Drumroll, please! The winners of the 8th Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards were announced last night during a glam ceremony hosted by Handbag Designer 101 in New York City. Designers from all over the world accepted awards in seven different categories. The night's big winner, British designer John Edwards of Florian London, scored the prize for Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design plus InStyle’s Audience Fan Favorite award, with 77,000-plus votes on InStyle.com. “In England, this is what we call a double whammy,” says Edwards's wife, Tola Adeagbo, who accepted the award on his behalf.
Click to see all of the 2014 Independent Handbag Designer Awards winners, and visit thehandbagawards.com to learn about the prizes.
1. BEST HANDBAG IN OVERALL STYLE AND DESIGN AND InStyle.com Audience Fan Favorite
The Designer: John Edwards
The Brand: Florian London
Home Base: London, England
Inspiration: "British Heritage. We have embraced our English heritage, which shows in the embellishment that we have used in our hardware and the detailing of our products."
2. THE OPTITEX BEST STUDENT MADE HANDBAG
The Designer: Morgan Richards
The Brand: Morgan Rhea
Home Base: Savannah, GA
School: Savannah College of Art and Design
Inspiration: "Menswear, including Berluti, John Lobb, Ralph Lauren, Frye, Kenneth Cole, Brooks Brothers, Stubbs and Wootton, J.Crew, and Jack Spade. I?m also inspired by bespoke style, people's stories about their journeys in life, classic silhouettes, and Lucille Ball."
3. THE BERNINA BEST HANDMADE HANDBAG
The Designer: Gili Rozin Tamam
The Brand: MeDusa
Home Base: Tel Aviv, Israel
Inspiration: "It's a tribute to the old world culture and Far East design aesthetic. In this style, the plastic is combined with textiles reminiscent of carpets and upholstery, which creates a playful juxtaposition of design traditions-one ancient and the other new."
4. THE TIMBERLAND BEST GREEN HANDBAG
The Designer: Carolina Riffi Ollite – Hopman
The Brand: Carat23
Home Base: Flevoland, The Netherlands
Inspiration: "The mix of the fabric with leather, and the organic way it has been made, gives the bag a soul. This philosophy is why the brand is named Carat23, because we aim for purity and sustainability, just like gold, which embodies 100 percent purity."
5. MOST SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE HANDBAG
The Designer: Monica Frisbie
The Brand: Mondrina
Home Base: Sag Harbor, NY
How the Design is Socially Responsible: "We employ local artisans in Peru to manufacture our textiles and beadwork embellishments. Currently, we are working with male prisoners in Cusco where they weave custom textiles designed by us. There are many skilled artisans in prison in Cusco and they have no access to local markets to keep selling goods they produce once they are in prison. Employing the prisoner enables them not only to use their skills in a productive manner while serving time, but their family members earn fair price for the products they create."
6. DISTINCTLY DENIM BY GUESS
The Designer: Tika Kuchukhidze
The Brand: TIKA
Home Base: Barcelona, Spain
Inspiration: "Guess's Spring 2014 collection, especially the denim styles, like the Ring Bag."