Independent Handbag Designer Awards honor emerging designers

Winners Lorna Nixon and Rachel Esswood

As the Emerging Designer Examiner, I couldn have been more thrilled to have attended the 2009 Independent Handbag Designer Awards on Wednesday night. Created by Emily Blumenthal, founder of Handbag Designer 101, this event honored the industry top talent in pursuit of elevating their design career.

The stats were quite impressive and the attendees made the night event more brilliant. In its third year, the contest received over 700 entries from all over the world and judges diligently narrowed it down to 35 finalists in 8 categories. The event also honored LuLu Guinness as this year’s ICONOCLAST winner who recently celebrated her 20th anniversary. Aside from giving us simply marvelous handbags, she taught us one of the most important mantras, can never have too many.

A stellar list of industry names came out to support these designer such as Carlos Falchi, Tina Aldatz, founder of those must-have Foot Petals, Devi Kroell, Libby Edelman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Singer, and Parsons The New School For Design.

The winners, all diverse in their aesthetic and story had us in awe, with even some, (myself included) rather coyly trying to finagle themselves a personal order. First, there was Rachel Esswood, whose oversized, avant-garde weekender bag landed her an apprenticeship with accessories maven Devi Kroell. Brazilian based designer Alice Tapajos of Zibba will have her zipper-laden divinely rich leather collection carried at Saks Fifth Avenue while Lorna Nixon, the 19 year-old winner of the best use of CRYSTALLIZED Swarovski Elements confirmed that you are never too young to dabble in a little bling.