The handbag market is dominated by huge designer brands, and many fall under the same luxury conglomerate, but in the past few years, a slew of smaller designers have made waves in the market. It's arguable that this trend started back in 2012, with the introduction of New York based brand Mansur Gavriel. The original indie brand, Mansur Gavriel's bucket bag burst onto the scene and became an instant hit among fashion's most elite insiders. Editors, celebrities and savvy consumers alike lusted after the brand's coveted, and scare, bag. Mansur Gavriel's seemingly overnight success paved the way for all of the indie brands that came after, in part because they convinced both retailers and shoppers to be more open to shopping brands other than premium designer. Making a name for oneself in the market these days is no easy feat. Handbag lovers are typically more comfortable placing their dollars in the hands of a brand they recognize—one that has a storied history behind it and years of a good reputation to back it up. This makes it incredibly difficult for emerging brands to see success, which is why Mansur Gavriel's story is all the more inspiring.
In the last 3 years or so new bag brands have popped up in droves, many falling under the same contemporary price point. While new brands are fresh and exciting, which entices consumers who are sick of seeing the same 4-5 designers over and over again, that hype can also fade off fast. Contemporary bags, which cost a fraction of what a premium designer would charge for the same size and shape, are much more disposable. It's arguable that contemporary bags act more like a 'fast fashion' item–think Zara or Forever 21—they're good for a few seasons and then they lose their luster. However if a brand can strike the proper balance of trendy and classic, with quality materials it is possible for them to stick around for a few years, and Mansur Gavriel is the perfect example. But what about, 30, 40 or even 50 years down the line? Are these indie designers the future of fashion?
We've discussed in depth how new handbag brands are popping up left and right, and despite the frequency with which new bag brands appear it seems that many of them aren't going anywhere anytime soon. STAUD, Little Liffner, and Danse Lente are current hot indie picks. The question however remains, when the hype dies down can any of these brands sustain themselves well into the future? Mansur Gavriel was able to ride the hype and turn its teeny upstart into a full-fledged brand name, but they were the first. Can any of these new brands do the same or will they disappear as fast as they came?