New York—Frankly it was a laborious process but an interesting one. This week, Handbag Designer 101 announced the finalists for the eighth annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA). The 30 finalists were selected from more than 1,500 submissions received from five continents, 28 countries, including Colombia, Peru, Egypt, Venezuela, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Nigeria and Israel.
The “Handbag Awards” (www.thehandbagawards.com) has created the opportunity for unknown designers to not only be discovered but have their wares featured in the September issue of InStyle, be carried by Bloomingdale’s, create a bag for Guess, partner with Timberland and more. (For a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the selection process, see the video on You Tube.
As part of the awards process, from now through May 30, the public is invited to vote online at InStyle.com to select the “Audience Favorite Fan” category which last year garnered more than the 440,000 votes. Click for link
This year’s winners, including the Audience Favorite will be announced at a ceremony on July 18 at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan.
The Finalists (http://www.thehandbagawards.com/finalists/2014)
Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design: These bags represent the best-executed handbag in overall style and design. Winner will receive a booth at WWD Magic and the opportunity to have their line carried at Bloomingdale’s.
●Jalan Sahba, Italy
● Bernice Angelique, South Africa
●Ella McHugh, USA
●Manar Laktineh: Moni & J, Kuwait
●John Edwards: Florian London
The Optitex Best Student Made Handbag: Designed by students, these bags were all created during their education. Winner will garner the opportunity to become an “Optitex Brand Ambassador” to demonstrate 3D technology throughout Optitex major global customers together with full Optitex 2D & 3D package (worth $20,000) and an iPad mini with the new Optitex Fast Sample application.
●Stephanie Carnes, Fashion Institute of Technology, USA
●Amy Davidson, The Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
●Palwasha Iqbal: Palwasha Designs, Fashion Institute of Technology, USA
●Morgan Richards: Morgan Rhea, The Savannah College of Art and Design, USA
●Kathleen Friedman: KathleenDia, Fashion Institute of Technology, USA
The Bernina Best Handmade Handbag: Made by hand, machine sewn, crocheted or knitted, the winning bag will garner the winning designer the BERNINA 560 sewing machine (with a retail value of $5,000.) In addition, winners will have the opportunity to be an “Ambassador for BERNINA” in creating blogs and projects for BERNINA social media and We All Sew Blog.
●Mary Lai: Marylai New York, USA
●Lauren van der Kolk: LVDK, The Netherlands
●Anna Sushko: Anya Sushko Handbags, Latvia
●Gili Rozin Tamam: MeDusa, Israel
●Tessa Spielhofer, UK
The Timberland Best Green Handbag: These bags are made out of renewable, organic, or recycled materials, reflecting Timberland’s longstanding commitment to sustainable style. Winner will receive the chance to have their product displayed at select Timberland stores.
●Jessica Rizzuti: Jess Rizzuti New York, USA
●Devinder Singh: KC Malhan, USA
●Carolina Riffi Ollite-Hopman: Carat23, The Netherlands
●Mindy Madden: Melaina Madden, New Zealand
●Alla Klingman: All Leather Art, Israel
The FEED Most Socially Responsible Handbag: All entries meet certain ethical and moral standards in regards to production, employment and philanthropy while impacting the local culture. The winner will receive a feature on social business FEED’s website, feedprojects.com.
● Zainab Ashadu: Zadashu, Nigeria, Made in Nigeria
●Monica Frisbie: Mondrina, USA, Made in Peru
●Charlotte Lefebvre: Bush Princess, Kenya, Made in Kenya
●Deena Gabr: Deena Abdul, USA, Made in Egypt
●Aase Marie Hole: HAA, Norway, Made in Indonesia
Distinctly Denim by Guess Handbags: Created from sketch to actual bag, these are the most trend driven, utilizing denim in an imaginative way by embracing the personality of the Guess brand. Winner will garner an amazing opportunity to have their bag sold on Guess.com, work alongside our handbag designer based in Florence, Italy. The Guess Foundation will contribute to the social service agency, Peace Over Violence, a portion of the proceeds generated through the sale of the winning bag.
●Tika Kuchukhidze, TIKA, Spain
●Mary Lai: Marylai New York, USA
●Angela Brown: Scarfia, USA
●Ayana Evans: YANA Handbags, USA
● Pilar Tarrau: Pilar Tarrau Bags, Venezuela
This year Monica Botkier of BOTKIER, will receive the 2014 IHDA ICONOCLAST Award. Born and raised in New York, fashion photographer turned internationally celebrated handbag designer, Monica Botkier, switched her photography career in 2003 to fashion which, six months later, would change her name into a global enterprise after introducing her signature “Trigger” bag. In her early beginnings, Botkier saw a void in the marketplace and quickly became recognized and honored into the CFDA as the first independent accessories designer to offer luxury, designer handbags at an approachable pricepoint. Botkier’s urban roots continue to inspire her to construct timeless silhouettes that appeal to confident, style-savvy woman worldwide including celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Rihanna.
IHDA Sponsors incclude InStyle, Bloomingdale’s, Timberland, FEED, BERNINA, Guess, Optitex, WWDMagic, AHQ: The Accessory Headquarters, The NPD Group, Garment Center Alliance, Save the Garment Center, Bottomless Closet, The Accessory Think Tank, The LEXINGTON NEW YORK CITY, Leather Suede Skins, Pantone, M&J Trimming, AriZona Beverages, Zonin Prosecco, and Polkadot Cupcake Shop.