As much as we love a good Classic Flap or a Lady Dior, we also like to shed some light on the lesser-known brands that deserve far more recognition. Despite the of lack of their "status-symbol" reputation, there are countless brands who don't rank in the luxury hierarchy, but still produce exceptional-quality products just as beautiful. It's important to support up-and-coming designers or fashion houses that aren't as acclaimed as Chanel or Louis Vuitton, especially since their products are more unique. For the edgy individuals with understated styles, the die-hard fans of Phoebe Philo's Céline, the lovers of "if you know, you know" aesthetics and the girls who wouldn't be caught dead with a bag that screams "I'M DESIGNER!" - this one's for you.
Loewe Puzzle bag
"Unique" and "innovative" are perhaps the most fitting words to describe the Puzzle bag. With one of the most interesting silhouettes to grace the accessories shelves, this geometric bag is one of the coolest pieces of the past decade. True to its name, this bag not only looks like a puzzle, it actually is a puzzle upon your first try wearing it. It's possible to wear the Puzzle bag not one but five different ways, allowing you to carry it essentially however you want. Whether it be handheld, on your shoulder, across your body, slung like a backpack or as a clutch, it's intriguing in any way, shape or form. It's one of those bags you have to look twice at, especially if you're trying to detect a logo or some sort of brand indication. If you're a fashion know-it-all, then the Loewe logo probably isn't foreign to you, but if you're only familiar with double CCs or interwoven LV's, then the four cursive L's wouldn't be a sign you'd recognize. But isn't that the beauty of it? Part of what makes the Puzzle bag so charming in addition to its edgy aesthetic, practicality and unprecedented silhouette, is how low-key it is. Though it has increased in popularity in the last year or so, it still remains discreet and mysterious to the majority of the world.
Jacquemus Sac Chiquito
If you squint your eyes tight enough you will actually be able to see the bag in the photo below. No, but seriously, Simon Porte Jacquemus took the mini bag trend to the next level with this one. Spacious enough to fit a singular credit card and a lipstick, the Sac Chiquito isn't exactly what one would call practical. But it's gorgeous so, like, whatever...? The 28-year-old French fashion designer is just starting to get the recognition he deserves, but for those who already knew him knew that the Sac Chiquito was cool way before Rihanna, Dua Lipa or Kim Kardashian wore it. Recognized by its remarkably small size, this bag is still under the radar when it comes to luxury accessories. It's unusual that the Sac Chiquito still remains relatively unknown given that it's at the forefront of the micro-bag trend. Growing in demand, Jacquemus recently debuted his Spring / Summer 2019 collection at Paris Fashion Week where other minuscule bags were seen in hand. Enormous straw bags that were basically as big as the models were also seen on the runway - a clear statement that no matter how hard anyone else tries, no one will ever create a bag smaller or larger than Jacquemus. A normal, practical every day bag? Don't hold your breath - Simon has never heard of her.
JW Anderson Pierce bag
Introduced in the brand's 2016 collection, the Pierce bag by JW Anderson is perhaps the most "known unknown" product from the list. Sans logo, one can recognize the Pierce by its ring detail that resembles, well, a piercing (hence the name). Under the same creative direction as Loewe, Jonathan Anderson has a knack for creating ingenious handbags that only real ones know. Again, if you're the kind of person that can only tell an accessory is designer if it has a logo prominently placed across it, then the Pierce bag is not one you'd be familiar with. Though this bag is definitely increasing in popularity, it's yet to be over done - the Pierce remains one of those accessories that few people actually recognize. With its lack of flash and bling, it's no surprise that the London based brand continues to produce understated pieces that only true fashion-forward individuals really know. Though it has been seen on celebrities including Selena Gomez and Doutzen Kroes, it's yet to take the fashion world by storm. Best to grab one now before you see it on the shoulder of every single person you walk past - time is of the essence.
Shop the Pierce bag here
Cult Gaia Ark tote
If you ever feel like up-and-leaving your busy London life and reinventing in the South of France as an Instagram dream girl that smokes foreign cigarettes, spends her days drinking rosé on patios and wears Chloé summer dress with Jacquemus straw hats then... yes, this bag is an absolute necessity. Without any logo, brand indication, or really anything at all for that matter, the Ark bag is one of the coolest bags around right now. Though it has completely taken over Instagram's explore page and was deemed an It-bag by Glamour, the Ark remains beloved by the cool-girls and unknown to the basic b*tches of the world - thank God. Introduced in 2013 and crafted from bamboo with a half-circle silhouette, this unique bag is also the most affordable accessory on our list. Not only is it rare for an Instagram-brand-accessory to achieve such high success, but it's especially rare if the bag is devoid of any branding. To say the very least, Cult Gaia's Ark tote is just effortlessly cool - plain and simple. Not to mention, environmentally friendly. So who cares if it's popular on Instagram? Cult Gaia remains an underrated brand that has yet to reach super high profile status. Plus, you need it in your life for summer, so ditch your Prada Galleria and join the Cult before it gets too famous.
Simon Miller Bonsai
We know you've definitely seen a knock-off version of this bag in Zara, but do you know the designer who created the original? Of course, die-hard fashion lovers and insiders know Simon Miller, but he's definitely not a super well-known designer. Given the fact that he actually specialized in mens denim, it's rare that a designer who branched out into womenswear and accessories created such an effortlessly cool bag. The Bonsai is another leading piece in the mini-bag trend and depicts no logos or brand indication. The perfect bridge between fashion and function, the Bonsai is both practical as well as stylish. Unlike a bag we've seen before, its unique silhouette and detailing makes this a recognizable piece if you're truly in the know. Given the fact that its so low-key, the Bonsai is a bag you'll have forever. That's the great thing about understated bags - they usually aren't trendy, which is why the fashion victims of the world don't know about them. Effortlessly edgy but also timelessly chic, the Bonsai bag is a piece that every cool-girl needs in her wardrobe. Did we mention how well-priced they are? Starting at £305, the Bonsai also varies in different sizes and colours. So go buy one, you know you need it. Go. Seriously. What are you still doing reading this?
Let's be honest, fashion and trends come and go. That's just the nature of the industry, especially when it comes to handbags and accessories. So if you're not a logo-mania, in-your-face, "look how wealthy I am" kind of woman, we're sure you appreciated this article. Understated products from underrated brands is always the way to go for a number of different reasons; you support original, innovative and up-and-coming designers, you're ahead and above the latest fads, and you're investing in a quality product you will have for life. For all the cool-girls that probably already own the bags listed above, this was just a little reiteration that yes, you are ahead of the game - but you already knew that, didn't you?
By: Isabel de Carteret