Brandon Blackwood is the latest “it brand” for 2021. Named after Brooklyn designer, BB bags are slowly taking over!
Blackwood’s approach to designing his bags is rooted in his upbringing and support from his inner circle. “Whenever I make a bag, I always ask myself, will my cousins wear this? Will my best friends wear this? Will my grandma possibly wear this? I think that’s the foundation for any bag design,” Blackwood says. And he’s right. If you browse through his webshop, you’ll see there’s a bag for everyone: a nylon puffer mini tote, a large premium vegan leather tote, a trunk-style bag with the Brandon Blackwood logo in silver hardware—all of which are available in various colors and standout prints. “It’s always the best feeling ever when I see the IG stories and get tagged. It’s all different types of people saying, ‘You know, I’ve never been a handbag person, I’ve never liked handbags, I never wear handbags, but I saw this and it made sense.’ That was always the goal: to make something that was beautiful, but practical at the same time.”
But Blackwood didn’t always see the success he has now. When he started out, stores turned him down left and right. “I was a young brand with promise, but my branding was too ‘Black,’” he recalled in a 2020 Forbes interview. “My imagery was predominantly Black. My aesthetic and content spoke to a Black audience. Buyers couldn’t connect or see the value in that.” But that narrative has changed. The current social and political climate has forced consumers and retailers to re-evaluate where they spend their dollars. Consumers are more eager to support and buy from local, BIPOC brands that have a mission and cultivate culture.
Since the success of the ESR tote, Brandon Blackwood, like many other Black-owned brands, has become a safe space for the community. “We’re all stuck in this whirlwind together, so I always try to make sure the brand is here for the culture,” the designer says. “We’re here to promote the culture and the culture is the foundation for it.”
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