The New Luxury: Bespoke Handbags
You’re an intelligent woman, and you know what you want out of life… from the man at your side to the handbag at your, um, other side. The only issue –and it’s a big one– is that very few things are tailored just for you. While you can’t get a hand-tailored man (science is still out on that one) you can get a bespoke bag that will speak volumes about your personally-refined taste — and even your socially and environmentally-conscious predilections.
First and foremost, let’s cover the obvious reasons why bespoke handbags are the biggest upcoming thing in fashion accessories: they’re unique. If anyone has ever heard the song Gucci Gucci by Kreayshawn, you know that those big name brands are for basic bitches. Kreayshawn doesn’t even bother.
The new name in luxury and fashion is bespoke. Besides all of the environmental and social implications, which we’ll cover later, bespoke is the end of the line in quality and style. Brands like 1 Atelier and Laudi Vidni are passionately devoted to creating unique handbags that fit your personal tastes and lifestyle.
So, how does it work? These brands have interactive websites that allow you to design your bag in real-time. Choose the bag style, materials, colors, and hardware and see it come to life right before your very eyes. As you create your bag, you can see the pricing tally up, so you’re not in for any surprises at the end. When I created my 1 Atelier handbag, I individually selected the top front panel, and bottom, left and right panels, the piping, the strap, the lining and hardware. At that point I could purchase, add to wishlist, or contact a stylist for advice.
The process of creating the bag is just as much fun as owning it. Strutting down your street –your very own red carpet– you have the distinct pleasure of answering an envious query about the origins of your exquisite handbag – “it’s my design.” Of course, you get a little help from the brands that actually tenderly stitch the bags together. You have the option of speaking to style specialists during the designing of your bag to ensure the best possible outcome. If they don’t think your design will look good in person, they will politely let you know and steer you back toward the drawing board. And, if you have any picky friends or family members, you can design a bag with them that will make them swoon.
Laudi Vidni was founded by two friends (and fellow Harvard Business School grads), Laura Kofoid and Grace Tsao-Wu, after they were struck by women’s unsatisfying relationships with their handbags. Mention a woman’s bag to her, and she will likely say, “I love this bag, but…” Grace and Laura started Laudi Vidni to get the answer “I love this bag. Period.”
1 Atelier’s Master Craftsman, Anthony Luciano found his lifelong passion creating one-of-a-kind handbags at a young age. With a seamstress for a mother, and a carpenter as a father, Luciano’s passion for creating hand-crafted items is a simply a small detail in the fabric of destiny. With a craftsman such as Luciano, you can take it for granted that your handbag will not only be unique, it will be someone’s masterpiece.
All handbags are handmade by artisans in New York City, so you’ll never have to gasp at an unexpected Made in China tag. Being a socially responsible shopper, this also means you’ll never have to wonder whether the perfect stitching was done by a child in some overseas sweatshop. What’s more, each piece is lovingly handcrafted by hand-selected craftsmen and craftswomen.
Luciano is one of the very few remaining bespoke craftsmen in the United States. This is not surprising, as the US is commonly dubbed a “throwaway culture.” Our economy rests on the simple predication that we must constantly consume in order to keep the money flowing. Many big name brands, even ones who tout quality, practice planned obsolescence, the intentional creation of products with parts or pieces that will fall apart over time. If you’ve ever experienced the strap of your favorite handbag snapping, or if you’ve ever sprained your ankle when one of your heels suddenly gave way, then you’ve experienced the unpleasant, sometimes embarrassing effects of planned obsolescence. When your bag breaks, you must buy a new one. I mean, where else are you going to keep your emergency tampons? Your pockets? Don’t be absurd.
To keep our consumerist economy running, we’re spiraling out of control with our irresponsible use of natural resources. An urban planner at the University of British Columbia, William Reese, made a startling estimation; that it “requires four to six hectares of land to maintain the consumption level of the average person from a high-consumption country.” If you don’t know what a hectare is, or why this is important, don’t fret. I didn’t either. So here’s the punchline: in 1990, there were only 1.7 hectares of available land for each person worldwide.
Bespoke changes all that. With each item made specifically for the client, there is no excess. No bags are tossed in the trash because they didn’t sell in time for the new collection’s release. Almost no materials are wasted, since only what’s needed is ordered and produced. Buying bespoke means you get a fabulous new handbag, meticulously checked for quality, with a side of good-samaritanism on top of all that. Bet you didn’t think your arm candy could be so impactful, eh?