If bags were cast in a high school drama, the backpack would be the dork in the class. The cool kid’s obviously the messenger bag, friends with the hipster tote bag. The leather briefcase, well, he’s the teacher. If the recent FW16 runway was any indication, the backpack has gone from dork to Mr. Popular Jock in fashion college over the past few years.
Riding the wave responsible for sportswear’s preeminence in fashion, the lowly backpack is now a staple in every self respecting brand’s collection. From the gold studded MCMs in the fashion rebel corner to the sleek leather backpacks that legacy Italian maison Brioni displayed in its latest show, there’s a haversack for every sartorial persuasion, every style archetype.
It also seems that the slouchy, insouciant way of carrying a haversack – low and only over one shoulder – is out of vogue too. Most if not all of the backpacks seen this season were worn squarely between the upper arms with both straps on. You’d be called a loser if you wore it like this when you were in college, but there’s a self-awareness about this. A deliberate hipster irony if you will.
Judging from its continued popularity on the runway, the backpack is definitely here to stay. Dust off your High Sierra if you wish to go throwback hipster, or get a Herschel to look ruggedgeeky. If you want to take it a step further, here are some couture choices.
Neil Barrett, Studded Leather Backpack
‘s roomy leather backpack is perfect for weekends away or after-work gym sessions. It has plenty of space for your laptop and a change of clothes, and is finished with a studded lightning bold, revealing a flash of the brand’s personality.
Available at Mr Porter.
Tod’s, Full-Grain Leather Backpack
Traditional Italian craftsmanship is central to the Tod’s design ethos. This midnight-blue backpack is constructed with supple yet sturdy full-grain leather and lined in canvas shell. Kitted with separate pockets for your phone, wallet and keys, it has ample space for everything you’ll need on your daily commute or a weekend away.
Available at Mr Porter.
WANT Les Essentiels, Kastrup Leather-Trimmed Organic Cotton-Canvas Backpack
By focussing the design on an all-black palette, WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie emphasises the contrasting textures of the organic cotton-canvas and leather that make up its impressively stylish Kastrup backpack. Designed to keep you well-equipped on the move with a laptop sleeve and multiple pockets, this piece is an investment in enduring and durable style.
A.P.C. Cotton-Canvas Backpack
“I think it’s only by attempting to create something beautiful that you manage to have a bearable existence,” says A.P.C.
‘s founder, Mr Jean Touitou – this backpack is a deft example of the label’s understated sophistication. It’s crafted from navy cotton-canvas and has a spacious twill-lined interior, secured by a buckled flap and drawstring top. This functional piece sports padded shoulder straps, making it exceptionally comfortable to wear.
Saint Laurent, Leather-Trimmed Monogrammed Jacquard Backpack
s’s black backpack is crafted from a durable jacquard that’s subtly woven with the label’s iconic ‘YSL’ motif. Trimmed with sleek leather for a sophisticated finish, this capacious carryall is lined with hard-wearing faille and has a padded back for added comfort. Carry it by the shoulder straps, and adjust them for a bespoke fit.
Alexander Wang, Marti Washed-Leather Backpack
‘s ‘Marti’ backpack is a stylish urban essential. The leather used in its construction has been washed for a soft, smooth handle. This utilitarian design features adjustable straps and plenty of pockets to help keep you organised on the go.
FENDI, Monster blue backpack
The Fendi Monster backpack of fashion cult status – in blue nylon, leather detailing, eyes embossed, two-way zip fastening along top, top handle, pouch pocket with zip fastening, adjustable padded shoulder straps and internal red lining. But most importantly, monster.
BURBERRY, Canvas check backpack
A little classic, a little sporty, a little rugged. The Burberry Canvas check backpack features a foldover top, concealed drawcord closure, and buckle fastening. The outdoorsy texture is matched with the adjustable shoulder straps, spacious interior and exterior pouch pockets, and more muted Burberry logo details.
VALENTINO GARAVANI, Camouflage backpack
Camouflage is the new black with this backpack in army-green and mandarin nylon from Valentino. There are pyramid studs, two-way zip fastening along the top, front pouch pocket with two-way zip closure, top handle, leather tag hanging from handle and leather shoulder straps. All packed into a sleek, head-turning backpack!
DSQUARED, Ropes Nylon Backpack
So you thought rope was just for mountaineering bags. DSquared2 uses them in a bright variety of colours to lend some wacky personality to its black nylon backpack, complete with double adjustable shoulder straps for extra comfort, a hip belt with buckle closure which you probably won’t use, as well as four side zip pockets with heat-sealed zip and back zip compartment. Power packed!