I Can’t Not Buy This is a column that features one emerging item, brand, or trend that we can’t for the life of us stop obsessing over.

By Laura Reilly
Updated May 20, 2019 @ 11:00 am
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Credit: Courtesy

Now that it’s well into spring and we’re comfortably swapping out our heavy leather handbags for dainty, basket-inspired totes, the question remains — which whimsical little bag is going to sweep our Instagram feeds and reign supreme as 2019’s Bag of the Summer? We’d like to place our bet and say it won’t be a Dior saddle bag-type from a big league design house, but rather, from a newcomer.

Warm weather months are a time when shoppers feel experimental and are more willing to take a chance on an emerging brand. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the title awarded to the likes of Cult Gaia, with its monumental Ark Bag, and Staud, with its equally wave-making Moreau Bucket — both relatively unknown brands prior to their flagship styles going viral.

This year, we’re laser focused on a newcomer with designs big enough to fill their shoes — Petit Kouraj. This brand new line was created by Alicia Keys’ former stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste, introducing the most gorgeous fringe, netted bags we’ve laid eyes on.

Based in Brooklyn and handmade in Haiti, Petit Kouraj’s creations move more like liquids than solids. The stunning design is everything we look for in a summer bag: cheeky, statement-making, even a little impractical, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Jean-Baptiste got the idea for Petit Kouraj (Haitian Creole for ‘Little Courage’) on a visit to her place of heritage, Haiti. The young designer got in touch with a group called D.O.T. Haiti, a community of local artisans and makers dedicated to preserving local craft, who in turn introduced her to the fair-wage workshop where she now produces her bags.

And the production process is highly involved — each bag takes eight to 12 hours to create. The large fringe bags, made of leather and rayon, take 656 stitches to complete, while the small bags take 342.

Until today, the bags have only been seen on the arms of early stage influencers and media types, but have mostly been kept under wraps. But, after months of build-up, the public can finally shop the line. In partnership with Moda Operandi, Petit Kouraj has launched a trunk show featuring three brilliant bag styles you won’t find anywhere else. Bags are priced at $345 with a $173 deposit and supply is limited.

If you want to get in on Summer’s next It Bag, we suggest you act early. Like status bags from previous years, there’s a high risk they’ll sell out fast.