#1: Cult Gaia
Founded in 2012 in Los Angeles by Jasmin Larian, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, the brand aims to create “objets d’art”, or works of art, that make great conversation starters and heirloom pieces. Its signature item is Gaia’s Ark, a half-moon-shaped clutch originally made out of bamboo and is now also available in a multitude of acrylic finishes, such as mother-of-pearl or glitter.
While it may be a young brand at all of five years old, it’s already been picked up by international retailers Net-a-porter and Shopbop after blowing up on Instagram feeds earlier this year. Celebrities like Rihanna and Beyonce, as well as fashion bloggers like Aimee Song, were also spotted carrying it.
Besides Gaia’s Ark, the label also offers two other distinctive bag styles that are just as architecturally breath-taking: Lilleth, a collapsible evening bag (it can be folded flat), and Luna, a circular-shaped shoulder bag with a beaded strap. From USD$128 (S$173)
Also an LA-based outfit, the label takes its name from its founder/designer, who first came into the spotlight after designing a bag for another brand, Staud Clothing, last year. Her debut collection was released in March this year by way of an exclusive Spring Summer 2017 trunkshow on Moda Operandi.
One of her most popular bags is the Amphora, a triangular-shaped leather clutch with a large oversized handle, which fashion blogger Chriselle Lim was spotted in. Another hot style the brand offers is the Corallina straw raffia bag, which Instagram’s Eva Chen and actress Emily Ratajkowski were seen carrying. From USD$575 (S$779)
If you’re a fan of mini bags, you’ll love this Hong-Kong based label’s chic and fun designs. The two-year-old brand was established by Queenie Fan and Day Lau, and their pieces have since garnered international press coverage from online and offline publications like Vogue Japan, Who What Wear and Refinery29.
Its bestseller thus far is the Basket Bucket, which is made of Italian leather and comes with a canvas top closure. Their latest Fall ’17 release, the Bellows crossbody bag, is a slim rectangular-shaped clutch that works for both day and night. And if you need any more reason to get your hands on one: Millenial fashion stars like Margaret Zhang and Reese Blutstein have also been snapped toting these designs. From S$546
#4: Manu Atelier
The three-year-old Turkish brand was founded by Beste and Merve Manastir, who are the daughters of one of the oldest leather goods manufacturers in Istanbul. Everything here is made in small quantities by hand in their Instanbul atelier. The sisters’ goal? To create modern bags using age-old craftsmanship practices.
The one design that’s been making its rounds on oh-so-fashionable arms is the Pristine, a boxy-looking crossbody with the label’s arrow-shaped logo on the front flap. Photos of Bella Hadid carrying it might also have had something to do with its rise in popularity, although a Business of Fashion article traces its rise to fame back to Eva Chen in 2014. From USD$415 (S$562)
Based in America and Turkey, the label was established in 2015 by industrial designer Meb Rure. Its USP: Bags that look sleek, minimal and are convertible, such as a top handle deftly turning into a backpack. Another sign it’s picking up more fashion cred: It was recently featured in a Vogue.com profile piece in September 2017.
One of its most recognisable offerings is the Flex Hobo. Made of Italian leather, its distinctive triangular shape is inspired by origami, and it comes in a wide variety of colours. For Fall ’17, the brand has released cute convertible bags covered in fluffy shearling that can be used either as a top handle or backpack. This hot ticket item is currently sold out, but is still available for pre-order. From S$185
#6: Staud Clothing
The two-year-old LA-based label was founded by 27-year-old Sarah Staudinger, the former fashion director of eco-friendly label Reformation, and her partner George Augusto. Earlier this May, it partnered with Net-A-Porter on an exclusive 16-piece capsule collection comprising ultra-feminine pieces like bell-sleeved tops and pastel pink wide leg pants.
What we love about its bag designs is that they are all imbued with a quirky, vintage tinge. Take the Moreau calf leather bucket bag, which is covered in netting so it resembles a flowerpot, or the Grace silk-blend velvet evening pouch, which looks like a poufy cushion. Little wonder it’s already earned fans like Alexa Chung and Leandra Medine, who are both champions at kooky dressing. From S$250