Signal Brands & The Handbag Awards Announce the ‘Signal Brands Collective’

Signal Brands and The Handbag Awards join forces in creating the Signal Brands Collective, the first-ever handbag designer incubator. Launching in February 2023, the Signal Brands Collective is a 15-week program where the cohort of five selected independent handbag designers will be educated, guided, and mentored by IHDA Founder Emily Blumenthal. With the support of Signal Brands’ team and resources, designers will create their”hero bag” mini collection of three silhouettes consisting of a Tote, Satchel, and Crossbody, and will be provided a brand roadmap to have their bags retail-ready on a larger scale.

Signal Brands, a manufacturer and distributor of globally-renowned fashion brands licensed for handbags, small leather goods, luggage, and travel accessories, has been a long-time supporter of The Independent Handbag Awards. “The goal of the Signal Brands Collective is to find talented designers and give them the opportunity to learn about retail expectations, develop a product that can sell on a larger scale, and also give back to the handbag designer community,” says Jason Rimokh, CEO of Signal Brands. “We have partnered with the IHDA and Emily, and believe that it’s the talent of these handbag designers that truly impact the industry.”

Emily Blumenthal who has been often referred to as “The Handbag Fairy Godmother,” and is also the Author of “Handbag Designer 101,” Founder of The Handbag Awards and National Handbag Designer Day, has been a long-time advocate and voice of the independent handbag designer and has helped unknown brands garner placement into Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. “After 15 years of The Handbag Awards, and teaching Fashion Marketing at Parsons The New School for Design, and Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Technology, it was the logical step to create the ‘Signal Brands Collective’ incubator,” Blumenthal says. “Signal Brands’ commitment to working with us through the IHDA made them a logical partner of nurturing talent where designers will create a collection via Signal Brands that will allow their brand to be available to a larger audience.”

The first cohort of designers selected for the Signal Brands Collective are IHDA Winners, Jeff Wan, Ivana Curic, and Marija Curic of Curic & Curic; and Valèrie Blaise of Vavvoune, Sade Mims of edas, and Shaquita Garcia of AART NYC.

About Signal Brands:

Signal Brands is a global leader in the design, manufacture, distribution, and sales of licensed fashion women’s handbags, small leather goods, and luggage. Signal Brands is a vertically integrated organization paying constant attention to research and development, design innovation, and adaptation to market changes. Tailored focuses on customer satisfaction is the important objective of the wholesale and retail distribution for each brand. The philosophy of Signal Brands is to champion long-term partnerships through a comprehensive licensing experience—from inspiration, concept, and design to production, sales, and marketing. Follow Signal Brands at and @signalbrands.

About The Handbag Awards:

Founded in 2007 by Emily Blumenthal, the Independent Handbag Designer Awards celebrates handbag design and talent from the United States and across the globe. Now in its fifteenth year, it is an industry staple and is the only international design competition to discover, recognize and amplify unknown independent handbag designers and give them the opportunity to become acclaimed brands. Follow The Handbag Awards at, and @HandbagDesigner.

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