When Eddie Borgo decided to create handbags, the New York–based jewelry designer knew one element he wouldn’t incorporate: conical studs. It may come as a surprise that Borgo, who has specialized in edgy chic since founding his eponymous line seven years ago, isn’t giving his customers bags to match their pavé cone bracelets—at this point, practically a wardrobe requirement for creative-industry types. But avoiding the obvious was Borgo’s goal. “I didn’t just want to cover them in cones and call it a day,” he says.
For Borgo, who studied art history at New York City’s Hunter College, inspiration comes from street culture and the ideology of the postpunk movement as well as modern sculpture. For his new category debut, Borgo turned his attention to his grandmother’s pocketbooks and the minimal yet futuristic aesthetic of midcentury American automobiles, specifically the Phantom Corsair, a long, sleek fastback coupe prototype built in 1938. His five multitasking styles include the Vic, a sleek metal minaudière that can be carried in a removable leather cross-body sleeve during the day, and the Colt cross-body, which has multiple strap options that allow it to also function as a top-handle bag or a clutch. “The idea was to create hybrids between attaché cases, portfolios, briefcases, and evening bags,” Borgo says. “You almost want to believe that they’re from the 1950s, but because of the attention to detail and the engineering, you know immediately that they’re not.”
Since he began drawing up plans for the bags two years ago, Borgo has attended a number of industrial design conferences. “Everyone else there is from the biomedical field, or they create microchips,” the designer says with a chuckle. He’s also gone deep into 3-D printing, and sees his point of difference from more established accessories lines as the ability to do rapid prototyping. “Now I can realize something in a pencil sketch and hand it off to one of my designers to move it into a 3-D rendering,” Borgo says. “We have it printed overnight in our MakerBot machine, and we’re able to try it out the next day.” It was through this new technology that the 38-year-old discovered that using aluminum in the bags’ hardware, rather than the traditional brass, made their weight so light as to be inconsequential—a good thing for the woman who carries her phone, tablet, wallet, keys, and lipstick with her almost all the time. (Borgo also made a sleek Love compact, with room for all the necessities, to complement the lineup.)