By  on October 18, 2017

Vera Bradley, best known for handbags and colorful, floral-patterned cotton quilted styles, this week showed an expanded assortment for spring 2018 at its Fifth Avenue showroom, reflecting ongoing efforts to evolve into a lifestyle collection."The biggest story for spring and summer is really our totes," said Harry Cunningham, vice president of creative services for the brand.For a touch of versatility, some of the totes are in canvas with glitter, so they double as beach bags or handbags, and totes with matching flip-flops are offered.Also new for next year: mini cross-bodies with drawstrings, "snack box" bags to carry wallets and mobile phones, and updated patterns on hard-side luggage."The other big story is beach-related travel-like backpacks," Cunningham said. Previously, only school backpacks were offered.Beach towels are another key category, and licensed products are a growing percentage of the business, with more swimsuit styles and colors for next year including one and two-piece suits and cover-ups. Swim is licensed to Mainstream Swimsuits Inc.Among other licensed products, scrubs are manufactured through a licensing agreement with CID Resources; phone cases are licensed to Incipio Technologies; sunglasses are from The McGee Group; Vera Bradley bedding is created through a partnership with Peking Handicrafts, and hosiery is from Renfro Corp.The brand is also innovating for functionality. Duffel bags, for example, convert to garment bags, and luggage flattens for easy storage.

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