Social media’s influence on the trend cycle is undeniable. The exposure to worldwide fashion perspectives brings with it a more rapid cycling of cool versus cringe, and with access to everything everywhere, it’s more difficult than ever to pinpoint exactly what the zeitgeist is buying into.
Such is the case in the world of accessories. With microtrends layering and converging like never before, the verdict is clear — anything goes. Brands like Balenciaga are reintroducing cybercore-friendly classics, ladylike minaudières are back in favor and every red carpet sets a viral bag moment in motion. (Remember the glass Coperni bag Doja Cat brought to the Grammys? A moment.)
The idea of a wardrobe staple has all but disappeared in the handbag sector. On one end of the spectrum are itsy bitsy bags — the more impractical the better. Made mainstream by Jacquemus, micro bags like Marni‘s mini straw tote and Alexander Wang‘s shrunken duffle pair well with baggy cargos and play quite nicely with Y2K-inspired shrunken tees and mini dresses. That doesn’t mean larger-than-life totes are passé. Saint Laurent‘s Icare Maxi Tote and Chanel’s 22 Bag are proof of this. The only rule is, there are no rules.
A trend of note is the growing number of brands rooted in streetwear that are creating elevated designer bags, a category often associated with heritage fashion houses. Take Pyer Moss‘s Embrace Bag, a hand-shaped handbag that gives a nod to collectible purse culture and a hair flip in the face of the classic styles of heritage brands. (Though, in fairness Pyer Moss is more sophisticated than the term “streetwear” would suggest, the label’s sneakers and soft goods make it a crucial component of any conversation surrounding what is and isn’t associated with the category.)
Kid Super belongs in the conversation as well with its “Kissing Bag,” a flap purse with overlapping artwork that creates a kissing couple upon closure. Palm Angels is another example, with its array of playful handbags, from the asymmetrical “Crash Bag” to the “Palm Beach” that boasts oceanic waves and a bold palm tree closure.
Do streetwear-heavy brands own the future of women’s handbags? Not quite. If anything the category will continue to widen, becoming increasingly democratized with It bags at high/low price points from brands of all backgrounds. We love to see it.