Finalists Selected for Independent Handbag Designer Awards


(information from press release)

Handbag Designer 101, the handbag designer resource, recently announced the finalists for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards TM Now with Shoes. The Independent Handbag Designer Awards is the only design competition of its kind in the world for handbag designers to receive credibility and recognition to stand out in today’s competitive accessory market. The winners will be announced on June 17th at the IHDA event at the New York Historical Society.

“These 35 designers whether they are established or emerging, share a common passion, commitment and creativity to make a unique handbag while being role-models for entrepreneurship and small business,” says Emily Blumenthal, founder of Handbag Designer 101 and the Independent Handbag Designer Awards. “Each designer is well deserved in their recognition for in each category of Best Student-Made Handbag, Best Handmade Handbag, Most-Socially Responsible Handbag, Best Green Handbag, Best Use of Swarovski Crystallized (TM) Elements, Best Show in Overall Style and Design and Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design.”

These finalists, whose bags and shoes all must be made under their own label, representing a wide range of styles and designs, in each category are:

Best Student Made Handbag – These finalists’ bags are students who have successfully started their lines while still in school. This award will be presented by Devi Kroell, CEO & CCO for Devi Kroell.
– Bridget Duffy: Bridget Duffy Originals, Philadelphia Univeristy
– Carmen Talavera: Carmen Talavera, Mercy Jackes College
– Rachel Esswood: Rachel Esswood, Cordwainers at London College of Fashion
– Daisy Ho: Hodaze, London College of Fashion
– Susan Jina Lee: Movement, Parsons The New School for Design

Best Handmade Handbag – These finalists’ must be sewn, crocheted, knitted where the design themselves is making their bag by hand or machine. This award will be presented by Katie Boertman, Trade Marketing Manager for the Singer Sewing Company.
– Alexis Campagna: Antibellum
– Brenda Zheng: Brenda Zheng
– Nanang Agung Rahmanto: Muttox 9
– Lauren Finelli: LaurNelli
– Darren Wallace, Darren Wallace

Best Green Handbag – These finalists’ that are made out of sustainable, recycled or organic materials. This award will be presented by Christina Polychroni, Director of Marketing for Korres Natural Products.
– Allison McGowan: TEICH
– Linda Wong: Canopy Verde
– Karin Maislinger: kontiki
– Andres Stickney: DRES
– Nazly Villamizar, Ecoist

Most Socially Responsible Handbag – These finalists’ meet certain ethical and moral standards in regards to production, employment and philanthropy while impacting the local culture. This award will be presented by Kendall Farell, Executive Director of Bottomless Closet.
– Pauline Lewis & Le Thi Hong Tu: oovoo design, Made in Vietnam
– Cherry Kwunyeun: Blumpari, Made in Thailand
– Katie Smith: Angel Jackson, Made in Bali
– Clare Elsmore-Dodsworth: Gifted Label, Made in Mongolia
– Maria Estrada: IGNES Handbags, Made in Uruguay

Best Use of Swarovski Crystallized(TM) Elements – This category represents the best executed handbag in overall style and design and will be Stephan Toljan, CCB Vice President Market Management of Swarovski.
– Heather Choi: Farfaraway
– Michele Gresh: Modern Unity
– Ana Niculae: Imperfect Indulgence
– Lorna Nixon: Lorna Nixon
– Erin Vorhees: Kempt

Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design – This category represents the best executed handbag in overall style and design and will be presented by Lincoln Moore, DMM, Handbags, Saks Fifth Avenue.
– Minna Parikka: Minna Parikka
– Joanna Baccardo: Beautiful People Design
– Emily Cheetham: Cheet London
– Alice Tapajos: Zibba
– Adriana Castro: Adriana Castro

These finalists were chosen by a preliminary judging panel of Handbag Designer 101. The final category to be celebrated is “Audience-Selected Handbag” where fans can vote for their favorite independent handbag designer based on the 35 finalists on Handbag Designer 101. This award will be presented by Founder and Creator of Handbag Designer 101 and the Independent Handbag Designer Awards, Emily Blumenthal. This designer that received the most votes will be announced the night of June 17th at the IDHA event with the other category winners. The finalists’ work can be seen at

For complete information or to purchase tickets for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards, check out or

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