The Sixth Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards with Canadian Stephanie Wacey

One of the things about having a decent social media footprint is that people try to connect with you. This is good when it comes to work but often it’s with things that I don’t cover. Then earlier this week, Stephanie Wacey contacted me about the Sixth Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA). I’d heard about it but never really paid any attention but you know I like to support Canadian design if I think it’s interesting. Yes, arbitrary criteria, I know. Stephanie is one of 30 finalists, and the only Canadian, selected from more than 1,000 submissions from 28 countries to compete for audience favourite. Stephanie’s bag is also competing in the sub-category of Singer Simplicity Best Made Handbag – “made by hand, machine sewn, crocheted or knitted.” Voting is open until June 6thand the winner gets their bag featured in InStyle magazine and carried by Saks.

Clock Bag by Stephanie Wacey. Photo from, one of the official sponsors

Stephanie studied at Ryerson where she took an elective course in accessories design and made her first leather accessories. As she told me via email, “I fell in love with working with the material. At the same time, I was interning with Yolanda Ng Couture who used fine fabrics and a lot of leather.

“I would always make my own outfits and accessories to match for when going out. During Ryerson I interned. Then upon finishing my studies, I worked in different positions: juniors clothing, bridal magazine, bridal gowns but wasn’t in love. One summer I worked as a Merchandise Associate to the handbag buyers at Holt Renfrew and from that point on all I could think about was handbags.”

So why a clock bag? It turns out like other designers before her, Stephanie was inspired by New York. “I designed my clock bag in 2009. I got inspired to make this bag from Alice in the Wonderland tiles in the subway at the 50th street stop in New York City. The Mr Rabbit in the story was always late and on the go. I feel like NYC everyone is also on the go. The Clock bag would be something Alice needs if she was living in this modern day.”

Here is Stephanie’s video as part of her entry.

Clock Bag from 5teffy on Vimeo.

Editor’s note: The release says voting ends on June 6 but @handbagdesigner (on Twitter) has been saying June 8. Apart from the fact that it’s sloppy, I’m going with the release until I hear otherwise.

Update: It’s been confirmed that the contest ends at midnight on June 8.

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