The influence of social media on the trend cycle is undeniable. Exposure to global fashion outlook leads to a faster cycle of cool versus cringe, and with access to everything everywhere, it’s harder than ever to figure out exactly what the zeitgeist is buying.
This is the case in the world of accessories. With microtrends overlapping and converging like never before, the verdict is clear: anything goes. Brands like Balenciaga are reintroducing cybercore-appropriate classics, women’s minaudières are back, and every red carpet sets a viral bag moment in motion. (Remember the Coperni glass bag Doja Cat brought to the Grammys? Hold on.)
The idea of a wardrobe staple has all but died out in the handbag industry. At one end of the spectrum are its tiny bags – the more impractical the better. Made mainstream by Jacquemus, micro bags like Marni’s straw mini tote and Alexander Wang’s shrunken duffel bag pair well with baggy cargos and play quite well with tees and minis. Y2K-inspired shrunken dresses. That doesn’t mean larger-than-life totes are outdated. Saint Laurent’s Icare Maxi tote and Chanel’s 22 bag are proof of this. The only rule is that there are no rules.
One trend worth noting is the growing number of brands rooted in streetwear creating high-end designer bags, a category often associated with heritage fashion houses. Take Pyer Moss’ Embrace bag, a hand-shaped handbag that nods to collectible handbag culture and a hair flip from classic styles from heritage brands. (While in fairness Pyer Moss is more sophisticated than the term “streetwear” would suggest, the brand’s sneakers and slouches make them a crucial part of any conversation about what is and isn’t associated with to the category.)
Kid Super is also part of the conversation with his “Kissing Bag,” a flap bag with overlapping artwork that creates a kissing couple on closure. Palm Angels is another example, with its range of playful handbags, from the asymmetrical “Crash Bag” to the “Palm Beach” that features ocean waves and a bold palm-shaped closure.
Do streetwear brands own the future of women’s handbags? Not enough. On the contrary, the category will continue to expand, becoming more and more democratized with high/low priced it-bags from brands from all walks of life. We like to see it.