Marie Kondo needs to steer clear of a woman’s handbag collection because there can never be enough handbags, and every single one of them sparks joy, Okay? If there’s not enough space to store them, that just means it’s time to declutter non-essentials like your boyfriend’s Star Wars figurines. Collector’s edition? So are all your cross-body bags.
Sydney has a burgeoning community of handbag designers and makers with pieces so beautiful, you’ll need to get on that decluttering straight away to make room for new acquisitions. Here are five of our faves…
Charlie Middleton's handbags are handcrafted in a Bondi studio by master craftsman Ben Thompson. In a city where everyone queues for the best cafes, bars and new shops, these bags are quintessentially Sydney: gorgeous quality and made to order or in limited runs. The leather bags come in basic black, tan and grey, or in a range of unexpected colours like blush or peach suede. Although Charlie Middleton's bags are pretty, they're also hardy, so load them up with laptops and heels and a small dog if you fancy.
Stockist: LivedIn Coogee, Coogee
Although it started as a leather goods brand, these days The Horse is famous for its classic timepieces in modern colours and metals. Like its watches, The Horse Everyday bag is simple and exquisitely made. It's a supple leather tote with knotted rope handles and comes in plum or tan. The bag has raw edges along the top and immaculate rows of stitching along the sides and bottom. This might hurt the feelings of the other bags in your collection, but The Everyday might just be the only bag you need.
Stockist: Milk & Thistle, Newtown
Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique that produces feathered, radiating patterns on fabric, or in Karmme's case, leather. Often the colourway is indigo on white, but sometimes it's black on white, or grey which creates a haunting, x-ray effect. Sydney handbag designer Karmme's shibori clutches are an incredible collaboration with the Shibori Shop in Stanmore, and because they're hand-dyed, you won't find another bag like yours anywhere in the world.
Stockist: Shibori, Stanmore
Before he started The Horse with his wife, Scott Hawkes co-founded Status Anxiety, a range of leather goods for men and women. In the last 10 years, Status Anxiety has grown from having a single design in five colours to having its offering in 600 boutiques and department stores around the world. So ubiquitous is this humble Sydney brand that you may just find a Status Anxiety wallet in your man's back pocket.
True to its roots of simplicity and quality, Status Anxiety's handbag range is full of classic styles. There are soft shoulder bags, structured totes, mini cross-body bags and bucket bags, mostly in tan and black. Cowhide makes a cameo in some styles, as do unexpected brights like electric blue.
Stockist: Inbetween Tangerine, Bondi Beach
We've given you neutrals, classic shapes and hand-dyeing techniques, and now it's time for colour, pattern and shine. Carolina's huge, colourful collection of handbags is designed in Sydney and handmade by leather artisans in Colombia. The brand's signature hides collection is full of Rorschach test-like prints, faux animal prints (because nobody wants a real giraffe bag) and colours like kiwi, emerald and royal blue.
Stockist: Rose St Trading Co, Double Bay
Image Credit: Karmme