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Issue 17 Out Now

These High-End Black Designers are Creating a Legacy in the World of Handbags and Luxury.

Image from The EveryGirl.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of 2020, it seems to have lit a fire under black designers in the world of handbags. It is no surprise that black people have been a fashion blueprint for years, but at the peak of the pandemic, there was a spark of creativity that started a domino effect. Young Black creatives have been overtaking the handbag scene for the past year and have no plans to let up anytime soon.

The recent rise of Black luxury handbag designers arrived after a wave of various businesses struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Many designers used this time as a creative outlet to express their inner designer and create new streams of income due to the millions of Americans who were laid off because of covid.

Platforms such as Instagram and Clubhouse serve as great platforms for designers to promote their product and a place to gain not only followers but lifelong customers. A few brands that have taken over social media are, Brandon Blackwood, CISE Store, Glamaholic Lifestyle, Haus of Sy, Sonique Saturday, and TLK Lifestyle.

For business owner Angel Reeves, creating her brand Haus of Sy was a last-minute effort to create an additional form of income. In an interview with Freep conducted by Reeves, they explained how she produced the idea, “It was a struggle at first to figure out a way to generate income while not being able to work outside her Westland home. Nursing was all she knew to pay the bills, and that was something she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to go back to. So she had to come up with a plan, something she could rely on to provide for her family in the event nursing was no longer an option.

That is when Haus of Sy was born. And business has been good.”

Angel Reeves is just one of the many designers who decided to take a leap of faith and launch a business not knowing where it would take her. Blake Van Putten, the founder, and designer of CISE, designed a handbag that spoke for itself.

Van Putten created a t-shirt with the words, “Protect Black People” that has now turned into a global movement. Van Putten said in an interview with TIME, “I truly believe that we are currently living in this new Renaissance,” Van Putten said. “There’s such a disenfranchisement where people, especially creators, and the Black community we’ve been limited, and we’ve been taken away from these positions where there’s no reason why we can’t sit at the table.”

Ashantae Kelley, a Detroit native, explained why she chooses to support black owned businesses, “I feel like it’s our duty as Black people to support one another,” Kelley said. “I have seen some really cute luxury handbags that have released lately, finding out they are black owned is even better,” Kelley added. “There are so many major designer brands that could care less if we support them by buying a bag.”

Kelley already owns a bag from the popular luxury Black owned brand, Telfar, and plans to catch a Brandon Blackwood bag on the next drop.

With that attitude, there is no telling what the fashion industry will look like a year from now. In 2022 with Black designers proving that they deserve a seat at the table.

The hashtags, #SupportBlackBusiness and #BlackOwned became trending on Twitter and Instagram to help Black owned business get more website traffic and increase page views. The outpour of support also came after the horrific attacks on black people leading to massive demonstrations around the world surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Doja Cat, and Winnie Harlow took to Instagram supporting the movement that highlights Black designers who should be celebrated in the fashion industry.

Zacharina Dainkeh, a fashion blogger said in a statement to Insider, “I always support businesses that are important to me,” she said, adding that Black designers are undervalued. “We are not trends — we are everlasting and here to stay.”

After an outpouring of love on social media that calls out for more support of Black owned businesses, the 15% Pledge was created. The 15% pledge is a non-profit organization that calls for multi-brand retailers to dedicate 15% of their purchasing power to supporting Black-owned businesses. Major retailers such as Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm, and Med Men have joined the pledge.

The arduous work does not stop here, Black creatives now more than ever need the support of all communities to pave the way for future generations, and to change the look of the fashion industry.

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