Vavvoune Mishe bag in pear green. Via
Carrying a bag from a Black designer can feel like being a part of a secret society. Standing in line and hearing “Hey, G-Hive!” or walking into a party and hearing “OK, Haus Wife!” offer a moment of solidarity between the bag owner and a complete stranger.
Telfar Global has made strong impressions with its highly coveted, and hard to get, Shopping Bag. Affectionately known as the Bushwick Birkin, Telfar was founded in 2005 by Telfar Clemens, a queer Liberian-American designer who aimed to create a genderless bag for everyone. Seen on the arm of celebrities like Solange Knowles, Dua Lipa and Oprah, Telfar has catapulted to the forefront of Black luxury and helped redefine the term, centering access and celebration.
Last month, fashion brand Guess was criticized after social media users pointed out the design of their new embossed G-logo tote looked eerily similar to Telfar’s Shopping Bag. The criticism and pressure caused Guess to immediately halt the sale.
Telfar Creative Director Babak Radboy told the New York Times that Guess’ copycat couldn’t replicate the significance of the original, which was not “about an object, but about the culture of the bag, the story around the bag and the phenomenon of the bag.”
Telfar isn’t the only bag that’s selling out its drops, gaining die-hard fans or reclaiming luxury for Black designers and all buyers. Below are a few others, that you’ll want to make staples in your spring wardrobe:
I have to be honest, if Kim Kardashian is wearing it, I’m interested. Last fall, Kardashian posed on her Instagram with a neutral “End Systemic Racism” mini-tote, which had people talking not only about the message, but the designer.
Brandon Blackwood, a Brooklyn-based designer who once studied neuroscience, launched his line in 2015 with four bag designs, all named after his closest friends and family.
In a sit down with Teen Vogue, Blackwood said he wanted to use his platform to create something with purpose after witnessing the social and racial injustices last spring. What started with just over 500 bags has turned into thousands.
Price range: $70 – $85
Vavvoune is the brainchild of Haitian-born Bostonian Valerié Blaise. After getting interested in leatherwork, Blaise relocated to New York City to better learn and understand the craft..
In 2015, Blaise purchased a sewing machine and stitched her first bag, the first step to launching her line. With Vavvoune, she aims to use “color, details and versatility” to modernize leather classics “through subtle but efficient femininity.”
“As a young black woman, people and professions do not take you seriously, especially in the fashion world,” Blaise told BostonVoyager. “That too comes with burdens and gives you space to buckle up and make adjustments.”
With praise from the likes of designer Christian Siriano, Vavvoune’s structured and sleek bags offer a touch of modern sophistication to any wardrobe.
Price range: $190 – $495
Birthed in the middle of the pandemic, Haus of Sy has emerged as one of the bag brands to keep an eye out for.
Suburban Detroiter Angel Reeves designed the vibrant circle shaped handbags and mini-totes after she lost her job as a licensed practical nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reeves started the project to bring in extra income, juggling homeschooling her son while his father worked.
Since launching the brand from her closet last November, Reeves has sold over 800 candy-colored, vegan leather bags. Her most recent drop sold out her inventory in less than 20 minutes.
Price Range: $110 -$150