I Know Good Bags, and These 13 Independent Brands Are My Favourites

Here at Who What Wear, we believe in the power of accessories. That's why we've dedicated an entire series—Successorise—to it. After all, nothing has the ability to overhaul your outfits quite like a well-chosen sparkly hair grip or an elegant pair of earrings worn with a messy low bun. The same, naturally, applies to handbags.

Handbags are covetable—this we know—and while my own personal wish lists will always include the classics (think Chanel, Gucci, Hermès—the dream), nothing gives me quite the same thrill as discovering a new It-bag brand. When I started researching the best new bag brands for this piece, I consulted both Instagram and the trend reports of Matches, Net-a-Porter, and MyTheresa. And now, after hours of searching, I can confirm that these are the handbag brands to know now.

From the coolest bag I've seen (that costs just £38) to the year's defining label, keep scrolling to discover the best new handbag brands that dominated 2020, and that we fully intend on carrying with us through to 2021. 



(Image credit: @frannyfyne)

This vintage-inspired range began to gain momentum at the start of 2020. The Tulip bags (large and small) will no doubt be on the arms of many fashion editors.



(Image credit: @thatsaleaf)

Handcrafted in limited runs using only the best leather, C.Nicol's minimal arm candy has been seen on many a noteworthy arm, and features on every Who What Wear editor's wish-list. 



(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Aesther Ekme creates pared-back bags with function at their heart, but that doesn't mean they're not beautiful. In fact, their minimal silhouettes make them all the more covetable, as they'll go with just about everything you can pair them with.



(Image credit: @khaite_ny)

Khaite was one of 2020's defining brands, with its knitwear proving to be most popular in fashion circles. However, after launching its first handbag edit last year, we think it's not going anywhere for 2021. 



(Image credit: @taniceelizabeth)

Born in Berlin, Agneel's bags are refined, and utterly timeless. They can be styled to chic avail with jeans and dresses alike, while the gold metal hardware adds in indisputable premium feel. 



(Image credit: Courtesy of Roop)

It takes a great deal to surprise the Who What Wear team, but that's exactly what happened when we saw the price of Roop's satin bags. A high-street price for a conscious, boutique Brit label? We can't say no to that…



(Image credit: @freddieharrel)

Continuing our quest to become as close to being French as possible, Polène's bags are a fast-track to Parisian chic. 



(Image credit: @venswifestyle)

Made in Barcelona by traditional artisans, The Sant's bags have become a firm favourite amongst our team. With their signature scrunchie handles and structured bodies, their play on proportion makes them look all the more premium. 



(Image credit: @mashu_london)

Mashu is an ethical handbag brand that is designed in the UK and handcrafted by expert artisans in Greece. Using only sustainably sourced materials that don't harm the environment, it's a mid-range purchase you can feel really great about. 



(Image credit: @hannahalmassi)

Elleme first appeared on our radars in 2019, but it's steadily been building momentum. Choose from the, mock-croc, pastel or ruche finishes. 



(Image credit: @maria_bernad)

Simple, chic, modern. Those are the exact three words I'd use to describe bag brand Coperni, which has caught the eye of many sartorial superstars. 



(Image credit: @jeenaaofficial)

Affordable brands that look expensive are what we're always on the look out for. Jeenaa ticks both those boxes with sharp, structured totes in minimalist colours that look way more than the under £80 price tags.



(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

A bag brand that's loved by Alexis Foreman means we need to know more about it. Bonastre. The brand uses vegetable leather and all pieces are softly structured and all feel super polished. 

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Next up, In 2021, I'll be wearing these jacket trends on repeat

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over twelve years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories, and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, works closely with influencer talent on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media. Previously, Maxine appeared on TV in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. 

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship, she was offered a position on the Look magazine fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. She went on to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others. Maxine works remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh.