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. And with 2022 on the horizon, it’s time to commit to making intentional fashion choices. Black people matter and so do the businesses they own. We rounded up 41 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.
Founder Denishio Murray established Murway in 2020 with artistry at its core. Partnering with traditional Italian workshops, Murray marries together “the essence of black style and culture” with European leather craftsmanship.
As suggested by the brand’s name, Max+min is founder and designer Tiarra Smallwood’s expression of minimalistic silhouettes with maximalist touches. Based in New York, her aim is to upend the disillusionment that “Black-owned brands are not or can not be luxury.
After falling in love with her mother’s purse at the age of 8, Zainab Ashadu began a career that spanned from art to acting to architecture to now, creative director of Zashadu. The Lagos-based accessories brand is made using traditional techniques in community-driven workshops of local artisans. The result? Beautifully made bags that highlight its sustainable leathers and farmed exotics, exuding a quiet glamour.
Everything Antoine Manning creates for Homage is done with purpose. The Jamaican American accessories designer wants to use his brand as something “charged with sociopolitical intention. His core style, the Ova, represents just that. Each bag has its own poem written by Manning himself, titled with names like “Passion,” for this pink hue, “Tranquility” in green, and “Solidarity” in brown.
Sarep + Rose
Sarep + Rose wants to make “Made in Africa” mainstream. The sustainable lifestyle brand creates job opportunities across Africa, hiring employees from artisanal collectives and fair trade factories to create handbags and home goods made from “leathers rescued from waste, natural grasses, and handwoven culturally significant textiles.”
Want Les Essentials
For all of your practical, minimalist needs, look no further than Want Les Essentials. Since 2007, the Montreal-based brand has been committed to creating timeless (and genderless) backpacks, travel bags, wallets, and everything in between.
The seductive bags by Peryton are, to put it succinctly, very sexy. With a contrast of hard lines and soft materials, the undulating silhouettes of these handmade bags make them works of art. Invest in one and be prepared to not only own it for life but also to be reeling in a lifetime of compliments.
Supporting his community is one of the top priorities for Van Putten, who originally founded CISE as a branding agency. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the nationwide uprisings that followed, Putten designed “Protect Black People” merchandise to raise money for anti-racism funds. Today, the brand continues to do the work while designing cult-favorite accessories and clothes in the process.
Luxury handbags don’t get much better than Ree Projects. Handcrafted in Italy and founded in Amsterdam by Desiree Kleinen, Ree Projects’ sculptural bags are the type you Instagram on equally chic furniture.
To help combat the overproduction problem in the fashion industry, Bruce Glen partners with Resonance Brands. With everything made to order, the sustainable manufacturing system seeks to not only minimize waste with digital printing but to make items with biodegradable materials in factories that pay a living wage.
Silver & Riley
As a DTC brand, Silver & Riley strives to make quality, luxury bags akin to its high-end counterparts—but without the bloated price tags. Founder Lola Banjo created styles that match her lifestyle, so her luxe travel and fashion bags are intended to be worn daily and last a lifetime.
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.
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.