Finalists for 8th Annual IHDA Selected

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Narrowing the Field: Preliminary Judging Panel selected finalists

Narrowing the Field: Preliminary Judging Panel selected finalists

New York—The 8th Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA) is a step closer to naming this year’s winners.

The awards, which recognize handbag designers in seven awards for handbag excellence, have entered its final phase. The IHDA preliminary judging panel shifted spent six hours shifting through more than 1,500 bags to settle on five finalists in each category—30 in total.

Winners Named June 18

These finalists will be announced on May 14 on as well as on where the IHDA Audience Fan Favorite is hosted. Last year, more than 440,000 votes were received, and “we’re looking to break that record one more time,” says Emily Blumenthal, founder and organizer of IHDA.

The final process before the June 18 awards, which are held at the SVA Theatre, is when the judges panel consisting of past Iconoclast award recipients such as Carlos Falchi, Deborah Lloyd of kate spade, designer Rafe, Erica Russo of Bloomingdale’s and Leah Karp of InStyle and more, come to the Garment Center Alliance (formerly the Fashion Center BID) to vote and determine who will be the winners.

Tickets are now available for purchase to this year’s awards ceremony at The Handbag

Blumenthal is busy with more than the IDHA. The self-described “fairy godmother of handbag designers,” Blumenthal also has been working on a reality TV series about handbags and is looking for participants.

“We have extended the deadline for casting through the end of today for the Handbag Designer Reality TV Show so for those of you who haven’t submitted a video, do so immediately and send it to,” Blumenthal says.

IHDA and John Doe Media are looking for independent handbag designers (men, women, or teams of any combination, any ethnicity, race, sexuality), who appear between the ages 18 to 45, “with personalities that match their equally brilliant designs for an unprecedented and groundbreaking fashion competition project.”

Blumenthal says the “perfect candidates will be loud, wild, fun, brash, bold and brave talents who are hungry to get recognized, by competing in a fast paced competition to create the hottest It bag for the millennial set.

Contestants for Reality TV Sought

The show’s premise is similar to that of “Project Runway” only the entire focus will be on leathergoods.

To apply for the TV show, applicants must send en email with all of the following information below completed and include a 2-minute video explaining why you should be selected to compete.

Information to be included:

Your Name:

Your Brand Name (if any):

Your Design Experience (including design degree when applicable):

Your Home Town:

Your Current City:

Your Age:

Your Website and links to your latest line sheets, look book or collection:

Where your bags are sold (if applicable)

Your Facebook page

Your Twitter Handle & Followers (if any):

Any Other Social Media & Followers that are relevant:

Blumenthal warns that since the planned series will not be for the “soft or timid,” applicants should exhibit a personality that matches their design talent.

(Note: Emails received without videos will be deleted.)



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