August 29 2014

styledotcom "They're fun and whimsical." @MaryKatrantzou liberates the letter sweater:

Subscribe to Style Magazine

Yea, Nay, Or Eh: The Return Of The Backpack


You know what I’d like? A locker. Wouldn’t it be great to have someplace convenient to stow your stuff—gym clothes, a pair of flats, some Balance bars, that copy of Infinite Jest you’ve been nibbling at on the subway? That’d lighten the load. I’d also like to receive an allowance for doing my chores: washing dishes, making the bed, taking out the garbage. And while I’m at it, I’d like my mom to cook dinner for me every night, and for my best friend to find out if the boy I like likes me, too. Alas, if I can’t reclaim my misspent youth, at least I can console myself with a backpack. They are, apparently, in vogue—Opening Ceremony and J.Crew are stocking backpacks from Swedish maker Fjällräven; Chloë Sevigny’s new unisex range for Opening Ceremony features backpacks; and, as WWD noted yesterday, backpacks showed up on several of the men’s Spring ’10 runways—a good harbinger of trends to come, alongside the fact that I’ve been seeing hipster kids on the Lower East Side toting middle school-style all summer. As usual, I ask myself—what gives? Why backpacks, why now? Personally, I found junior high to be kind of a drag. Awkward growth spurts, algebra, a constant terror of running afoul of the popular crowd, and so on. It seems like this experience is relatively universal, so maybe this whole backpack thing is a symptom of the recession. Maybe everyone style-minded has decided, en masse, that they can’t afford any more visits to the chiropractor. In any case, I’ve decided I’m all for this trend, as long as the pack I get to carry is one of the styles designed by Assembly owner Greg Armas. His new store brand—reported on last week by our brother site—has unisex appeal, and the backpacks, which come in materials such as waxed raffia and cashmere, are indubitably cool. What do you think? Up with the comfort of a double-strap bag, or down with any trend that leads in the direction of the Trapper Keeper? Comments, please.

Photo: Courtesy of Assembly



  1. Falena says:

    Backpacks are wonderfully utilitarian, and far more comfortable than purses and sacs. I think the idea of making them attrictive and unisex drives their mass appeal up a few notches.

  2. imgn says:

    cool kids have been wearing backpacks pretty exclusively for the past couple years now. I’m surprised it took so long for the copycat reflex to reach “fashion.” But I guess that’s kinda the beauty of a “trend” like that — it’s so basic and obvious that it’s hard to make a gimmick out of it, though clearly they’re all trying. My favorite: pure white AMerican Apparel with red zipper. Washes easy and looks sharp.

  3. nosilla_87 says:

    I think that backpacks are only somewhat interesting. It normally screams ‘drug dealer’ to me, which is just scheisty. Cute little clutches that can just float under an arm are fine, because it means that one has the ability to prioritize !

  4. Valerio says:

    I don’t like backpacks at all, in Europe you see them everywhere. They are not fashionable and what disturbed me the most is that not only youngsters have them but also the older ones. People in their 50s or 60s, they walk around with these backpacks if it seems normal, actually they fool themselfs. They wanna be modern but they make a fool out of themself. Especially the older ladies, have to wear a handbag if it is from an unknown brand or one of Gucci or Louis Vuitton. That is what fashion is all about not a backpack. But okay I’m maybe a little bit to conservative in these things. But if I walk down the street I wanna see stylish, fashionable and trendy woman. Not a woman with a dress of whatever brand with a backpack. A backpack is deadly for a dresscode, if you wear Valentino and wear also a backpack, then the dress or whatever is immediatly ruined by it. I know the average people in the streets of whatever city don’t even care about fashion or how they dress themself up. We in the industry have a big task to convince them to do so. It makes live more pleasant if you see woman/man well dressed, then the other way around.

  5. NotMod says:

    Ever sweat through your favorite shirt in one of those? Good way to carry unusual loads once in a while (btw. when do you do that?)… However, I’d be happy if someone came up with a better way for that function too – for camping, that is.
    Backpack in town? Sure, if you’re playing naughty-nice using your fifteen years (or more) old school fashions as a prop. That is, if you have been wearing a backpack in high school or so – so make their mind about this unfaltering carry-on quite early.
    Just a thought…

  6. DIYANE says:

    I love the Idea, I have mine 5 years ago, I like it I personized it with different material, and it’s really pratical.

  7. Falena says:

    I’m a 21 year old girl and I recently gave up on purses and pocketbooks.

    Backpacks are so much more utilitarian and, (if worn properly) they’re a lot easier on your back and shoulders.

    It’s great to see designers making packs unisex and crafting them out of finer materials. As much as I love my backpack, the polyester, rayon and plastic does tend to class with my outfit on occasion.

  8. SarahV says:

    Flying higher, those backpacks are hideous.
    And I completely disagree with Valerio – isn’t everything in fashion “deadly for a dresscode” if worn badly? Styled well, I think a backpack could be playful chic.

  9. shawanda says:

    Utility schmutility. Backpacks are fine for children. Adults should carry grown-up bags.

  10. Valerio says:

    SarahV, you can completely disagree with me, I respect that but if you see a man or woman in their 60s with a backpack, I have my doubts about their fashion taste. And my dear NO not everything in fashion is deadly for a desscode, but thats something you as a fashionista have to figure out, I know it already. And that a backpack ever will be play a role in the HC or RTW (fashion) shows I’m sorry to say NO. It’s a good tool for college or high school girls but (in my opinion) not for businesman/woman and older people. It’s devestating for their image.

  11. niconovito says:

    As a male college student, I find backpack very helpful, especially when I need to bring loads of books. But, when I go out, I don’t think it’s attractive–I’d rather wear a messenger bag. Nevertheless, I think you can still combine comfort/utility and style by wearing a backpack. Just keep it in basic colors– black, blue, navy–and don’t cover it with too many hardwares.

  12. kellystyle29 says:

    I feel like for guys this may be something as an alternative to the man purse but for a woman get a bucket or shoulder bag its so much more stylish than highschool ever was

Trend Tracking