Emerging handbag brand Coming of Age, or COA for short, is branching out to clothes and shoes — hoping to create an easy uniform for harried times.
The label, founded in 2019 by Brooklynite Amanda Lurie, was quickly snapped up by stockists like Need Supply, Assembly, No.6 and Ron Herman Japan. But as the retail marketplace shrinks and evolves, Lurie — formerly of Priscavera and Coach — is looking to take matters into her own hands.
COA has attracted a cult following for its minimal refined shapes, like a signature elongated lunch-bag style, fabricated in lush materials, like iridescent taffetas and organic Japanese nylons.
But shoppers — now with few places to peacock — have lost interest in the kind of eye-candy handbags that COA traded in. Thus, Lurie took this season as a moment to reset and design a range of bags that suits the climate. This challenge is one that many independent brands face — remaining as relevant as they were only six months ago, a time when people still shopped and dressed for sport.
“During COVID-19, I have thought about how I’m an accessories brand and a lot of people are not going out and wearing statement bags. That’s why people bought my bags because they have an eye-catching print and are iridescent. So I thought, ‘OK, no one is really wearing that now so how can I make accessories for this time?’ This collection is more about function, things you can wear in any way,” Lurie said.
“I know people are wearing just tote bags and going grocery shopping — maybe they are outside in nature with backpacks and tote bags — so it was about making stuff for that. Waterproof bags that you can put your water bottle and bathing suit in,” Lurie added of the shift in her design process.
Reversible totes, putty-colored cross-body bags, an oversized hobo style and a drawstring knapsack (priced from $150 to $300 retail) are Lurie’s answer for nonchalant, functional bags for these times.
They will be part of a new direct-sales strategy marketed via the COA web site. While the brand will continue its wholesale distribution strategy in markets like Japan — where it has the most points of sale — Lurie is keen on driving U.S. sales through her brand’s own site.
This streamlining has also enabled her to branch out into other product categories. The designer is launching a line of a-gendered trousers, tops and vests, produced in her signature gingham taffeta as well as new technical fabrications. Ditto for an abbreviated range of slippers, clogs and flip-flops — all made to be easily mixed and matched as a utilitarian work-from-home wardrobe. Shoes and clothes have been priced from $200 to $300 retail.
Lurie sees her line as a uniform that can maneuver between loungewear, and clothes for quick runs out of the house, say to the grocery store or a stroll in the park, fitting the kinds of jaunts that now comprise many urban dwellers’ daily lives.
“It’s all easy to throw on, there is a comfort and versatility. The fabrics are durable and even though the shoes are made in silk, they have rubber soles and cushiony footbeds. The pants and shorts have elastic in the back so they are roomy and you can wear at different places on the waist. Every piece I see as workwear but minimal and clean,” Lurie said of the line’s new functionality.
“The idea is just to have people think less about what they wear. The whole idea of the uniform is to be more sustainable. You are wearing one thing and switching it up to wear it in different ways to feel good in it,” she said.