Best buddy, fashion piece and object of desire. Bags are always more than just useful. Our favourite bag accompanies us on a first date, at work and on trips. In everyday life and on special occasions, it becomes a beautiful part of ourselves. This also applies to men, who increasingly value the ultimate must-have.
Mobile phone, money, keys, sunglasses – everything? Sure. The eternal companion swings loosely over the shoulder and keeps the most important things at hand. And one thing is clear: whether it’s a clutch, body bag, handle bag or weekender, it’s the bag that completes the outfit and is also an expression of the personal lifestyle. What is trendy is not determined by fashion alone. Contemporary and social trends also have an influence on the accessories we prefer to adorn ourselves with.
The handbag as an investment
Who doesn’t know the fuss about the season’s hottest designs? On the big catwalks, brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Hermès, Prada or Louis Vuitton inspire the fashionistas of the world with their fancy It-bags. At least as exciting as the new collections, however, is the development that luxury handbags, like watches and jewellery, are also being traded as investments. Fueled by social media hypes, a market has developed here in which second-hand accessories sometimes record fantastic returns. If you bought a Louis Vuitton “Speedy” in 1980 for the equivalent of 130 euros, today you can demand up to 900 euros for it. And that is only the beginning. The top models of the big fashion houses now fetch prices of 5,000 to 350,000 euros and more.
Favourite pieces in the cycle
“Preloved fashion” is less an investment than a countermovement to “fast fashion”. Here, trendy clothes and accessories are returned to the cycle as second-hand fashion. Individual pieces of sought-after luxury brands are traded as well as favourite pieces of large fashion chains. According to the business magazine Brand Eins, brands such as Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci achieve the highest resale values. Those who always want to be up-to-date but attach less importance to possessions can also rent their favourite bag. The different concepts of the providers range from a single rental – for example for a special event – to a club membership with a monthly flat rate for the latest It-bags. Well-known online portals include FOBE (D), Me To You Bag (CH), RentYourLuxury (Lie), CocoonClub (UK ) or BagToBorrow (USA).
Current bag trends
As popular as the dazzling luxury pieces are for some, as dispensable are they for others. Be it because of the cost, because you simply don’t identify with them or for some other reason. One thing is clear: in order to keep up with the current trends, we don’t necessarily have to fall back on the big names of the fashion and design world, but can choose from a multitude of different suppliers.
It turns out that parts of the fashion world have started to turn a little slower. Changes, such as the noticeable move away from “fast fashion”, are making collections more sustainable and also fashionably durable. As a result, designers are carefully developing their novelties and making them versatile.
Volume or cloud bags, for example, have become absolute classics. The designs are characterised by their soft material and voluminous, puffy shape, as is the case with Gabor Bags. Typical features are quilting, ruffles and a shine that draws the eye.
On the other hand, there is a natural style that is characterised by exciting embellishments with an original touch. Handcrafted whipstitches or braided front pockets, such as on the “Paula” model by Bull & Hunt, look casual and classy at the same time. Long fringes and hard-rock elements like chunky metal chains and eyelets, on the other hand, give the bag a wild, daring look.
Chain bags are both chunky and delicate. Great: if you want to spice up your favourite bag a little, you can achieve a big effect with a new chain at little cost, as with the “TwistTwins” series by Volker Lang.
In terms of shape and volume, on the one hand, spacious models such as oversized and bucket bags are gaining ground. On the other hand, the small, smart body bags have become real favourites among men and women alike. Worn across the body, they dominate the current street scene. Even smaller, but no less chic, are the multifaceted mobile phone bags. As a “clutch for everyday life”, they offer space for all the essentials – and are a wonderfully fashionable gadget at the same time.
Colour, colour, colour!
Relaxed basics and the bag as an eye-catcher: French women are not the only ones who know that it’s the accessories that make the perfect look. Whether the matching bag should be discreet or gaudy may be a question of personal style. But there is no doubt that strong colours make for a strong appearance. Designers unfold a wonderful palette of bright shades for this purpose.
Currently, green is very popular, which embodies autonomy, dignity, hope, nature and the new, emerging life. In addition, brands like Chi Chi Fan inspire with bright colours like yellow and orange, which convey joie de vivre and a spirit of optimism. Good to know: Which colour has which meaning differs from culture to culture. But the world seems to agree on one thing: across the planet, blue is the unbeaten favourite colour – for both men and women.
Also boundlessly in vogue are avant-garde and artisanal designs. Like the “Arcade” shoulder bag by the Berlin bag manufacturer Olbrish. The model, which has won several design awards, is made of horsehair. The striking spring steel fastener ensures that the bag elegantly hugs the twill. In addition to classic colours and designs, the model in highly contemporary green also makes fashion statements.
The “Ballo” model by Hester van Eeghen is anything but ordinary. Designed in the Netherlands and manufactured in Italy, the eye-catcher combines traditional manufacturing art with a contemporary design approach.
The man and his bag
And what about men? Sports bag, briefcase, done? Far from it! Fashion-conscious men are no less choosy about their bags than women. Here is a small selection of current favourite models for the contemporary man:
The crossbody bag is probably the most practical everyday bag for men. Whether hip fanny pack or more classic with a long shoulder strap, these models are well on their way to becoming as normal for men as the eternal backpack. Today, designers are finding many ways to combine them with everything. This applies to everything from tracksuits to tailored suits, which also fit better when the pockets aren’t bulging with mobile phone, bowl waistband and wallet. Well-crafted models made of high-quality natural leather, such as those from Ackermann and Sonnenleder, which gain character by being worn, are popular.
The tote bag, the classic handle bag, is a multi-talent and lies somewhere between a briefcase and a backpack. It’s certainly not every man’s cup of tea – but with the right design it makes a real statement. Similar to the classic briefcase, which is currently escaping its dusty image. Courageous designers are positioning the classic briefcase as a must-have for the gentleman of the new generation.
The tough competition is and remains the backpack. Most recently and since it has established itself as a laptop bag for suit wearers, the backpack has become an indispensable style factor. Fashion-conscious men are happy to spend a little more on chic models made of high-quality leather. The trend here is for very flexible designs that can be worn in different ways – and look stunning at the same time. Like the “Flippety” model by Hester van Eeghen, which can switch between backpack, work bag and shoulder bag.
And of course the travel bag! As if by chance, the model he casually throws over his shoulder goes perfectly with his watch and favourite shoes. The word is out: A chic weekender suggests a man with taste and leisure. Especially popular are bags that last a lifetime and become a bit more beautiful, interesting and valuable with every adventure. Suppliers like Harolds and Sonnenleder deliberately combine sustainability and individuality: the vegetable-tanned, natural leather is only made more beautiful by the patina. Depending on the model, the interior is made of organic cotton or a textile mix of recycled PET.
This automatically leads to another important bag trend: inner beauty. Sustainability is a megatrend that permeates all areas of life. And so the bag, including its ingredients and story, should also fit in with the mindful lifestyle. Aspects such as sustainable materials, environmentally friendly manufacturing methods and traceable origins are increasingly becoming a love factor.
Many young brands are tackling this issue. The start-up Airpaq, for example, processes industrial waste into backpacks and bags. In the meantime, more than 38 tons of car scrap and 17,000 belt buckles have found a second life in around 55,000 Airpaqs. The stylish models are just as far removed from the eco look as the backpacks by XD Design, which are made from recycled PET bottles.
But sustainably beautiful can also mean keeping your favourite high-quality bag forever. Simply because it is the best jewellery and a beautiful part of ourselves.
Title: Ackermann / Aimi / Bull & Hunt / Chi Chi Fan / Hester van Eeghen / Sonnenleder