The Second Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards

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Handbag Designer 101 and LauchBags, LLC. honors excellence.

As a full scale handbag company 'from concept to sale, we believe the independent handbag designer brings unique and creative ideas to the marketplace that drive consumers to seek their one-of-a-kind style. The IHDA event is a perfect venue for elevating the independent handbag designer and we couldn't be more thrilled to contribute.

The Second Annual Independent Handbag Awards is now accepting designer submissions. The "Handbag Awards" provides an opportunity for emerging and established independent designers to be recognized and stand out into the highly-saturated accessory market. This unique event is the only one of its kind internationally where only handbags are the star and the designer's compete for the once-in-a-career time opportunity to expose their work to the entire fashion industry in New York City, the fashion capital of the world.

This year, designers of the most innovative handbag designers will be squaring off against one another with 6 awards to be given for Handbag Design Excellence, on June 18th at the landmark New York Historical Society. Over 500 members of the fashion industry, including press and retailers, are expected to attend the Independent Handbag Designer Awards event.

To register in the preliminary selection round, a single digital image upload is required. Applications will be accepted through and clicking on the "Handbag Awards" icon, until April 18, 2008.

The Categories include:

  • Best Student-Made Handbag         
  • Best Handmade Handbag
  • Most Socially Responsible Handbag    
  • Best Green Handbag
  • Audience-Selected Handbag        
  • Best Handbag in Overall Style & Design

The staff of Handbag Designer 101 will review all entries and choose finalists in each category based on the merits of their submitted designs. A Fashion Panel consisting of Ann Watson (Fashion Director for Henri Bendel), Lisa Smilor (Associate Director for the Council of Fashion Designers of America), Dana Palzkill (Senior Vice President of Product Management for Bag, Borrow or Steal), Rebecca Weinberg (Emmy Award Winning Costume Designer and Stylist), David Zyla (Daytime Emmy Nominated Costume Designer for ABC Inc./All My Children) and Julia Poteat (Assistant Professor of Fashion Methods for Parsons The New School for Design) will decide who has created the "Top Handbag Design" and select a winner from each respective category.

These finalists will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their bags featured in a window display at Henri Bendel, and to participate in a trunk show to promote and sell their lines at the store. In addition, the winner of the Best Student-Made Handbag will receive an apprenticeship with the Henri Bendel accessory design team.

Finalists will also be able to offer their bags through Bag, Borrow or Steal, the leading online retailer that allows women to borrow designer handbags and jewelry. Bag, Borrow or Steal will give more women the opportunity to experience these wonderful bags and learn about the talented designers who created them.

The Winner of the Best Overall Handbag in Style and Design will have the chance to showcase their award-winning handbag collection with a free 10x10 booth (a $6,000 value) to over 120,000 fashion industry influentials at the WWDMAGIC Accessories Show in Las Vegas, August 25-27, 2008.

Legendary handbag brand LEIBER will receive the IHDA ICONOCLAST Award. For 45 years, LEIBER has been a leader in luxury accessory design. For the last four years, the brand has been under the creative direction of Frank Zambrelli, and has broadened its customer base by evolving the product to meet the needs of a younger customer while remaining true to its heritage. LEIBER has stood the test of time and continues to earn international acclaim with their innovative handbags and accessories, and most recently selected as "Most Prestigious Handbag" by the Luxury Institute's Luxury Brand Status Index.

LaunchBags, LLC. is proud to announce its support as underwriting sponsor of Handbag Designer 101's Second Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards. LaunchBags is the one-stop shop for all things handbag. From inception to sale, their services support, emerging and established talent in the accessories industry - making this event an organic fit.

"Myself and our entire team are extremely excited about sponsoring this incredible event because it is at the heart and soul of who we are and the designers that we serve," says Jana Hanci CEO of LaunchBags, LLC. "As a full scale handbag company 'from concept to sale, we believe the independent handbag designer brings unique and creative ideas to the marketplace that drive consumers to seek their one-of-a-kind style. The IHDA event is a perfect venue for elevating the independent handbag designer and we couldn't be more thrilled to contribute."

Handbag Designer 101 - the handbag designer resource (, where handbag designers, aficionados and experts unite to find undiscovered handbags by independent designers; learn about the latest handbag trends; see the handbags that celebrities are wearing today; find out about the latest handbag shopping events and even learn about accessory jobs and services. Boasting over 10,000 unique visitors daily, Handbag Designer 101 has struck a chord within the handbag community which is reflected in the excitement for this year's Second Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards.

"Based on the overwhelming response and enormous success of last year's IHDA event, it is clear that this awards program fills a gap in the ever-growing population of undiscovered and talented handbag designers," said Emily Blumenthal, creator of the Yasmena and Yazzy Bag and founder of Handbag Designer 101. "The Handbag Awards gives these designers a unique platform to receive recognition and accolades and give them an opportunity to stand out and become the latest 'it' bag." Blumenthal added, "Judging by the industry support we have received here in New York and around the world, this event is here to stay."

Additional sponsors include: The Fashion Business Improvement District: The Fashion Center, Commerce Bank, Rosenthal & Rosenthal Inc., The Garment Industry Development Corporation, Parsons The New School of Design, Wathne Limited, M&J Trimming, TUKATECH, Leather Suede Skins, Rosen & Chadick Fabrics, RIRI Zippers/Pacific Trimmings, Verve NYC, Digital Plus, Clothing Labels, 360 Vodka, Glaceau, POM Wonderful and the Bottomless Closet.

For complete information check out or

Handbag Designer 101, the handbag designer resource, was inspired by the need for the handbag designer, aficionado and fan in all of us as one knows we can never have too many bags. Handbag Designer 101 and Independent Handbag Designer Awards trademarks are owned by, a privately held company based in New York City.

Today's HBD101:
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Celebrity Bag Watch:
Handbag Events:
Handbag Jobs & Services:
Contact: 866-206-9067 x2342


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