Isn’t it fun to be contrarian? Every now and then, I think about how the word hipster went from cool to despicable and finally obsolete. But as outdated as the term is, there is still a privately delicious flavour to being ahead of the curve, of knowing a little more than most. And yes, let’s just admit it, a slight feeling of superiority.
But anyway, isn’t that what most fashion is about? Whether consciously or not, you wear things to telegraph a message. The season’s boldest, most recognisable prints are a way to say you’re in the know; being an early adopter of new runway styles confers a kind of savvy cred, and so on.
There is, however, what I like to call a B-side to the world of fashion. It’s the flipside that receives relatively less attention, that takes a little more conscious seeking to discover. These aren’t the super popular designs that make it onto highly curated advertising campaigns. As tempting and eye-catching as those headlining designs (what the business dubs “key styles”) are, it can be even more tantalising to dig a little deeper. A closer look at a label’s offerings can often yield excellent finds that aren’t as obvious. And there’s a special satisfaction that comes from wearing and carrying things that aren’t as easily identified.
Clothing speaks a subtle, nuanced language that takes more time to nail. Accessories, however, have a directness all of their own. And bags are perhaps the most immediately noticeable. Which makes them a great place to start introducing this spirit of appreciating contrary, lesser-known designs. Here’s my selection of hidden gems from the biggest names around.