324 New York, a new line of handbags that debuted this past May, wants to give you lots of options. Thanks to features like interchangeable straps and add-on pouches, each is kind of like a (very top-of-the-line) toy, with a buy-less, get-more incentive.
Founder Bike Bayer, a graduate of Pratt Institute, left her career at a boutique fashion and beauty advertising agency to start the line. She conceived of the idea at 3:24 a.m. (get it?) during a late-night closet overhaul in which she realized how many of her old bags were just sitting around collecting dust. According to the brand’s site, this inspired the idea for bags that “change and evolve like we do.” The company officially launched this spring with four main styles, which are designed in New York and crafted in Bayer’s hometown of Istanbul using high-end Turkish and Italian leather.
The box ($425) is Bayer’s favorite, a small rectangle bag with ladylike double handles, a front pocket, and a longer crossbody strap. The tote ($445) does not have the option for interchangeable pouches, but is billed as three bags for the price of one, with two detachable pouches and a chain strap included. (The chain strap and pouches combine for an on-the-go wristlet.) Colors range from punchy red and neutral gray leather to hunter green and millennial pink.
The mini ($320) and the midi ($420) are the the most straightforward illustrations of the interchangeability concept. “You can buy a red bag now and then get a pouch in a different color in the fall and change the whole vibe of your bag,” Bayer notes. Some pouches are also offered in suede, which allows for a mixed-texture look.
But it gets even more fun when you start shopping for alternate straps — there are grommeted straps, studded straps, and candy-striped, color-blocked options in that category. With a price range of $75 to $90, though, the very obvious truth is that there are certainly bags cheaper than one of the 324 straps, but the case for versatility (and also, just fun) is strong.
The moment feels right for 324 New York thanks to the growing obsession with all things “personalized.” If your millennial pink pouch is starting to feel passé, there'll always be another swappable pouch in the color du jour.