Shop: Fashion’s Love Affair With Affordable It Bags

Not too long ago, the opportunity cost of investing in an It bag would be on the spectrum of a vacation, maybe two month’s rent for your apartment, or even a secondhand car in certain country codes. In 2013, Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel proved that a bag du jour could cost but a fraction of that — just about the price of an iPhone then.

An unassuming—but every bit beautifully crafted—bucket bag put the abbreviation Mansur on everyone’s lips and spawned never-ending waitlists. Never mind that the duo didn’t have the sacred past of a couture name, the gold standard of its atelier or weight of a household logo. Their vegetable-tanned accessory still galvanised (lots and lots of) people—from fashion insiders to the girl next door, Moschino lovers to die-hard Philophiles—to fall in virtual line for a chance to bag a piece. But we’re not here to unpack the Mansur recipe; we’re here to shop its aftermath.

Since their affordable It bag’s meteoric rise, more have come to the fore on the collective arm of the street style set. These days at fashion week, amidst glimpses of Loewe Gates, Chloé Cs and Chanel Side-Packs: London-based designer Rejina Pyo and Bulgarian label By Far’s mock-exotic finishes in polished shapes; Bangkok-based brand BOYY’s signature buckle and clean lines; Hong Kong label Cafuné’s jewellery-meets-bag proposition and; the London-based Danse Lente’s off-kilter silhouettes.
Danse Lente Johnny mini leather bag, US$364 (approximately S$500). 
Danse Lente Johnny mini leather bag, US$364 (approximately S$500).
BOYY Romeo calfskin bag, US$875 (approximately S$1,200).
BOYY Romeo calfskin bag, US$875 (approximately S$1,200).

It’s not just the mushrooming of affordable accessories labels that are changing the game. Just like Pyo—a clothing designer who expanded her offering only after making her mark—ready-to-wear darlings the likes of Jacquemus and Y/Project (as with Alexander Wang) have figured out the hook: palatable price points, quality construction and directional designs.

By our books, the best picks don’t just look good while safekeeping your belongings—like any icon of style worth their salt, they’re conversation starters too. Here, pick your poison while going easy on the pocket.

Y/Project Accordian leather shoulder bag, S$885.
Y/Project Accordian leather shoulder bag, S$885.

Click on the image captions to shop.