Normalize Black-owned luxury
Last month, there was a social media uproar over a comment made about Hermès Birkin bags. If you are not familiar with Birkin Bags, they are the most expensive handbags in the world, costing up to $500,000 and a starting price around $40,000. While Hermès and other iconic brands that are synonymous with luxury have earned their status, there remains a population of Black luxury handbag designers that are underrepresented and under-acknowledged in the fashion industry. Here is my list of luxury Black handbag designers and brands to know.
Brandon Blackwood launched his first handbag collection in 2015. The materials used to make his handbags are ethnically sourced and constructed by craftsmen in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. under fair trade standards. His signature Kendrick trunk style bag (pictured below) is my favorite. I also like his recent exploration of fashion and activism with the “End Systemic Racism” tote bag.
Forbes’ 30 under 30 honoree, Kunmi, began Minku as a bespoke leather goods brand. All items are made in Nigeria and the Eleko Wave™ leather finish adds an interesting floral-like texture to the leather pieces.
Dr. Pachanga’s brand features vegan leather handbags with bold wax print accents, designed by high end fashion designer, Jean Rene Tosomba Onyangunga, also known as Dr. Pachanga. The Congolese designer, based in South Africa, designs colorful handbags with unique styles and in a variety of silhouettes. Each style in Dr. Pachanga’s line is produced in limited quantities, and while in South Africa, I anecdotally learned that each handbag is also named after women in his life. The Vanessa is pictured below.
Cameroonian-born, Wilglory, is the designer behind the brand, Anima Iris. The website states that they are “redefining luxury by including Africa in the narrative, once and for all.” Another sustainable brand with social responsibility at its core, each piece is handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal. Each bag is exquisitely designed and the holiday collection is glorious, including the Zaza bag pictured below, complete with the signature twisted handle.
Whether you are shopping for others during this holiday season or shopping for yourself, I hope you found a few new Black handbag designers to support. Which designer is your favorite?