PARIS, Dec 16 ― For several years now, the luxury goods sector has been appropriating mainstream clothing, accessories and products, reinterpreting them in its own way and selling them for a small fortune. It’s a divisive practice, with some critics calling out what they see as contempt, while others praise the genius of the leading fashion houses behind these new creations. The latest craze involves shopping bags, which designers are transforming into objects of desire.
They cost anything from a few cents to a couple of dollars, and are usually placed near supermarket checkouts to enable those who need them to carry their shopping. Shopping bags, carrier bags and the likes are commonplace in the lives of consumers and are, admittedly, seldom attractive. At least, that was the case until the luxury brands took them over and transformed them into stylish, highly desirable and indispensable accessories, to the point of seeing celebrities turn up to special events, not with the latest ‘it bag,’ but with a simple brown paper bag. And that’s quite a feat considering that this is one of the most basic, everyday products around, not to mention the fact that supermarkets are probably not the most likely places frequented by the fashion elite.
Paper shopping bags get a luxury makeover
Shopping bags have become the new ‘it bags.’ These accessories seduce as much as they shock, leaving no one indifferent, which is exactly the aim of the brands that have been diverting them from their primary function. A recent example was the Balenciaga Fall 2024 fashion show, held on the streets of Los Angeles. Kim Kardashian, one of the most eagerly-awaited guests, arrived carrying a shopping bag emblazoned with the name Erewhon, an upscale supermarket chain.
Contrary to what you might think ― although no one would really have believed it ― the businesswoman hadn’t been dawdling among the capsicums and zucchini for so long that she showed up to Demna Gvasalia’s show with her groceries in tow. It was purely and simply a collab between the luxury brand and the grocery chain, presented at the show. The collab featured T-shirts, hoodies, caps, aprons and shopping bags, priced from €350 (RM1,781) to €950.
A great specialist in transforming basic, if not everyday, mainstream items into luxury garments of all kinds, Balenciaga has previous experience in this field, from beat-up sneakers selling for over €1,000 to a construction site parka priced at almost €3,000 and a trash-bag pouch with drawstring ties (yes, really!) sold at €1,400. And that’s not all: the luxury label recently made headlines for showcasing a towel-like skirt for the modest sum of €695. A move mocked by Ikea, which took to social networks to show that it could offer the same thing for around €18.
Up to almost €2,000
As creative as the brand may be, Balenciaga is far from alone in transforming shopping bags into luxury ‘it bags.’ Louis Vuitton, for example, under the guidance of Pharrell Williams, unveiled a shopping bag finished in high-end materials for the spring-summer 2024 season. Bottega Veneta went even further by unveiling a shopping bag directly inspired by those typically offered by US supermarkets and other retailers. The “Brown Bag,” as the luxury house has named it, is promoted in an advertising campaign by A$AP Rocky and is billed as a calfskin leather bag, with a paper-like suede lining. Prices range from €1,500 to €2,000, depending on the format chosen. Indeed, famous US luxury department store Bloomingdale’s, based in New York, has long been renowned for its series of recognisable Brown Bags, which turned 50 this year and has been spun out into various souvenirs, according to the New York Times.
While this surprising trend may raise a smile, it actually reflects a broader phenomenon. It turns out that people, from all walks of life, are actually really into shopping bags ― real, actual shopping bags. You only have to scroll through social networks like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok to see that they have become decorative objects, and even products symbolizing a first connection with the luxury world. With expensive fine leather holdalls often unattainable, consumers now collect (and flaunt) the branded shopping bags they get from purchasing much more accessible products like perfumes, makeup, accessories or skincare. And some social media users are even partaking in DIY workshops to transform these paper (or plastic) bags into veritable fashion accessories by customizing them.
Without going as far as social networks, it’s no longer unusual to come across a friend, colleague or even a complete stranger with a luxury branded shopping bag in hand, carrying the day’s snacks, sportswear or personal belongings. And on second-hand platforms, these bags are now selling for anything from a few to a few dozen dollars, demonstrating a real attraction for what was once considered a (vulgar) everyday necessity for carrying the fruits of a shopping trip. ― ETX Studio
Source : MalayMail