Amy Steele, a local designer, has won first place in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards. Steele’s Festival Belt Bag was one of five finalists in the “Cutting Edge Bag” category. Over 1,500 submissions by designers from 28 different countries were submitted, and Steele’s design was chosen.

Steele announced this week that she had won on her Facebook page. This is the second time one of Steele’s designs has been a finalist, back in 2015 she was a finalist in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York City.

Steele doesn’t have any formal fashion training, but comes from a long line of sewers. Her grandmother was a dressmaker and designer, and her mother is an accomplished quilter, designer and teacher. Each Amy Steele bag is handmade in North Bay in a studio overlooking Trout Lake, and for more information you can go to Steele’s website: www.amysteelebags.com.