Ethical questions aside, “ethnic” prints are still a hot commodity in the fashion industry. Whether they’re from African, Indian, South American or Native American extraction, it seems as though designers are having an absolutely gleeful time splashing the fun, often colorful patterns across everything from ponchos to evening bags such as the Cleobella Nikko Envelope Bag.
I said a lot of not-so-nice things about Cleobella when I first started reviewing the brand’s bags last year (and believe me, the things I thought and then decided to keep to myself were even less nice), but somewhere along the way, the brand managed to makes little tweaks here and there to its boho aesthetic and turn itself into a brand that I almost always like.
In a glutted contemporary bag market, a black leather hobo with a circa-$500 price tag can be a tough sell if it comes from anyone but your absolute favorite brand. Most women likely have a bag with a similar description in their closets already, and those who don’t probably have a favorite brand from whom they’re predisposed to buy.
Cleobella is the answer for boho recessionistas looking for a trendy-but-broken-in bag, one that’s of a certain quality. Their prices are generally low, as far as designer bags are concerned, and the leather is always what I like to call “Williamsburg-worn.” That is, the leather has that worn look favored by alternative hipsters one often runs into in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
I’m generally not much of a fan of Cleobella’s bags – they’re very haute-boho with sometimes not enough emphasis on the ‘haute,’ and that’s not my style. In the face of the fannypack abomination that we recently witnessed, however, I’ve come up with something of a fresh perspective on the brand and on the Cleobella Cantina Minibag in particular.
When Cleobella handbags come up, I brace myself for something very hippie-esque. So, today, I was a bit surprised when I came across a recent Cleobella design.
To be honest, at first glance, I thought this bag had some kind of metallic element going on.
The thing that irritates me the most is when a bag manages to do one thing wrong that ruins the whole design for me. As they say in sports, sometimes a bag manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
At first, I didn’t even want to write about the Cleobelle Nevaeh Drawstring Bag. I saw it and immediately dismissed it – after a certain point, writing yet another post about how much I hate neo-hippie crap isn’t even fun anymore, which is sad, because writing about stuff you hate is a lot easier than writing about stuff you like, trust me.