You can never have too many handbags — or at least that’s the motto I go by. Over the years, I’ve collected a multitude of bags in different sizes, shapes, colors and price points. Even the ultra-tiny micro bags that can barely fit my keys.
But as my collecting hobby progressed, I began to really think about what it means to shop intentionally when it comes to accessories. Going out into the world with a nice-looking handbag in tow is confidence-boosting, but when it also comes from a Black designer whose values align with mine, something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store becomes a deeply personal experience.
My dive into finding Black-owned bags started with well-known brands like Telfar and Brandon Blackwood, and expanded as I became more familiar with other designers. These discoveries were largely due to following accounts on Instagram dedicated to sharing Black-owned businesses and brands, such as @blackownedeverything, @betonblackowned and @15percentpledge.
Black representation in fashion remains an area with room for improvement for the industry — especially in the handbag arena — but in the meantime, there’s always room to celebrate and embrace the Black designers that do exist. These designers experiment with different textures and silhouettes, and make their bags accessible either on their own websites or through large retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Many Black designers also use their platforms to share thoughtful messages, stand up for social justice issues and give back to their communities, and several are included in the non-exhaustive list below.
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