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.

051116-handbag-awards-slide-24  051216-handbag-awards-slide-26  051216-handbag-awards-slide-28

051216-handbag-awards-slide-29   051216-handbag-awards-slide-27

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.

051116-handbag-awards-slide-5  051116-handbag-awards-slide-4  051116-handbag-awards-slide-1

051116-handbag-awards-slide-3   051116-handbag-awards-slide-2

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.

051116-handbag-awards-slide-12   051116-handbag-awards-slide-10  051116-handbag-awards-slide-11

051116-handbag-awards-slide-13   051216-handbag-awards-slide-25

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.

051116-handbag-awards-slide-9  051316-handbag-awards-slide-8-revise  051116-handbag-awards-slide-6

051216-handbag-awards-slide-30  051116-handbag-awards-slide-7  

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.

051116-handbag-awards-slide-23  051116-handbag-awards-slide-19  jgjvj

051116-handbag-awards-slide-20  051116-handbag-awards-slide-22

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.


051116-handbag-awards-slide-17  051116-handbag-awards-slide-14  051116-handbag-awards-slide-18

051116-handbag-awards-slide-15   051116-handbag-awards-slide-16

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.

051116-handbag-awards-sketch-9  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-6  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-10

051116-handbag-awards-sketch-8  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-7

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.

051116-handbag-awards-sketch-5  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-3  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-2

051116-handbag-awards-sketch-4  051116-handbag-awards-sketch-1

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.

Did the PRAS Designers Id a New Trend for 2014?!?

Ahhhhh……No! I mean in reality, nobody could, in just 1 day, on the spot, find some big, new fashion trend for next year. It just isn’t possible. I was eager to see what the designers would come up with though. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. My first thoughts when I heard the challenge was okay, no sheer effects, cut-outs, lace, or peplum. So when I saw a couple of those aspects, I was left SMH! I only loved 1 look, but I don’t think any fully met the challenge.

So this week’s challenge was given by PR judge & creative director of Marie Claire Nina Garcia. The designers were to pair up with some influential fashion bloggers to identify a new trend for 2014. I loved the pairing with the fashion bloggers because what people like us do is just so great. It’s always great hearing what people from all over the world have to say. Blogging is a great platform, even if NYFW doesn’t agree!

But back to the challenge — so Pantone’s color of the year, for 2014, is radiant orchid, or wild orchid. The designer’s look had to incorporate this color. The prizes for this week were also great. The winning look would be personally endorsed by Nina Garcia so we know what that really meant, she would pretty much decide the winning look! But that look would then be shot in a video for the home page of StyleHaul, which could be seen by over 50 million subscribers. Pantone also joined in on the giving — $10,000 prize and a chance to visit Brussels, Belgium and stay in the Pantone Hotel there.

mainpage_slider_blog                                     pantone-color-of-the-year-2014-radiant-orchidSo StyleHaul played a huge role this week as the StyleHaul bloggers worked with the designers to create this fresh, new, trendy look. PR brought back the tradition of the winning designer from last week picking first. And then each designer thereafter would pick which designer would select next. I’m not sure how necessary that was since all of these bloggers were amazing! You can’t deny that, I mean altogether, they have over 6 and a 1/2 million Twitter followers, CRAZY!

pras03-ep8-workroom15                                     pras03-ep8-workroom3

pras03-ep8-workroom6                                     pras03-ep8-workroom5






The designers had a $200 budget this week. Some funny tidbits for me this week — Elena having chainsaw fun and driving the other designers crazy!; Elena picking on Chris’ trend yet she was really just focusing on a peplum-style jacket, not that much more innovative!; finally, Viktor talking about Chris’ use of the olive green, ummmmm did he forget his dress from just last week??

This week’s guest judges were of course Nina, but she was also joined by Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and one of my fave PR alums, the most successful ever, Christian Siriano. Zanna came by for her usual weekly visit and made sure to encourage the designers’ work processes and to think bigger. So how did that all work out?

pras03-ep8-episode7                                                                                                pras03-ep8-episode12I had no clue what would happen this week, who would win, who would go home? I didn’t think any look was that forward-thinking, but I did like 1 look nonetheless. I thought Seth’s fitted knee-length dress was very chic. I thought he incorporated the radiant orchid color well. I also liked the leather capped-sleeves, nice touch. Color-blocking, it’s not something I see as some big new trend for 2014, but I thought the look had such clean lines. I’m not a designer so maybe the color-blocking with the in-seams was at least pushing the boundary somewhat.


The judges disagreed as Seth was in the bottom 3. But no designer this week got full praise. Although the judges did seem to really love Korto’s white vested-suit look. I actually didn’t like the use of the orchid color. For me, having to fight to figure out how something is featured isn’t doing the color justice. In fact, at first, I had no clue where the color even was. It was clever, but for me, the point should have been to feature the color and I didn’t see that here. I didn’t really see anything new or innovative for a trend either, a white suit?? But the judges ultimately declared Korto as the winner.


Elena’s focus this week was surprise surprise, on another jacket, and working on texture. She created a peplum-style shape to the jacket and incorporated the orchid color as part of a textured print. I think had this print been a bit darker, not so bright white, it might have worked better. The judges took issue with some proportions, but really disagreed on if it was a winning look. A couple of the judges were a fan, while Alyssa and Nina were just not sold. Again, Nina was the deciding factor this week, so without her full support, there was no way you could win.


I’m a fan of Chris, but the bottom 2 made sense this week. I know he can bounce back so I’m not worried! Lace is such a big trend right now that it really couldn’t be something much more innovative next year. I do think it’s more of even a staple trend and I’m sure we will see it for many years to come. The military aspect I guess was the twist, but if I’m not mistaken, I think even on PR a few seasons back, lace and military was a trend used for a challenge. Of course after my lengthy venting from last week, I am still not a huge fan of this olive green color, but I don’t think it looked like the swamp thing! I also wish he had done something a bit more with the color than the orchid clutch. But I’m so glad he was safe. I couldn’t take him going home since Irina was eliminated last week.


It was sad to see Viktor go, but that is the tough part with a season such as this one, too many great designers! I really didn’t see a clear trend from his look this week. I think his vision was just a bit hazy. Of course the leather moto jacket was awesome, but it really didn’t work with this black babydoll dress. I think a jumper would have worked way better and if he could have done the splattered orchid print on the jumper, the look probably would have been outstanding!


What will happen next week?? I can’t wait!!