I sometimes experience it as a ghostly limb rubbing against my side as I go around the home. As I flit from room to room, I feel it tucked in the crook of my elbow. It served as the temporary storage location for everything I once held to be immediately important, including my purse, receipts, identification, charger, books, tissues (both new and used), a flask, tampons, and a business card for that delicious but affordable Italian restaurant from a few months ago.
It was what? Of course, my amazingly large yet nevertheless sleek purse.
Balenciaga’s black leather with gold hardware bag, which I purchased on sale, was the one I preferred. I used to never leave home without it. As a result of Covid-19, I now hardly ever leave home. Since months ago, I haven’t carried my bag.
If one wants to categorize accessories at present, masks are it. The tote (or clutch) looks like a thing of the past, collecting dust on closet shelves and bedroom nooks. But will our clothes remain this way forever? Will the sack reanimate, or not?
Ana Kinsella, a freelance copywriter in London, has mostly depended on her pockets for supply collecting during her daily lockdown walks.
Before contracting the coronavirus, she explains, her purse served more as a place to hold things together than as a means of transportation. Instead of being crammed in one location, the lockdown has caused the opposite: that continually accumulating garbage is now carelessly dispersed across the house. She continues, “I no longer know where everything is.”
After a late-night Zoom hen party for which she had dressed up, Kinsella recalls being inebriated and making her way to the end of her street for a smoke. Even though she didn’t truly need it, she grabbed her most expensive bag—a little, vivid orange leather satchel—on the way out.
She explains, “Even if no one can see my purse, I owe it to the ensemble to carry one with me.”
Because she served as the creative director of Marc by Marc Jacobs and provided consulting services to several luxury businesses, Katie Hillier is more knowledgeable than most about leather products. Her work at the defunct British company Luella, which she joined in 1999, had a role in developing the “It” bag craze in the early 2000s.
According to Hillier, “the work tote was always the focus.” “Now, what is that? The bag you carry to the market, the grocery store, or while on a march is the work-from-home tote, not your backpack or the bag that fits on your bike.
She saw that individuals had been perfecting the details of their routines during a lockdown, such as their favourite shopping route or the best outdoor exercise, and that they would likely now buy with these in mind. The functionality will be even more crucial than before, according to her.
She foresees a market for creative canvas totes coated with a waterproof material or cross-body backpacks with adjustable straps for cycling or trekking — “geeky things like that.”
According to Cassie Smart, director of womenswear procurement at MatchesFashion, “practical lifestyle designs like as canvas totes” like Rue De Verneuil, whose structured canvas bags cost more than $200 (£160), have already experienced an increase in sales.
According to Hillier, she had hoped that buying bags in the future would be “less about bags as a status thing.”
Some individuals may have discovered that they truly prefer spending time at home and that there are other things they can spend their money on, she adds.
According to recent McKinsey research, sales of clothing and accessories have decreased by 35–39% due to shop closures. In recent months, some moulds have typically been spent on bags instead of bicycles. According to the NPD Group, countrywide sales of bicycled associated services in the US increased by over double in March compared to the previous month. Large leather bags are not a good idea for cycling since anything too long swings forward and gets stuck between the legs, making pedalling difficult. Shoulder styles also run the danger of falling.
Bags are also useless during demonstrations, which have become more prevalent worldwide. During the most recent protests, backpacks or bumbags were often seen on guests’ bodies.
There were also few handbags as demonstrators marched through upscale shops in several locations. Gucci, Chloé, Louis Vuitton, and other brands nervous about the turmoil had withdrawn goods, leaving their typically opulent window displays barren. When Vuitton decided to launch a massive influencer campaign for its new bag, the LV Pont 9, in late May, despite the escalating turmoil, the decision was criticized on social media as being tone-deaf.
The Museum at FIT’s Colleen Hill, a curator of costume and accessories, asserts that there is historical evidence connecting handbag changes to societal changes. The author claims that that notion dates back to at least the early 20th century when women started carrying purses that included things like cosmetics, cigarettes, a wallet, and keys. All of them demonstrated the increasing freedoms enjoyed by women in public life.
For instance, Chanel’s 2.55, which included several compartments and a long shoulder strap, “reflected Chanel’s own, but hugely influential, design approach that mixed functionality with great flair,” according to Hill.
Hill claims that another similar change is now anticipated. As a resident of New York, she adds, “I often carry a huge bag that will store everything I need for the whole day, including my iPad or a book, headphones, some cosmetics, my water bottle, and sometimes a spare pair of shoes.” “Since I’ve moved closer to home, I can get away with carrying smaller, more useful baggage.”
She has been using a stylish black leather satchel she bought on Etsy years ago since it is understated and appropriate for the situation.
The importance of appropriateness cannot be overstated. Traditionally, bags have been a financial lifeline for fashion companies, supporting ready-to-wear sales and acting as a form of promotion owing to their branding. It’s uncertain if this will still be the case, given the crisis and the resulting change in public perceptions of large business and wealth disparity.
According to Hillier, “I believe people are getting rather confused about what they ought to purchase and what they should avoid. They are considering the origin of the materials and their environmental friendliness. According to her prediction, people will be eager to “shop to support,” conserving their money for companies that match their beliefs.
For instance, Tree Fairfax, a small independent brand with roots in Virginia, garnered multiple social media shout-outs in the recent initiative to support black-owned companies for its handcrafted leather items that are, according to the company’s website, created for “moving about gently.”
Tricia Hash, the company’s owner, said that she was too overwhelmed by racism and concerned about her son, who was still working as a delivery driver without personal protective equipment, to speak about leather products when asked how the current climate was affecting handbag trends. It seems to be the key point.
Later, I carried my previous favourite bag for a stroll around the house to recall what had formerly been so significant. We strolled back and forth between the living area and the bedroom. I was taken back in time to a period of commutes, hustling, air travel, post-work cocktails, and a laptop buried in leather under the table after weeks of living bagless, hands-free, and with my belongings weighing down my bicycle basket rather than my shoulders. All of a sudden, everything seemed so weighty.