New York—When it began nine years ago, the Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA) seemed like a good idea, providing some much needed recognition to new designers. Since then the IHDA have grown into a highly-anticipated event.
On Wednesday Handbag Designer 101 revealed the winners (IHDA) at the School of Visual Arts Theatre. Hosted by founder Emily Blumenthal, more than 400 industry insiders, designers and celebrity supporters came out to celebrate the latest in handbag design.
From a pool of 1,500 submissions collected globally, winners were named in the nine distinct categories. Mandy Chang Design Studio secured top honors as the recipient of The EVINE Live Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design, while Jennifer Hamley England proved most popular; taking home the award for The InStyle.com Audience Fan Favorite. Also the receiver of The Stand Out & Look Great Work Bag by MOO, she obtained more than 143,000 of the 453,000+ total fan votes.
This year’s overall voting crowd demonstrated the largest ever in any InStyle.com poll; with the contest reaching four times beyond the user engagement of even just a year ago.
These winning handbags will be featured in the September issue of InStyle. They are:
The EVINE Live Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design: Mandy Chang Design Studio: Mandy Chang, USA. The bags in this category represented the best-execution in complete style and design. The winner will receive a booth at WWDMAGIC, a mentorship with Hilldun, and a brand consultancy with the Accessory Think Thank. The Best Overall will also earn an exciting opportunity to sell her line on-air on EVINE Live. This category was presented by David Miller, Vice President–Merchandising for EVINE Live and Juliet Falchi, daughter of famed designer and IHDA supporter, Carlos Falchi.
- The InStyle.com Audience Fan Favorite: Jennifer Hamley England: Jennifer Hamley, UK
- The TRINA TURK Best Student Made Handbag: GRIP Handbags: Danielle Gumina, Pepperdine University, USA. These bags were created while the students were pupils in their chosen educational programs. The winner of the student award will receive a coveted apprenticeship with famed designer, Trina Turk and Signal Brands. This category was presented by Trina Turk, CEO, Trina Turk.
- The BERNINA Best Handmade Handbag: Kabo Leather: Boris Matveev, USA. Made by hand, machine sewn, crocheted or knitted, winner of this award will receive the BERNINA 560 sewing machine. In addition, he will have the prestigious opportunity to act as “Ambassador” via brand social channels and the Bernina We All Sew blog. The selected participant will have the wonderful opportunity to represent the 120+ year old company. This category was presented by Amy Gutierrez, Director of Marketing, BERNINA of America
- The KLEAN KANTEEN Best Green Handbag: GUNAS: Sugandh Agrawal, USA. All bags submitted in this category are made of renewable, organic, or recycled materials, reflecting Klean Kanteen’s longstanding commitment to sustainable style. The winner will have the opportunity to work together with Klean Kanteen on innovative, upcoming projects. This category will be presented by Carl Johnson and Liz Rovira, Klean Kanteen PR and Backbone Media.
- The FASHION 4 DEVELOPMENT Most Socially Responsible Handbag: Leonor: Ana Maria Plata, Colombia, Made in Colombia. All entries in this category met specific ethical and moral standards with regards to production, employment and philanthropy – all while impacting the local culture. The winner will receive a feature on Fashion 4 Development’s powerful, socially responsible network. This category will be presented by Evie Evangelou, President & Founder, Fashion 4 Development.
- The MARY KAY Most Irresistible Makeup Bag: Carla Lopez: Emilia Arzua & Carla Lopez, Spain. Created from sketch to bag, the Mary Kay Most Irresistible Makeup Bag winner will have created a supremely versatile and stylish bag for every woman to carry her Mary Kay beauty products. The winner will enjoy the opportunity to work on Mary Kay projects and features on global MaryKay.com as well as the brand’s social media platforms. This award will be presented by Sheryl Adkins-Green, Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay.
- The Stand Out & Look Great Work Bag by MOO: Jennifer Hamley England: Jennifer Hamley, UK. The winner of this category worked wonders in creating a unisex bag for professionals on the go; cleverly melding fashion and function. The winner will earn MOOlah with which to create business stationary, promotional materials, and merchandising assets. The designer and bag will further be showcased on moo.com, its social channels, as well as on Handbag Designer 101. This category will be presented by Lisa Vaughan Gralnek, Head of Brand Marketing, MOO.
- Distinctly Denim by Guess Handbags – Denim by Guess Handbags: Mary Lai: Marylai New York. Created from sketch to actual bag, finalists bags in this category were challenged to utilize denim in a playful and imaginative way by embracing the personality of the Guess brand. The winner will garner the opportunity to have her bag sold on Guess.com and to work alongside the brand’s handbag designer based in Florence, Italy. The Guess Foundation will contribute a portion of the proceeds generated through the sale of the winning bag to the social service agency, Peace Over Violence whose mantra is make a social statement with your fashion statement and wear denim for a purpose. This category was presented by Jason Rimokh, President, Signal Brands.
Besides being published in the September issues if InStyle, all winners will receive a yearlong membership to The Accessories Council.
In addition, the IHDA honored Rebecca Minkoff with the ICONOCLAST Award for Lifetime Achievement in Handbag Design.
Other industry notables in attendance included Angela Matusik, Executive Editor, Digital, InStyle Magazine, Trina Turk and Sheryl Adkins-Green, Chief Marketing Officer of Mary Kay. Monica Botkier and Rafe Totengco, past IHDA ICONOCLAST recipients were also there to support the Handbag Awards class of 2015 talent.
The IHDA Sponsors include InStyle, EVINE Live, Guess, Signal Brands, Trina Turk, BERNINA, MOO, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Klean Kanteen, WWDMagic, Fashion 4 Development, Basic Adhesives, The Accessories Council, Hilldun, The Fashion Class, The NPD Group, Garment Center Alliance, Save the Garment Center, Bottomless Closet, The Accessory Think Tank, The MANHATTAN Affinia Hotel, The TassenMuseum of Bags and Purses, Leather Suede Skins, Pantone, M&J Trimming, Spector Events, and Ceradello Prosecco. www.thehandbagawards.com.
To learn about more the winners or to purchase the IHDA winning bags, go to www.handbagdesigner101.com