With 2021 trudging along the way it is, our fashion choices can and should be intentional. A handbag can be our most prized possession, a piece of art, or the everyday tote you rely on more than your BFF. The things we carry hold weight, both literally and emotionally, so make it a priority to diversify your closet. Black people matter and so do the businesses they own. We’ve rounded up 30 Black-owned handbag brands to know, support, and love. From fashion-industry favorites like Brother Vellies to indie brands you should be paying attention to, click through our gallery and remember to #BuyBlack.
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“Like the palm oil reds of Cameroon’s traditional Bamileke cloth, or the notable geometric shapes of Ghana’s kente, Africa’s bold history is reflected in the molds of our pieces,” Amina Iris’ landing page states. Handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal by seasoned craftsmen, this handbag line is the brainchild of designer Wilglory. Expect the unexpected with hexagon shapes, limited-edition metallic leathers, and more. If that’s not enough, you can even customize a bag to suit your tastes.
Fashion stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste created Petit Kouraj—Haitian Creole for “little courage”—and we can’t wait to see what’s next for the burgeoning brand. The designer was born in London, raised by Haitian parents, and is currently based in Brooklyn, so her design sensibility pulls from all of these cities and beyond. Think elevated mesh bags, dipped in natural dyes and embellished with seashells.
Luxe doesn’t even begin to describe Yvonne Koné’s aesthetic. Her supple leather goods are made in Italy, inspired by Danish minimalism, and infused with colors sourced from her Ivory Coast lineage. Bonus point: Her Instagram also doubles as a serious source for interior design inspiration.
Brandon Blackwood was born and bred between New York City and Tokyo, infusing his namesake label with a universal appeal. His designs vary so there’s something for everyone, but look to him if you want tight, clean, and boxy silhouettes like our favorite style, the Kuei top handle.
Launched in 2014 by Ghana native Akosua Afriyie-Kumi’s, AAKS is a true labor of love that offers marvelously crafted basket bags (and home goods!). These woven beauties can found in sixty stores worldwide, preserving traditional techniques while creating jobs in Africa.
Classically made leather goods are what you will find with Agnes Baddoo. The designer and stylist created her line with the focus on timelessness. These handbags are designed for everyday use to get you from point A to point B.
Inspired by matriarchs of her past, Anima Iris is a handbag brand crafted in Senegal. Holding to her beliefs and promises of sustainability, Anima Iris’ manufacturing process adopted a zero-waste model, which ensures no materials are wasted, so no two bags are the same.
Every so often a brand will burst onto the scene offering a special piece of magic This is Asata Maisé, the namesake label for a young black designer who specializes in sustainability with a vintage feel via one of a kind, patchwork designs. Based in Delaware, Maisé has been designing since she was 14, and already her creations ell out like hotcakes. Consider yourself blessed if you get a hold of one of her items.
Pronounced “agh-shya”, ASHYA was established in 2017 by co-founders Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece. Their collection of unisex travel accessories exude the brand’s motto: “Ode To Exploration.” Ultimately, ASHYA wants you to be your best self navigating this world in chic leather waist bags and accessories.
You might know Brother Vellies for its beautiful shoes, but the brand’s unique and stylish handbags are not to be missed. These luxury handbags are an industry favorite, crafted with the goal of continuing African design practices. Backed by Aurora James, the designer is notable for creating economic equity for Black brands with 15 Percent Pledge, an organization that pushes retailers to reserve 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses
Cheyenne Kimora is taking the term “bling bling” to the next level in 2020. The self-taught designer is based in Los Angles and established her eponymous brand in 2008. She is known for her signature crystal mini bags, but don’t sleep on her blinged out hats, durags, and more one-of-a-kind denim pieces . If you are addicted to handbags, be sure to snag one of these babies for your revered collection.
Edas seeks to accommodate the everyday eclectic. Designed by Sade Mims, the brand’s sleek and feminine handbags standout amongst the rest.
Haiti Design Co.
Guided by an old Haitian proverb, “men anpil, chay pa lou,” which means “many hands make the load light,” Haiti Designs Co. focuses on making a lasting impact. Rooted in sustainable effort since 2014, the brand partners with and houses production teams that work with various artisans to create their leather handbags.
Together, a mother and her two daughters are the force behind the handbag brand Helmer. Their vision is to bridge harmony and heritage with uniquely crafted handbags, inspired by their culture and love for travel. To dreamers everywhere, this bag is for you.
Caution: here’s your next bag addiction! Ethically handmade in Lagos and founded in 2018, Jumz Accessories makes contemporary woman bags inspired by African heritage. You can get it all here, from beaded clutches to woven basket bags, with most styles capping off around $100.
Ghanian Eyiwaa Agyekumhene is a designer with a purpose to honor the craftsmanship of her elders while appealing to all audiences. Each handmade piece tells a beautiful story.
Kintu New York
Minimalist and vibrant bags for the practical shopper are what you will find by Kintu. These bags are consciously designed with vegetable tanned leather, appealing to the dynamic urban wearer.
A week after learning to sew, Cortnie opened up her Etsy shop. Since then, she’s created statement clutches in various colors and textiles (our current fave is lime green calf hair), as well as crossbody, waist and bucket bags. A girl’s gotta have options!
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Mifland Leather Goods offers leather accessories that specialize in form and function. With architecturally inspired details, each bag is thoughtfully constructed to meet all of your needs.
Mowalola Ogunlesi was named design director of the upcoming Yeezy and Gap collaboration, but the designer’s own label is just as hot. Her eponymous label evokes that ’90s cool— her always-sold-out Bundle Bags are a true testament of that.
By now you can probably recognize an Off-White bag by its arrowed “X”, adorned binder clip, or cheeky quotation marks. In other words, an Off-White bag has become a modern classic.
Peju Obasa’s playful bags are exactly what we need to keep us together for the rest of the 2020. Make sure you peep her Instagram page, filled with cheeky “virtual styling sessions” with the designer’s dream clients.
Inspired by Japanese Furoshiki bags, Roop makes the cutest bundles of joy made from deadstock fabrics. Elastic scrunchie handles makes carrying this brand so much fun.
Made locally in Lagos, Nigeria, Shekudo focuses on making wearable art while incorporating age-old techniques. Not only do their bags make a visual statement, but the brand aims to create a global sisterhood of Shekudo wearers, empowering and celebrating women across the world.
Favored by celebrities like Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, and Alicia Keys, Tongoro is a brand to watch. The Senegal-based brand is known for its beautiful RTW pieces, so it’s no question that its handbags are equally exquisite.
Brooklyn based Vavvoune, pronounced vav-une, is a whole mood. Behind these leather goods is Valerie Blaise, a self-taught designer convincing us that both lavender and pea green is a neutral.
Paisley and the bandana print made a forceful comeback this year, and they were the source of inspiration for Yaito’s latest designs.
Quiet elegance and unabashed glamour is what you will find with Zashadu handbags. Created in Lagos, Nigeria, Zashadu is redefining luxury, where traditional techniques are harnessed by artisan using locally sourced materials.
Kia Goosby is a Fashion Editor for Hearst Fashion Group, who forever loves Atlanta, R&B music, believes butter with a side of bread makes everything better, and just so happens to cover all things in fashion for her main 9 to 5.
Justine Carreon is the market editor at ELLE.com covering fashion, Dutch ovens, and fashion again.
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