Winners of 7th Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards Announced

In What's New, Industry News by Accessories Staff

This year's IHDA Iconoclast honoree Rafé Totengco with Ann Caruso, stylist. (Photos by Andrew Werner)

This year’s IDHA Iconoclast honoree Rafé Totengco with Ann Caruso, stylist. (Photos by Andrew Werner)

New York—It was nail biter  Wednesday evening since more than 1,000 handbag designs were submitted to this year’s HBDNetwork’s Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA).

Held at the School of Visual Arts Theater, the IHDA recognizes and discovers new designer talent and creativity across an array of  handbag categories. Founded by Handbag Designer 101, now HBDNetwork, the handbag designer resource, and Emily Blumenthal, the IHDA is now in its seventh year and has become an industry staple.

Winners were named this year in six categories including Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design, which went to Maria Lamanna of Maria Lamanna Handbags. In addition—with nearly a half of a million votes cast on—the Audience Fan Favorite was presented to Franziska Clamer of Italy.

Also recognized for lifetime achievement in handbag design was Rafé Totengco of Rafé New York  and The Jones Group Inc., who was presented with the Iconoclast Award by celebrity stylist, Ann Caruso.

Other industry notables in attendance included: Cindy Weber-Cleary, fashion director of InStyle; Phillip Bloch, celebrity stylist; Deborah Lloyd of kate spade new york; handbag industry legend Carlos Falchi; Auld,  Anthony Ryan Auld, “Project Runway” winner; Brooke Jaffe,  fashion accessories director of Bloomingdale’s,  and Lauren Parker, editor of Accessories magazine.

The winning handbags will be featured in the September issue of InStyle. They include:

Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design–This bag represented the best executed handbag in overall style and design and will win a collaboration with Rafé Totengco and have their bags sold at Bloomingdale’s: Maria Lamanna: Maria Lamanna Handbags, Italy

Audience Fan Favorite – These bags were voted on by’s online audience with more than 200,000 votes of the 420,000 received: Franziska Clamer; einmalig, Italy.

Deborah Lloyd of kate spade new york with Emily Blumenthal, HBD Network

Deborah Lloyd of kate spade new york with Emily Blumenthal, HBD Network

The Charming Charlie Best Student-Made Handbag– These bags were designed by students who started their lines while still in school and will win an apprenticeship on with Charming Charlie. Carmen Ortiz; LINOZA, USA,  from Parsons The New School for Design.

The Brother Best Handmade Handbag–These bags are made by hand, machine sewn, crocheted or knitted and will win a Brother Sewing Studio and a brand ambassadorship with Brother as well: Mary Lai; MARYLAI of New York.

The Timberland Best Green Handbag–These bags are made out of sustainable, recycled or organic materials and will have their bags sold in Timberland retail locations: Rachel Santos; Dante Robles Design.

Most Socially Responsible Handbag–These bags meet certain ethical and moral standards in regards to production, employment and philanthropy while impacting the local culture and will win a collaboration with John Paul Selects of Patron and John Paul Mitchell: Maria Teresa Aristeguieta; MTAbags of Venezuela.

Brooke Jaffe, Bloomingdale's; Maria Lamanna, and Carlos Falchi

Brooke Jaffe, Bloomingdale’s; Maria Lamanna, and Carlos Falchi

The 2013 IHDA sponsors include InStyle Magazine, Bloomingdale’s, Timberland, Brother, Charming Charlie, John Paul Selects, WWDMAGIC, Baikal Handbag Manufacturing, SHM Corporate Navigators, Save the Garment Center, The Fashion Center BID, M&J Trimming, The Accessory Think Tank, Leather Suede and Skins, vitaminwater, Voga Italia, Figenza, keren precel events, Hyatt 48 Lex New York and Bottomless Closet.

All winning bags may be viewed at

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