Monday, May 21, 2012

Fashion Flashback: the mini backpack

I know I was guilty of owning one, but something I really hated from the early 90s was those tiny backpacks that came into fashion.

They seemed to be a replacement for handbags, but I can’t begin to tell you how ridiculous they looked. I was a kid at the time, so perhaps I can be excused. It may have simply looked like a child-sized bag. It was kind of woven material and this black and white geometric pattern. I think I liked it at the time, but now I do not remember it so fondly.

But this trend wasn’t limited to pre-teens. And now the resurgence of 90s fashion has taken a turn for the worse and now I’ve seen adults in the year 2012 sporting these things.

If you need a reminder, this is what you got. Inanely long straps that left your mini backpack sagging like old lady boob flung over the shoulder. Sure backpacks are super handy. But they are also a pleasantly presented target to pick-pockets. Most of these bags had drawstring pulls to close them, and then a flat over the top, usually attached by Velcro. The larcenist’s dream. Non-waterproof material – meaning you couldn’t carry anything that had a chance of getting soggy (which in those days included paper money). And because you could fit very little in there, you received a jandal like slap on the back with every step, thanks to your insecure strappage.

Function – hardly. Form – barely. So what was the point?

And what is the point still, now that I have seen some of these unfortunate characters flopping around town.

Yes we have all enjoyed the 90s flashback fashion. But recycling styles is about taking the good and reinvigorating it for the new decade. And forgetting the bad. Sometimes, there’s just nothing to be salvaged.

Then, some of my favourite fashion crazies, the Olsens deux, put out this monstrosity from their label The Row. And at US$39,000 you might think that people would give it a miss, but the alligator skin back pack flew off the shelves.

Trickle-down effect ensues. And although you won’t be seeing alligator skin versions in New Zealand any time soon, you might start spotting leather or (god forbid) canvas options in stores near you.

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