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

Maxine Eggenberger
·5-min read

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.


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.

S.Joon Tulip Leather Tote in Emerald (£425)

S.Joon Teardrop Leather Tote in Grey (£335)

S.Joon Tulip Large Leather Tote in Cream (£585)


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.

C.Nicol Evie Barrel Bag (£345)

C.Nicol Holly Mini Bucket Bag (£299)

C.Nicol Rosa Tote (£499)


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.

Aesther Ekme Pouch Leather Bag (£235)

Aesther Ekme Demi Lune Bag (£350)

Aesther Ekme Origami Leather Shoulder Bag (£350)


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.

Khaite Agnes Small Suede Bag (£1590)

Khaite Aimee Suede Clutch (£1070)

Khaite Circle Tote Bag (£1440)


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.

Agneel Nora Shoulder Bag in Cream (£680)

Agneel Zoe Bag in Beige (£340)

Agneel Nora Shoulder Bag in Burgundy (£680)


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…

Roop Furoshiki Bag in Green Glitter (£75)

Roop Furoshiki Bag in Polka Dot (£75)

Roop Furoshiki Bag in Gold Glitter (£75)


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

Polène No. 9 Bag (£310)

Polène No. 8 Bag (£270)

Polène No. 7 Bag (£320)


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.

The Sant Kinchaku Mini Leather Tote (£405)

The Sant Furoshiki Leather Tote (£340)

The Sant Kinchaku Bag in Tan (£395)


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.

Mashu Rivera Bag (£320)

Mashu Amaryllis Leopard (£290)

Mashu Sophia Emerald Bag (£220)


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

Elleme Madeleine Pale Yellow Leather Bag (£335)

Elleme Long Vague Black Leather Bag (£390)

Elleme Baguette Crocodile-Effect Shoulder Bag (£465)


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.

Coperni Swipe Mini Leather Shoulder Bag in Grey (£380)

Coperni Swipe Leather Tote (£475)

Coperni Swipe Mini Leather Shoulder Bag in Ecru (£377)


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.

Jeenaa Jiyo Black Bag (£76)

Jeenaa Trapezium Brown Bag (£38)

Jeenaa Jeele Stone Bag (£68)


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.

Bonastre Brick Bag (£352)

Bonastre Brasilia Bag (£440)

Bonastre Hand Brut (£605)

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

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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