Accessories Magazine: Voice of the Industry

Accessories Magazine

They’re In: 2012 Winners of Independent Handbag Designer Awards

New York—Handbag designs were the center of attention on Wednesday night among the Big Apple’s fashion elite. And deservedly so at the 6th annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA)  presented by Handbag Designer 101.

Held at the Time-Life Building’s auditorium, the awards ceremony drew some 400 attendees—including designers from dozens of countries—who anxiously awaited the results. Emily Blumenthal, the awards’ creator and founder of Handbag Designer 101, said this year’s contest resulted in a record 1,000 handbag entrees which judges had to be pare down to the final 30 in seven categories.

That was no easy feat either, Blumenthal noted, as did representatives from sponsoring companies such as Timberland, Kipling,, Singer Sewing and JP Selects. Blumenthal paid tribute to the designers who came from as far away as Australia, Poland, Hungary, Costa Rica and Lebanon (well, almost, Harith Hashim of HariTHanD got held up by customs at the last minute).

But up and comers in the handbag business weren’t the only ones recognized. Kenneth Cole received the Iconoclast Award for his 30 years in the business, a success story “combining unique New York style, business acumen, philanthropic convictions and provocative social voice.”

Recounting his rise, Cole offered his some advice to budding designers, some of which came directly from his iconic, ironic advertisements: “If you can’t change the world alone you can always be an accessory.”

IHDA Best Overall: Mint Green Clutch by Bita and Rouzita Vahhabaghai, ita Collection

To see all of this year’s winners: Accessories Magazine Feature