Kenneth Cole to Receive Iconoclast Award at Awards Ceremony

NEW YORK, NY, May 17, 2012- Handbag Designer 101 announces the finalists for the Sixth Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards ™ to be held June 13th at the Time & Life Building in New York City. Thirty finalists were selected from over 1000 submissions received from 5 continents and 28 countries, including Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Haiti, Lebanon, Ireland, and Poland. Started by Emily Blumenthal, handbag designer turned founder of Handbag Designer 101, the “Handbag Awards” has created the opportunity for designers to become brands and have their wares featured in InStyle and also carried by Saks Fifth Avenue. On May 15th, handbag history will be made when the online voting opens on to select the Audience Favorite and see if it will garner more than the 353,000 votes received in 2011.

A list of finalists, their bags and personal videos can be seen at the Handbag Designer 101 site and are as follows:

Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design – These bags represent the best executed handbag in overall style and design.
Louise O’Leary: LouLouBelle Bags, Ireland
Bita & Rouzita Vahhabaghai: ita Collection, USA
Einat Skalski: Skalski, Israel
Jennifer Lang: J.Lang, Costa Rica
Dora Abodi: Dora Abodi, Hungary Best Student Made Handbag – These bags were designed by students who started their lines while still in school.
Mary Spenser Poletti: Poletti Designs, USA,Savannah College of Art and Design
Krystal Sokolis: Ophilya, USA, Savannah College of Art and Design
Nikki DeLuca: Nikki DeLuca, USA, Savannah College of Art and Design
Harith Hashim: HariTHanD, Iraq, ESMOD Fashion Designing University
Marianna Senderkis: SHIV, USA, Fashion Institute of Technology

The Singer Simplicity Best Handmade Handbag – These bags are made by hand, machine sewn, crocheted or knitted.
Dagmara Lauk: LAUK, Poland
Maureen Ladley: Maureen Ladley, USA
Kelly Horton: Madison Kelly NYC, USA
Stephanie Wacey: Stephanie Wacey, USA
Sheila Harper: HarperJairden, USA

Best Green Handbag – These bags aremade out of sustainable, recycled or organic materials.
Jessica Rizzuti: Jess Rizzuti New York, USA
Belinda Pasqua: The Sway, Australia
Kelly Horton: Madison Kelly NYC, USA
Joelle Andrew: Supplii LLC, USA
Fiona Kempton: Kempton & Co., UK

Most Socially Responsible Handbag –These bags meetcertain ethical and moral standards in regards to production, employment andphilanthropy while impacting the local culture.
Marisa Collado: Arbol de Viento, Mexico,
Iliana Lilly: Iliana Lilly Inc, Mexico, Made inMexico
Carolina Zambrano: UNIQUE, Colombia, Made inColombia
Nora David: Collections Xaragua, Haiti, Made inHaiti
Jennifer Lang: J.LANG, Costa Rica, Made in Costa Rica

Creating with Nylon by Kipling: Thesebags demonstrate the best innovative use of crinkle nylon, in a playful andimaginative way by embracing the personality of the brand.
Aimee Kestenberg: Aimee Kestenberg for Kipling, Australia
Dagmara Lauk: Neon Fold Over for Kipling, Poland
Joyce Romano: Joyce for Kipling, USA
Dorota Violetta Stumpf: Funky Monkey, UK
Fiona Kempton: Kempton & Co, UK

The final category to be honored is “Audience Fan Favorite” where fans can vote for their favorite design at, from May 16th to June 6th.

Kenneth Cole, will receive the 2012 IHDA ICONOCLAST Award.
A business that began over 25 years ago out of the back of a 40-foot trailer,Kenneth Cole Productions has risen to the top of American fashion at lightning speed and set the standards for others to meet. With nearly 90 Kenneth Cole domestic retail stores, 65 internationally, and Kenneth Cole has been able tounite his fashion instincts and business acumen with his philanthropic convictions. Although shoes were his background and his initial claim to fame,Kenneth Cole has changed the accessory landscape in creating handbags that are well-made and great looking at an accessible price-point. Before there was affordable luxury, there was Kenneth Cole which is why he is the 2012 IHDA ICONOCLAST Recipient.

The 2012 IHDA Sponsors include InStyle, Timberland, Amorim Cork Composites,Kipling, The Singer Sewing Company,, Simplicity Creative Group,The Patron Spirits Company, J.P. Selects, WWDMAGIC, S.H. Martin & Company, Inc., Pantone, The Fashion Center, Save The Garment Center, Made in NYC, Garment Industry Development Corporation, M & J Trimming, Leather, Suede, Skins Inc, Rosen & ChadickFabrics, Proexport Colombia, Glaceau Vitamin Water, Style Search & Consulting LLC, and Hyatt 48 Lex New York

ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT HANDBAG DESIGNER AWARDS: Founded in 2007, the Independent Handbag Designer Awards by Handbag Designer 101 was created to celebrate handbag design and creativity from the United States and around the world. Now in its sixth year, it is an industry staple and is the only international design competition to discover, recognize and create brand awareness for independent handbag designers.