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RICKY VIGIL M / JUSTIN E PALMER//GETTY IMAGES

The A-List Are Obsessed With This Affordable Bag Brand

From Hailey Bieber to Emma Stone, half of Hollywood are carrying one of these minimalist shoulder styles

BY ROBERTA SCHROEDER

PUBLISHED: 22 MARCH 2024

The affordable bag market might be booming, but it’s not often a mid-range hero makes it into the arms of the A-list: never mind, half of Hollywood. Yet emerging name Aupen has somehow managed to sneak into the everyday wardrobes of everyone from Hailey Bieber to Olivia Rodrigo, without a single starry ad campaign or high-profile designer fuelling the hype.

Designed by a mysteriously unnamed design collective based across the US and Singapore, Aupen is the contemporary accessories label worth knowing now. The hype began (as many things do) with one of the Kar-Jenners: when Kylie wore the brand’s curved Fearless bag last November, it promptly sold out and sparked a miles-long waiting list. In the months that followed, Taylor Swift was seen carrying the slouchier, supple Nirvana (twice!) and Selena Gomez took the sparkle-soaked Purpose Ice to the VMAs afterparty. Emily Blunt and Jennifer Lawrence have been photographed with more than one Aupen design, while Hailey Bieber carried the Purpose in black to her glittering Rhode launch party in London.

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COURTESY OF AUPEN

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COURTESY OF AUPEN

The Aupen appeal does make sense: the brand creates contemporary yet versatile pieces from traceable leather, using meat industry byproduct and scraps of reclaimed crocodile skin from tanneries that supply the world’s biggest luxury houses. Speaking to the modern minimalist dresser, there are no in-your-face logos or flash-in-the-pan gimmicks, and the prices are surprisingly affordable.

According to the brand, there’s not one but three designs they’re currently struggling to keep in stock: the Fearless Re-Edition (thanks, Kylie) the Purpose, and the Nirvana. 'They all have their unique charm,' a member of the design collective tells me over email. 'The Nirvana and Fearless Re-Edition are roomy, functional and versatile everyday bags that fit all your day-time essentials, from your phone to your make-up, while the Purpose – with its striking angular silhouette – is your best friend for a girls’ night out.'

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COURTESY OF AUPEN

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NEIL MOCKFORD / RICKY VIGIL M // GETTY IMAGES

So far so impressive, but how do these bags hold up in reality? On first impression, the quality is clear to see: the Fearless is strong, structured and boxy, with a chunky gold zip and full cotton lining (something many mid-range bags neglect in the name of cost-cutting). There’s just enough space to fit the essentials – including your sunglasses if the case is slim enough – and the small slip pocket is ideal for a bank card. During its first outing (to the office and then onto a Soho dinner) my deep red version was quite the star of the show, garnering comments from half a dozen people – all of whom assumed it was much more expensive than the pleasing price tag.

For something more supple, consider the Nirvana. This one’s your slouchy, softer sidekick, with a chunky braided handle and detachable gold metal tag swinging from the side. The attention to detail really is impressive (no wonky stitching in store here) and the fine-grain leather is beautifully soft. It makes a great companion for off-duty days, but the petite size makes it suited to evening occasions too.

And for the party animals? The Purpose Ice, with its cascading fringe of crystals, far belies its modest price tag and will elevate every special-occasion look, from the old-faithful jeans and tee to one of the new season’s sheer dresses for those seriously big nights out.

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This article was sincerely referred from Elle.

You can read the original article here.

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