Surely we weren’t the only ones with an eye on the new Telfar wallets—that ranged in 17 colors—since the New York brand began building anticipation for its release in early January. But to our dismay, we watched as the highly sought vegan leather logo-embossed wallet sold out in just five minutes on the day of its launch. We seen this with the handbags, and know Telfar ain’t never been a tough sell. Though, it is a tough buy.
But don’t worry—there are other options.
The number of black-owned handbag designers has multiplied and continues to grow. We gathered up a list of black-owned brands that are paving their own way in contemporary handbag design.
KUA, an acronym for keeping us authentic, was founded by Ghanaian designer Ruby Buah. KUA handbags have become staple items for actresses Nicole Ari Parker and AJ Johnson, and worn by Cardi B and Yandy Harris. These handbags are beautifully crafted and adorned with African patterns and prints. KUA Anowa Amobi clutch bags are CLUTCH, and sell out quickly. The array of handbags are affordably priced, from $50 to $200.
Pictured: Hema Kosi Medium Clutch Bag, $95
Anima Iris is giving that “It” bag energy for those of us seeking a bold statement piece to pop out with year round. Just ask Beyonce, who sported the brand’s Raspberry Zaza bag (sold out) around her waist and set the internet aflame. Founder and designer Wilglory Tanjong draws inspiration from the textures and colors of her Cameroonian heritage as well as her travels through the African continent. After earning her degree in African Development from Princeton University, Wilglory was able to soak in the multitude of cultures she encountered traveling to Marrakesh, Accra, Yaoundé, Nairobi and Dakar. Anima Iris bags are crafted by artisans in Dakar, Senegal using a zero-waste model.
Pictured: Orange Crust Zaza Bag $705
Vavvoune is a sustainable leather bag and accessories brand based in Brooklyn, New York. Founded by designer Valérie Blaise, Vavvoune partners with artisans in Manhattan’s historic Garment District to handcraft leather goods using recycled Italian leathers from ultra-luxury brands. Their spacious Efa bag is available in seven colors and features a zipper closure, rolled top handle, interior pocket and cotton twill lining.
Pictured: Efa Bag (7 colors) $298
Zashadu creates sustainably-sourced leather handbags with a modern twist. This British-Nigerian luxury brand harnesses the beauty of lush embossed leathers, jewel tones and elegant silhouettes. Designed by actor turned student of architecture and London College of Fashion alum, Zainab Ashadu, Zashadu’s bags are made in Lagos, Nigeria utilizing traditional craftsmanship and techniques. The Bossy Classic patent leather bag in metallic forest green features a twisted top handle, inner slip pocket, back zipper and a magnetic snap fastener.
Silver & Riley
It’s difficult to resist a good belt bag. It’s the perfect accessory for day or night. The clean lines and design of Silver & Riley‘s full grain calfskin leather belt bag is a favorite among happy customers, who say this bag is not only compact and beautiful, but there is enough room to store your phone, keys and wallet while you’re on the go. You can expect mathematical attention to detail from this brand. Despite its commitment to working with luxe-quality materials and fair practices, Silver & Riley strives to set attainable prices for its Italian-made goods. Specifications for this bag include a detachable, adjustable belt strap; small interior pocket, gold-toned hardware and a folded top with clasp closure.
Pictured: Going Places Leather Belt Bag in Maroon (5 colors) $395
Ashya was conceived in 2017 out of a desire to merge utility and design. This unique label is a collaboration between founders Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece, who both take part in creative direction and design. The leather used in producing their line of Slingback mini bags are vegetable tanned, a technique that has been around for millennia that uses only natural dyes. Made in Los Angeles, the Slingback mini features 14k gold plated hardware and is lined with organic cotton canvas. The interior includes a leather card sleeve, key ring and interior slip pocket. Wear it as a crossbody or remove the adjustable belt to carry as a top handle bag.
Pictured: Slingback Mini Bag $1,050.00
If playful is your style, we recommend checking out Jumz‘s colorful line of bead bags. Their MAYA Bead Bag is a play on a classic evening bag silhouette, but is constructed entirely out of glass beads. Founded in 2018, Jumz partners with local artisans in Lagos, Nigeria to craft each bag by hand. The brand has also given a portion of sales to various causes, including providing menstrual hygiene products for young girls and women in need, building a clean water source for the community of Badagry in Lagos State, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Pictured: MAYA Bead Bag (in white) $160
*All products have been independently selected by our editors. Please note: we may receive an affiliate commission for products and services purchased through our website.