The rollout of Covid vaccinations across the globe has left it looking like we may actually be able to venture outside this summer. With bars and restaurants beginning to reopen in the UK, the scramble to get our summer wardrobes ready is well and truly underway. Of course, no outfit is complete without the perfect bag, and quality and flair are no longer limited to the big brand ‘it’ bags, as a new wave of emerging designers are shaking up the scene. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite leather (vegan included) handbags that are ready to be your next wardrobe staple.
THE 10 EMERGING LEATHER HANDBAG BRANDS TO WATCH
Donnant Donnant is known for producing smart streetwear with a conscience, and the name itself summarises the brand perfectly. Translating to “being in a win-win situation” in French, the name stems from the fact that each of Donnant Donnant’s pieces are sustainable and ethically handcrafted using animal-free materials. Each bag is produced in Portugal and crafted from premium vegan leather.
In terms of the design, the brand’s edgy, clean aesthetic blends sleek minimalism with urban functionality. Founders Marion Disaro & Alessandra Servi focus on structure and versatility in their designs, resulting in timeless pieces that transcend seasons and gender. Coming in neutral blacks, whites and gunmetal greys the bags can easily be paired with any outfit, adding a sophisticated modern twist to any look.
Have a browse of our favourite Donnant Donnant pieces here.
KIKIITO is the brainchild of designer and artisan, Kiki Ito. Her bags are designed and handmade in London using high quality Italian leather, juxtaposing modern aesthetics and materials with traditional craftsmanship. Characterised by their unique shapes, the minimalist bags can be seemingly inserted into any outfit to bring an avant-garde edge.
The brand produce bags in a range of styles and sizes, from clutches to holdalls, but our favourite has to be the Shape Shifter. YUGEN teamed up with Kikiito to release an exclusive limited edition bag for the Shape Shifter with only 5 pieces available. Merging YUGEN’s iconic blue suede, with Kikiito’s crisp structured lines, the bag adds an instant sense of polish to any outfit, while the neoprene rubber cord bracelet-style handle adds a covetable sporty chic vibe.
The Shape Shifter bag is available to shop now on YUGEN, as well as Kikiito’s other stand-out designs.
Drawing inspiration from the people she’s met, places she’s been, and stories she’s heard, Giorgia Andreazza's eponymous brand carries a message of self-expression. Dynamism and creativity mix with precise tailoring and skill to produce truly unique and one-of-a-kind items, catering to anyone who is not afraid to stand out from a crowd or express themselves.
The designer recently released ‘Cora’, the first official accessory of the Giorgiandreazza brand. Characterised by a strong design and great versatility, the different handles allow the wearer to hold the bag in 3 different ways; in the hand, on the wrist, or over the shoulder. Modern, sleek and sophisticated, it’s handmade in Italy using lambskin leather from the corporate waste of a Milanese factory. With its vibrant pastel purple colour, Giorgia Andreazza’s first bag makes for the perfect spring/summer accessory.
You can shop the bag here.
404 Studio is an emerging fashion brand - born and based in Spain - whose approach to fashion is based on seeking uniqueness and reinventing tradition through a contemporary vision by the design and production of crafted knitwear garments. The brand merges fashion with different creative expressions such as art and cinema, with each collection being inspired by a movie.
For the ‘Holy Mountain’ collection, 404 Studio released a bag in collaboration with Belfry inspired by the cult surrealist film ‘The Sacred Mountain’, by Alexander Jodorowsky. The two brands were united by their shared ethos of fighting overproduction and fast fashion. Resultantly, each bag is made to order as part of the #slowfashion movement so if you purchase the bag, not only are you supporting emerging brands, but you’re also helping the planet.
Check out the range on YUGEN.
A.Cloud has been dedicated to crafting timeless handbags for the independent woman since it was founded in 2016. The brand effortlessly fuses classic vintage with modern styling to create contemporary luxury handbags at affordable prices, all whilst maintaining a high quality of craftsmanship. The designs are strongly influenced by retro aesthetics and simple geometric structures, pervading simple and romantic designs.
As well as top quality craftsmanship, sustainability is integral to A.Cloud’s ethos. The brand uses carefully selected, environmentally safe dying methods and its factory ensures eco-friendly practices at every stage, including the purification of water waste. Under the sustainability umbrella, A.Cloud create bags with a focus on quality and longevity, with the brand intending for the products to be used “for decades to come”, which is solidified through its dedicated repair and care service.
You can shop A.Cloud’s stand-out pieces on YUGEN.
Designed in the UK and made in Italy, S.Joon produce luxury leather goods adhering to the ‘buy well and buy less’ philosophy. Inspired by a love of vintage handbags, the brand uses traditional fabrics, such as crocodile effect calf leather and soft Italian nappa, juxtaposing them with experimental structures.
Whilst the unique bag shapes like the ‘Teardrop’ and ‘Tulip’ stand out for all the right reasons, functionality isn’t compromised with the latter 90’s inspired baguette bag being big enough to hold all your daily essentials. The playful nature of the designs stem from founder Sahar Asvandi’s background. Establishing the brand in 2017, Asvandi is a former choreographer and dance teacher who now uses her love of dance to guide her design approach and influences which can be seen in the shapes, movements and overall feel of the bags.
Images The Sant
Handcrafted in Barcelona by traditional artisans, The Sant produce minimalist bags centring around four basic principles: exclusivity, originality, trend and quality. The brand’s objective is to “create innovative designs finding inspiration in the artistic avant-garde, revisiting it from a temporary point of view.”
The Sant expertly experiments with proportions, creating stand-out bags made from high quality leather and hardware with exacting finishes. Their handbags are instantly recognisable by the signature scrunchie handle, and structured aesthetic.
The contemporary handbag brand Marge Sherwood was created by design duo, Sungeun Um and Soonyoung Kim. The brand is named after the heroine from the film ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’, with the designers reflecting “the graceful and sophisticated image of Marge Sherwood” through their creations. Minimalist, colourful handbags illustrate the brand, making them perfect for pairing with summer outfits.
As well as the main line, Marge Sherwood also launched the casual line ‘NONSEASON’, an outlet for creative collaborations with various artists, whilst maintaining the brand’s core identity. NONSEASON sees Um and Kim introducing different designs and materials inspired by the “freewill spirits of street culture for all seasons”.
As the world of fashion begins to head in a more sustainable direction, Mashu are one step ahead when it comes to their bags. Mashu have prioritised and sourced materials based on specific criteria; organic, plant-based, recycled, circular and cruelty-free. The brand have swapped out animal products for the likes of vegan leather, Piñatex (made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, the byproduct of the fruit industry), hemp, and Diniamica, to name but a few.
The accessories label was founded by London based designer Ioanna Topouzoglou, who designs the bags in London before they are made by artisans in Greece. Topouzoglou draws inspiration from Art Deco styling, along with Cycladic and contemporary architecture.
Coperni is a Parisian ready-to-wear and accessories brand established in 2013 by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant. The brand’s bags are created using Italian prestige leather and are created with elegance and functionality in mind. Coperni has a focus on strong architectural form exemplified through the minimalist curved shapes of the bag straps.
Always on the lookout for the next great idea, Meyer and Vaillant draw inspiration from the most unexpected of places such as the ’swipe to unlock' icon of an iPhone that inspired the ‘Swipe Bag’, and the bow-like bluetooth symbol for the appropriately named ‘Mini Bluetooth Bag.
Since its formation, Coperni has won ANDAM’s Creative Label Prize in 2014, and went on to become a finalist for the prestigious LVMH Prize in 2015.
Text: Sam Pennington