2017 can't get here soon enough, and with it brings the hope and promise that any new year or new beginning. The past few years have seen some interesting changes for the accessories market, both aesthetically and structurally, and there's no reason to believe things will settle down at all in 2017. It's hard to say exactly what those upcoming changes will be, but in a perfect world, I have a little list of things that I hope to see evolve sooner rather than later. Let us know what you're hoping for, fashion-wise, in the comments.
1. Let's find a cure for color transfer.
There has to be a way to remove denim dye from light-colored leather bags, right? Like, that can't be beyond the scope of chemistry. It's almost The Year of Our Lord 2017. It's been nearly a half century since we put a literal man on the moon. Can the field of textile research not spare a mind or two for this?
2. Brands put some thought into their optional shoulder straps.
No matter what the structure of the bag I'm carrying, I end up using the optional long shoulder strap most designs now have almost exclusively. They're used frequently by most people, which is why it's more or less mandatory that bags now have them. These shoulder straps aren't all created equal, though. In some cases, the shape of the bag and the potential interference of its other design features were taken into account when deciding the length, thickness and attachment points for the long strap, but in many cases, all those concerns were clearly ignored and some scrap leather was thrown on there so awkwardly and non-functionally that it almost feels like an act of aggression. For example, in 2017, here's hoping Givenchy deigns to put a long enough shoulder strap on the Antigona that its top handles aren't constantly stabbing you in the armpit when you use it.
3. Brands make their after-purchase service policies better known to consumers.
Some brands and retailers are great about fixing or replacing bags that break within a year or two of purchase. Other brands--even those at similarly top-tier price points--have no real structure to help the purchasers of their absurdly expensive luxury goods when something goes wrong. Leather goods wear over time, of course, but brands and stores charging ultra-premium prices should be offering premium service--including when a bag breaks after only a season or two of normal use--and those policies should be clear to shoppers from the get-go.
4. The last holdout designers get over themselves and start selling their bags online.
If your brand's delicate perception of exclusivity can't weather common modes of modern consumerism, it's not the Internet's fault. Boutique experiences are great, but simplicity and accessibility are their own types of luxury, and plenty of potential consumers live in places that aren't accessible to in-person luxury shopping. There's something to be said for meeting shoppers halfway, especially when a brand is asking them to spend thousands of dollars on an unnecessary indulgence.
5. While we're at it: better stock images!
Lemme see the bag from several angles. Lemme see inside. Lemme see it on a person. Lemme zoom in real close. Don't overstuff it so it looks different than it will with normal stuff inside it. Make the photos beautiful and crisp. If it's a bag that many women will consider for the office, maybe show us if a small laptop fits! We're spending a lot of money--help us out.
6. Online retailers start calling bags by their proper names.
The vast powers of a proper Google search are useless if half of the websites that carry it are calling the Chloé Drew Bag the Chloé Mini Flap Chain Crossbody. I'm not sure where communication breaks down--are brands not effective at giving detailed information about new bags to retailers, or do retailers not make much of an effort to get that data accurately entered on new product pages? Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed so that it's easier for shoppers to find what they're looking for quickly and easily.
7. A handbag fairy drops a Gucci bag into my closet.
Not all these wishes are for the good of the group, okay?
8. Micro bags go peacefully into that good night.
They came, they were tiny and adorable, and now it's time for them to leave and for designers to focus their efforts on bags that actually serve some sort of functional purpose.
9. All new clutches are big enough to hold a large smartphone.
Smartphones aren't getting any smaller or less ubiquitous, and evening bag designers can't wish them away just because they want to make tiny jewel boxes instead of hand-held bags big enough to contain an iPhone 7 Plus. If they want to serve their clientele, that's just how it's gonna be from here on out.
10. One or two more impressive contemporary upstart brands emerge.
Mansur Gavriel proved there is a huge market for sophisticated, fashion-forward bags at moderate price points, and that opened up a lot of room for designers to experiment in that space. If I got my way, 2017 would see the rise of a couple more brands with interesting points of view and moderate prices.