2016 IHDAs — VOTE Now!!

What handbag is the next “It” back for 2016. We will soon find out as the 2016 Independent Handbag Designer Awards are right around the corner — next week in fact! On June 15th, at the School of the Visual Arts Theater, the 10th annual IHDA ceremony will take place. With over 2000 applicants worldwide, here are the finalists for this year’s awards!

c8996488-ced3-405a-903a-aa41818d1f36InStyle is a huge sponsor and supporter of the IHDAs. The fashion publication is asking you to VOTE now for your fave handbag!! Your pick could appear in the September 2016 issue of InStyle.


This year, designers submitted their finest creations in 9 categories. Here are the categories and the finalist handbags! (Images are in order of each list above)

THE EVINE LIVE BEST HANDBAG IN OVERALL STYLE & DESIGN — Winner will have the coveted opportunity to sell their bags on the exclusive shopping channel EVINE Live. Winner will also receive a booth at ENK’s Accessorie Circuit, a mentorship with Hilldun, a brand consultancy with the Accessory Think Tank, and a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council.

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THE BERNINA BEST HANDMADE HANDBAG — where designer uses any material, as long as the handbag is made by sewing machine or hand. Winner will receive the BERNINA 560 sewing machine. In addition, winners will have the prestigious opportunity to be an Ambassador for BERNINA in creating blogs and projects for BERNINA social media and We All Sew Blog. Winner will also receive a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council.

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THE TRINA TURK BEST RESORT STYLE BAG — Where the bag matches the aesthetic and lifestyle of the Trina Turk Brand. Winner will garner the possibility to collaborate with the Trina Turk Handbag Design Team using the winning bag as inspiration, and receive a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council.

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THE LUG LIFE BEST STUDENT MADE HANDBAG — for designers who’ve started their handbag lines, while still in school. Winner will receive the opportunity to design and sample a limited edition collection for Lug as well as the chance to go behind the scenes at QVC to assist Lug during an airing. Winner will also receive a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council.

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THE MOST SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE HANDBAG — Bags that are made in a country where the proceeds are given back to the country of manufacturing or people that are employed to manufacture handbags to better lives and/or conditions. Winner will receive a feature and mentorship from Fashion 4 Development. Winner will receive a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council.

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THE BASIC ADHESIVES BEST GREEN HANDBAG — Where the handbag is made out of sustainable, recycled, or organic materials. Winner will have the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for the eco-industry top brand, Basic Adhesives, enough Basic Adhesives glue and edge paint for 1000 bags, and a year-long membership to the Accessories Council.


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THE MARY KAY WEAR WITH CONFIDENCE BAG — The handbag that is the most versatile and stylish, leaving every woman feeling her best and ready for anything. Winner will receive Mary Kay product and the amazing opportunity to collaborate with the brand, and a yearlong membership with the Accessories Council.

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THE ALL ABOUT THE LOGO BY GUESS HANDBAGS — Capturing the personality of the Guess Brand and logo. Winner will garner the opportunity to potentially collaborate with the Guess Handbag Design Team using the winning bag as inspiration, receive a yearlong membership to the Accessories Council and a feature in the September issue of InStyle.

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THE INSTYLE.COM AUDIENCE FAN FAVORITE — Remember to VOTE NOW as the winner will land a place on the InStyle pages!!

The IHDA is presented by Handbag Designer 101. Handbag Designer 101 founder is Emily Blumenthal. The organization celebrates the work of aspiring accessories designers from around the world.

If you would like to attend the ceremony, you can do so by purchasing tickets here. And amazingly enough, you can already purchase these fantastic handbags by clicking here.


An annual highlight of the awards ceremony is the recipient of the Carlos Falchi Iconoclast Award. This year’s recipient is MZ Wallace and is being presented by the Accessorie Circuit.

Final Recap from NYFW:Men




Suit Supply was one of my most fave presentations for NYFW:Men. It was a great showcase of the F/W 2016 collection, lots of great suit options for the modern man. It would take him from straight off the rack to a well-dressed, modernly fashionable man.



CONCEPT KOREA — DBYD (by Dong-jun Kang)

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Concept Korea is a global project that publicizes Korea’s fashion culture throughout the world and supports domestic designer brands make in-roads into overseas markets. This year’s 2 showcases were presented by Korea Creative Content Agency & the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, & Tourism.

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This F/W16 collection — I’m Yours and I’m not yours. The concept behind the collection was from the film “Her” by Spike Jonze. Whenever the main actor’s emotion changed, the color of the cinematography would change as well, depending on the mood. The two key words of this film contrast with the colors are “owning” and “being”. It makes one think psychologically, owning the assurance of being, or being as its complete measure of his existence.

The color palette is sand beige, melange gray, cool gray, burgundy, red, black, and white.

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Entitled “Hotel People”, there are always rest points/commas in musics and writings, and with this brand, they also believe that we need rest points in our lives to make it more valuable and bounce back to reality, which one usually calls it a holiday. In the background of a perfect holiday, one spots that there are people who are off for a holiday and people who chase for a holiday.

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Ordinary People brings the story of a hotel where people stay for holiday. With the theme of Ordinary People’s hotel, we not only go thru the bright sides, the shoppers, and the limousines, but also every little element that makes people’s holiday perfect. With this collection, Ordinary People are proud to show every moment happening in the hotel with their own Ordinary style.

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Sponsors of the overall Concept Korea show are Soko Glam! and AVEDA.



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Designer Bumsuk Choi presented a lineup that managed to remain playful while still maintaining the minimal tone that is a hallmark of the brand. The collection included modern elements such as oversize coats with exaggerated patch pockets in monochromatic tones, color-blocking on outerwear in bomber and leather moto jacket styles and various zipper treatments on sleeves.

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The outerwear pieces here were truly phenomenal, so mind-blowing!

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PR — The Smurfs v Barney

Project Runway threw in another group challenge this week. And for this episode, it was a battle of the teams, 2 teams that is. Heidi & Tim delivered the challenge details in paintball-esque style.


Blake, as the winning designer from last week, got the ball rolling on the team building. He would select a designer and then whomever was next selected would pick the following designer until no designers were left. So for the blue team, Blake picked Swapnil, who picked, Joseph, who picked Jake, who picked Edmond, and who then lastly picked Merline.


The button bag selected who got the ball rolling for the other team, the red team. The blue team was comprised mainly of guys, which meant the red team was all ladies — Candice, Amanda, Kelly, Lindsey, Laurie, and lastly Ashley.


With the teams completed, it was then time to play some fierce paintball! Each team would defend a barrel of fabric with 2 paintball guns and paintball grenades. Ashley showed she knew how to handle the gun, while Blake decided to kind of sit this one out and hide.


The fabric captured would be the supplemental material for the challenge. Tim later revealed the actual material for the challenge would be what the designers were wearing, their paintball jumpsuits which had just been splattered with paint. Each team was to create a 6 look mini-collection. Yes, that meant cohesion must be in play! The designers then headed back to the workroom to start on this 2-day challenge.


The blue team made great decisions right from the get go. They formed a clear concept, assigned tasks, and really worked great together. Their inspiration was the 50s, to have a Jackson Pollock vibe. They also decided to use a unified textile, which Jake created.


As the designers arrived back to the workroom, Tim told the designers they could make use of extra white canvas and paint that had been provided. Blake too added to the creativity of the textiles by creating a hand-painted floral print for the fabric.


The red team pretty much went the exact opposite route. They did not work as a team at all. Everyone was kind of doing their own thing, just creating their own look. They did not ever form a clear concept, even though several attempts were made. Ashley made it clear since she was the last picked that she felt the least welcome. The ladies in making their textiles were hoping to gain inspiration for a concept, but instead ended up with a complete “easter egg festival”, as Tim latter dubbed it.


All of the white canvas fabric was gone and the ladies were worried as to how their collection could be saved from this color explosion gone bad. Candice attempted to take some form of leadership over the group, but the other ladies were not feeling it. The other designers might not have wanted a leader, but if the women were not going to work as a team, I actually feel as if some leadership was needed here. But the reigns should have been taken to direct the ladies toward cohesion, not just crossing fingers that a concept would arise naturally.


Tim-time made it clear that he saw what we all were seeing at home. He was quite pleased with the blue team, very excited to see cohesion and that they were all working so well together. Tim was rightfully concerned with the red team, telling them they should feel a little scared. The ladies finally decided on a purple supplemental fabric to be their cohesive thread, in hopes it would also save their looks from being amateur hour to chic fashion.


Tim later brought in Sally Beauty consultant Liddy Bisanz. Sally Beauty had their mobile nail studio right outside, with over 750 nail colors, for the designers to have at their disposal. They would each visit with a consultant to create a nail design to give each of their looks additional dimension. As the end of the 2nd day was winding down, the blue team was still going strong, while the red team was still all over the place. Laurie and Amanda even had some drama in the sewing room as tensions were all over the place. The ladies hoped to leave the negative energy behind for the morning of the runway, but that was not the case. Laurie told Ashley the other team members were planning to throw her under the bus, and both were over their group dynamics. But at this point nothing more could be done and the runway show was about to begin.


This week’s guest judges were designer Lisa Perry and Kelly Osbourne.

It was clear from the episode which team was going to be on top and who was not. The blue team made wearable art, whereas the red team created arts and crafts projects. There were a lot of great looks that the blue team put out. Blake and Jake offered a lot to their team with textile creation, but the judges rightfully awarded the win and immunity to the best design. And their pick was Edmond. I agreed, but had they picked Swapnil, I would have been fine with that decision as well. It was a close race for the top.


Edmond’s gown was effortlessly and breathtakingly stunning. It was a win from all angles, including a gorgeous back.

Sally Beauty shout-out for hair, such a beautiful bun updo, also for Mary Kay, great choice of a bold red lip


Swapnil was a close 2nd here and this dress looked very fun and fashionable. He used a lot of creativity here, even making use of the shoes the designers wore in creating the back of this dress. It was clear he paid great attention to detail, including putting in pockets!


Sally Beauty shout-out — lovely flowing waves

Blake would have rounded out my top 3, creating a very clean-cut, minimalist dress. The open back was divine. Blake proved he doesn’t always need bells & whistles to shine. The splashed Pollock paint vibe was great, but I thought the floral hand-painted escalated the prints. I am proud of Blake for doing a great job with that work.


The judges chose Jake as part of their top 3, but I don’t get it. It was great what he did in creating a fabric, but fabric design doesn’t really show me what a great designer he is. Jake has yet to stand out for me and in my opinion could have gone home on earlier challenges. This look was some of his best work, but that is not saying much. And I can’t help but think back to his previous group challenge and how he didn’t work well with Lindsey. Yet all of a sudden he worked just fine here. Does he have a problem working with women?

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Sally Beauty hair shout-out also for Joseph, more gorgeous waves

It was great to see continued signs of improvement from both Joseph & Merline though. I thought this look was quite different for Joseph, still very ladylike and regal, but not so matronly. Merline too also created a beautiful piece, filled with structure and flare.

As mentioned many times above, the red team was clearly on the bottom and the critiques brought out even more drama. The fabric here was not a plus, but even stronger designers such as Candice and Ashley, had looks that were just not great. Bad fabric should not lead to bad design, which is what happened here. All of the looks just kind of fell flat. There was really nothing special. And even though there was drama and fabric issues, the ladies had always planned on doing their own thing. With that I would maybe have expected 1 or 2 decent looks, but overall, it was very eh. And really with the additional drama on the runway, I was over it at this point. I actually blame all of them and do not feel overly bad for Ashley. Added note though, I do like Ashley, did not think she should go home and knew it was not going to happen. But any of these ladies could have helped in making a change to better the group dynamic here and none chose to take that route. No true leadership was seen and the little bit that was attempted was chastised. It was great Laurie stuck up for Ashley at the end, but she didn’t show any support when Ashley was trying to have her voice heard earlier on in the episode. Being picked last sucks. But Ashley has won 2 challenges and she could have sucked it up and tried to make the best of it. And rather than constant complaints from Candice, Amanda, or whomever, focus should have gone on better planning right from the get go. I’m sure these designers have watched PR before and knew the route they were taking was a recipe for disaster. These are some very talented ladies here who have done some great work this season. I will definitely continue to root for them and hope to see better from them in the future. But this work, this episode, these looks were a hot mess!


Amanda did not have the best look this week, but she didn’t have the worst. At least there was some flare and great movement with her piece. Clearly the judges chose to send her home based on their view of her body of work rather than sending home designers who have been on the top. I’ve disagreed with the judges placement of Amanda in the bottom, but this is where they’ve put her. Ultimately it led to her elimination this week. She may have not made it to the PR show at NYFW, but I’m happy I will get to see her with House of Perna as she is still showing during fashion week.


Candice was in the bottom 2, which also made no sense to me. It was not her best work, but it was not the worst of this bunch. It was not perfectly executed, but it had direction. It was more than just a basic, boring top or skirt.

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Ashley & Kelly were too in some danger here as the judges brought attention to their looks. This was definitely not Ashley’s best work. It was clear the judges were not sending her home as she has had some winning looks. Kelly too didn’t fair well with the judges here. There were definitely some execution issues here, but just as I said with Candice, I at least appreciated a sense of direction here and thinking outside of the box. The top was a bit crazy, but for these looks, the crazy outweighed the safe, boring pieces.

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Laurie & Lindsey were in the middle of this bottom pack. And just like the rest, nothing overly impressive or to brag about. Two basic tops, culottes, and some capris, whoopee! The girls had a tough week here, all of them. So here’s to hoping the ladies get back in it next week. I know they’ve done better and know most will get back on track.

It’s Casual Sportswear for GENTS

Gents FW15 Look 2Black ‘Knight Rider’ quilted flat brim cap, suede visor, black brushed tricot hooded pullover with metallic gold detail, black brushed tricot color blocked sport pant, and black performance sock

Gents went with a calm, cool, collected vibe for F/W 2015 during the brand’s presentation for NYMD, held at Industria Superstudio and presented by Cadillac. We all need staple, well-made pieces in our wardrobe, so for mens’ sportswear, look no further than Gents!

Gents FW15 Cadillac Lounge Look

Cadillac Lounge Look — navy ‘John’ mesh cap with black brim, black/white French terry zip front hoodie, & navy brushed tricot sport pant

It’s clear the concept was to keep the pieces simple, understated, and minimal. These looks were all about great fit, clean lines, with pieces you can easily incorporate into your on-the-go lifestyle. The looks would work great at the gym, casual Saturday afternoon or errands, or even just a low-key night out.

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100% black leather metallic gold brim cap, white french terry pullover hoodie, black quilted sport pant, and black performance sock

Very few pops of color were present in this collection, really just some maroon. But it wasn’t the vibe, so Gents stuck with basics in black and white, and more traditional colors for the fall season, namely navy blue. There were lots of separates, the ability to mix and match. There was differing fabrics though, such as comfy quilted pants to pieces incorporate leather. It’s the intricate, minimal details of this collection that make these pieces more than just your basic sweats or workout wear.

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100% leather white brim cap, navy/black/white brushed tricot zip front hoodie, black sport pant with white stripe detail, and black performance sock

I was impressed by the brand’s ability to keep it very simple, and stick with this vibe as a cohesive theme. It’s not always about the bells and whistles!

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100% black leather cap with white stripe detail, black perforated zip front hoodie, black perforated moto pant, and black performance sock

Show Credits –

Gents FW15 Look 7

Bobby’ bomber in grey with faux fur detail, brushed tricot navy/black chevron zip front hoodie, black/navy brushed tricot moto pant, and black performance sock

Gents FW15 Look 9

Greg’ gradient twelve panel flat brim cap, black french terry crew neck pullover with perforated detail, maroon sport pant, and black performance sock

  • Models & Agencies – Adam, Aim, Click, Ford, Fusion, IMG, Major, NY Models, One, Re:quest, DNA, Red, Soul, Q, & Wilhelmina


Black ski beanie with faux shearling lining, white french terry zip front chevron hoodie, black sport pant with zipper detail, and black performance sock

 Gents FW15 Look 11

Wendell’ silver mesh performance snap back cap, black french terry zip-front chevron hoodie with maroon detail, black french terry sport pant, and black performance sock