Italian fashion journalist Anna Dello Russo once described accessories as the “vitamins” of fashion. Being the backbone of the wardrobe, accessories are daily companions that should offer in two ways: endless versatility and offer a certain something. In addition to appearance, functionality plays a major role.
FashionUnited has selected bag labels where timelessness and attention to detail are ingrained in the design DNA. With craftsmanship, material know-how and a minimalist aesthetic, the brands Sagan, Agneel and Atp Atelier design bags that respond to the times, while resisting the transience of trends.
Sagan – Viennese atmosphere, Japanese influences and know-how
Based in Vienna, the brand was founded in 2016 and has since taken an enduring and timeless approach to design, producing bags that have a recognition factor. The founders, Tanja Bradaric and Taro Ohmae, have Croatian and Japanese roots and are inspired by Viennese flair and Japanese aesthetics.
The brand name, which translates to “the left bank” in Japanese, reflects a sensitivity to individualism and inventive non-conformism. Under the slogan “familiar done differently”, the designer duo create minimalist bags that command attention with refined, handcrafted details. “We believe that for consumers it’s about consciously choosing precious materials and timeless design that doesn’t favor fleeting but lasts a long time,” Bradaric told FashionUnited.
The assortment ranges from small leather bags and accessories to spacious tote bags. Many of Sagan’s customers come from the cultural and creative industries and enjoy the Viennese way of life and local craftsmanship. So, it’s no surprise that Sagan’s best-selling bag right now is the Pazar Book Tote – a large tote bag for everyday use, with a specially designed exterior pocket to hold a book.
“We try to show our customers a world in which the stories of traditions intertwine with timelessness and progressiveness. So with each bag we also pass on a piece of culture,” Bradaric said.
Besides traditional leather, Sagan uses other materials, such as grape leather, a vegan material derived from grape pulp, a waste product from the wine industry.
Sagan mainly works with specialized production facilities in Austria and Japan. “We recognize that the design is heavily influenced by its local resources and production,” Bradaric said. Gaining insight into the manufacturing process is one of the driving factors behind the design duo’s plans to visit production sites more often. They also hope to boost collaborations with specialized local artists.
According to Sagan, respecting the origin of materials is a key factor when it comes to rethinking the fashion industry. Going forward, Sagan is particularly interested in working even more with retailers who understand the Sagan product and convey its values to customers.
Points of sale: Via the Sagan’s online store, in the Berlin department store KaDeWe, as well as in a selection of stores in Japan (Isetan, United Arrows, Urban Research).
Price scale: Handbags are between 300 and 700 euros (approximately between 80 and 590 pounds), small leather goods between 100 and 200 euros (about 80 to 170 pounds).
Contact: Contact details are available on the brand’s website.
Agneel – Versatility, attention to detail and Italian expertise
Berlin bag brand Agneel was founded in 2016 by Yesim Karaman. Karaman’s design language aims to combine form with function. At Agneel, the bag is considered a faithful companion, intended to complement the style of the wearer rather than to dominate it. Agneel’s creative process challenges conventional collecting cycles and trends. Instead, the Berlin-based brand focuses on minimalist design enhanced with details like unusual shapes, leather embossing and eye-catching closures.
Since its inception, the bags have been made in a workshop in the Turkish city of Izmir, but production is now to be transferred to a Florence-based family business that has worked with Agneel since 2021. The leather used at Agneel comes from suppliers certified by the Leather Working Group. The non-governmental organization rates leather manufacturers based on criteria such as water and energy consumption and waste management.
“We’re seeing more and more consumers actively looking for an alternative to fast fashion and valuing products much more when they buy them out of conviction,” Karaman said. Agneel sees “informed customers who know exactly what type of product they want to invest their money in” as the future of sustainable fashion.
The models are created for women who are looking for a bag to take to work in the morning, but which is also suitable for their evening projects. With the launch of the ‘Dena’ square shoulder bag in late 2021, Agneel has created a new customer favourite. Other top-selling designs include ‘Nora’, a crescent-shaped shoulder bag, and ‘Agnes’, a soft-bodied bag.
Agneel is currently working on strengthening her core collection. “However, our goal is not just to design more and more new things. It’s more about identifying gaps and finding out what’s missing in the market for our target group. We then want to design exactly what bag for them,” Karaman said. Agneel is also aiming for greater international brand awareness. To achieve this, the brand wants to collaborate with various retailers around the world in the future, especially with physical stores.
Points of sale: Via Agneel’s own webshop, Freiraum’s webshop and at Ofelia in Berlin.
Price category:The prices for the bags are between 306 and 590 pounds.
Contact: The brand can be reached via its website.
Atp Atelier – Scandinavian design, made in Italy
Atp Atelier was founded in 2010 by Maj-La Pizzelli and Jonas Clason. The brand combines Scandinavian modernity with Italian craftsmanship. Atp Atelier’s bag collections range from large, spacious models to small leather accessories, such as card holders and additional bag straps. In addition to bags, their offer also includes shoe collections.
According to Pizzelli, sustainability was a deciding factor even when the company was founded – but Pizzelli considers more than environmental impact. “It’s also about the relationship we have with the pieces we bring into our lives. It’s about not taking more than you give and really taking care of your stuff, so it lasts a lifetime,” she wrote in a manifesto for the company. Pizzelli coined the term “intelligent luxury” for Atp Atelier. Products must not become obsolete. , and should be appreciated – buying decisions should be driven by reason rather than trends.
All cowhides used at Atp Atelier are vegetable tanned to create the final material from which the bags are made. Vegetable tanning is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the harmful chrome tanning that is still widely used in leather production today.
Going forward, Atp Atelier plans to explore new manufacturing techniques and challenge industry standards – how the label aims to achieve this is not yet clear.
Points of sale: Various online platforms in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, as well as physical points of sale in Scandinavia, Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and in Dubai. Atp Atelier has its own flagship store in Stockholm.
Price scale:The bags weigh between 280 and 600 pounds.
Contact: Contact details are available on the brand’s website.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and editing by: Rachel Douglass.