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The Edit: 5 Handcrafted “It Bags” To Elevate Your New-Season Look


If you were ever wondering about how to quickly elevate even the most simple of outfits, the answer is clear: a killer handbag. Whether it’s be plain, patterned, or embossed, the perfect clutch for a night out on the town or the everyday tote, the right bag is an integral part of any good outfit and finding a great one is no small feat. Luckily there’s no shortage of designers creating beautiful bags for every occasion. With handcrafted and skilfully designed pieces, African designers are making a swift breakthrough in luxury fashion by emphasizing quality, craftsmanship as well as social and environmental responsibility. 

Brands such as Nigerian-based IBEKA are redefining the term luxury as it pertains to fashion and accessories. Making each piece with care, founder Jessica Carre uses her designs as a form of expression and appreciation. IBEKA, a term meaning “what makes it unique”, is the physical representation of her life and appreciation for her French and Togolese heritage. Made with longevity at the forefront of the brand, each Ibeka bag is crafted delicately with only the best Italian leathers, making each piece not only a statement but a staple.

Similarly, brands including Joel Lani, based in Lagos, Nigeria, are leading the charge when it comes to quality and care. Sustainably made with locally sourced materials, Joel Lani designs are made for the modern woman; bold, unique, and conscious. Effortlessly combining sophistication and flare, these brands and others alike have created a lane all their own, depicting the hopeful future of the fashion industry where artistry is key.

Joel Lani Minika Cross-body Bag

Who doesn’t love a cross-body bag? A closet staple that offers fashion and function is the perfect bag for the woman on the go. The Minika cross-body bag by Nigerian designer Joel Lani is the great addition to any bag collection. Made with locally sourced 100% calf skin leather, this bag the the perfect combination of form and function. Wear it across the body for a casual finish to a day look or tuck in the strap to create a clutch for a night out. The bright orange hue adds the perfect pop of color, easily elevating this simple silhouette.

IBEKA Mini Amivi Apollo Bag

It seems as of late that the fashion world can’t get enough of mini bags, and who can blame us especially when they look like this? The Mini Amivi Apollo Bag from IBEKA is just the right excuse to splurge. With a classic structured design this piece is easy to dress up or down for whatever the occasion. Complete with the crocodile embossed texture and gold hardware the bag is refined and elegant. With bold colors and curved stitching that truly make this a stand out.

Joel Lani Iyoba Maxi Basket Bag

There’s nothing better than a playful bag to add a bit of fun to a look and the hand-woven Iyoba Maxi Basket Bag by Joel Lani is the perfect example. Its structural geometric design is a clear depiction of the brands ethos of artistry. The simplicity of the camel tone of the bag is juxtaposed by its distinct hexagonal shape, making this stand out piece a seamless addition to your wardrobe.

Shekudo Maitama Moon Bag

Gone are the days of the simple and the ordinary when it comes to accessorizing and this bag makes a great case as to why. The Maitama Moon Bag from Nigerian accessories brand Shekudo is sure to make people look twice. Made for the bold, the eye-catching piece is unique in color, fabric and structure. Sustainably created, the Maitama’s colorful design and tassled stitching made from traditional aso oke add texture and dimension, creating the perfect finishing touch to complete your look.

IBEKA Mini Amivi Bubblegum Bag

The Mini Amivi bag in bubblegum pink is IBEKA’s modern interpretation of a classic lady bag silhouette. With its distinct trapeze shape and wavy line that’s unique to the brand, this style makes a bold statement while also being multifunctional, featuring both a leather top handle and shoulder strap. Perfect for a day-to-night transition, this bag can be easily dressed up or down making it a surprising versatile piece.




Words by Tasha Nicole Smith