness into just 28 days. Fashion is one area where there’s such a wide range of Black talent to choose from, making it such a joy to shop.
Particularly, luxury Black-owned handbag brands are having a moment more than ever before with the popularity of cult-favorite brands like TELFAR and Brandon Blackwood. While both of these options make quality pieces that are now No. 1 best sellers across the wider fashion circuit, there are several other Black-owned handbag brands that also deserve the same praise and attention.
From the super sleek and modern Ree Projects totes to the more abstract and attention-grabbing ASHYA Slingback Mini, check out the six best bags to shop from Black designers that aren’t TELFAR or Brandon Blackwood below.
1. Homage Year Mini Ova Top Handle Bag, $250
Buy Now at Saks Fifth Avenue
Antoine Manning founded Homage Year in 2014 with the purpose of each piece serving as a “homage to our people, our culture, [and] to our environment.” The brand added that it also prides itself on “acknowledging where we stand in the midst of all of that.”
These unisex bags are crafted with comfort and longevity in mind to align with the brand’s slogan: “Good quality, bad company.”
Homage Year’s Mini Ova Top Handle Bag is one of its best sellers to date and features a unique shape that’s versatile enough for both formal and casual wear.
2. Ree Projects Ann Medium East-West Tote Bag, $625
Buy Now at Neiman Marcus
Black Amsterdam-based designer Desiree Kleinen founded Ree Projects in 2016 in the Benelux and later expanded globally in 2019. The skillfully trained designer, who has over two decades of industry experience, creates these unique and sleek bags to empower, inspire and include all women.
What sets Ree Projects’ bags apart from others are their distinctive shapes and constructions that add to their overall elegance.
“I want to create pieces that resonate with who I am and the world around me in a genuine way,” Kleinen said on the brand’s website. “I love to empower and inspire all the women around the globe to be herself and emphasize her strength, her pure beauty and personality.”
Ree Projects’ Ann Medium East-West Tote Bag is one of its most popular pieces, and it looks stunning from literally every angle.
3. Yvonne Koné Little Filippo Leather Tote, $687
Buy Now at Nordstrom
The brand also elevates the look and feel of the traditional belt bag, with its Yari Leather Belt Bag serving as the perfect example of how these can transcend casual wear.
It’s streamlined, compact and crafted from smooth Italian Vitello leather left untreated for a natural finish. You can wear this practical and versatile bag at the waist, low on the hips or as a crossbody over the shoulder.
5. ASHYA Slingback Mini Bag, $1,050
Buy Now on Ashya
American and Jamaican design duo Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece co-founded the accessories design label ASHYA in 2017. Rooted in travel, cultural awareness and “the act of unifying style and utility,” the brand first emerged as an “ode to exploration,” a theme that lent to its utilitarian and unique aesthetic.
The brand’s website explains that the design inspiration for these bags came from Black, Brown and Indigenous communities and transient modern life.
Though pricey, these bags feature top-of-the-line materials and construction that make them true keepsakes that you’ll be able to pass down for generations. The best-selling ASHYA Slingback Mini Bag is hand-stitched and made with vegetable tanned cow leather and 14 karat gold-plated hardware. It’s also lined with organic cotton canvas and features much more storage compartments than you may expect.
6. Love,Cortnie Arya Mini Leather Backpack, $228
Buy Now on Love,Cortnie
Cortnie Elizabeth started her namesake brand in her grandmother’s kitchen during the summer of 2011. The idea of making her first bag — a clutch — was born when she was playing around on her grandmother’s sewing machine and noticed some scrap fabric that she could repurpose.
A week after her grandmother taught her how to sew, she made her first clutch in a little over three hours. A week later, Cortnie opened her Etsy shop with just three bags available. Today, she’s created over 200 different styles and branched out from clutches into making totes, bucket bags, waist bags, backpacks and more. Every Love,Cortnie piece is handmade and well-constructed.
The Arya Leather Backpack is one of her top sellers to date and comes in over 20 colors.
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