History of the Handbag from Past to Present Part 2

history of the bag from past to present

I recently published the first part of History of the Bag article where I wrote about the evolution of the bag from the first human Otzi until the beginning of the 20th century. In the second part of my article, I continue the journey from the 20s until today. So let’s start.

From the 1900s to the 1920s, tiny bundles and the drawstring Dorothy model, popularly known as the wedding bag, were generally used. The history of the handbag was reshaped with women’s rights. As women started to take part in business life, the Boulevard Bag model, in which she could put her documents and hang them on her shoulder, became popular.

boulevard model is prominent model in the history of the handbag
Boulevard Model

Right after World War II, the winds of freedom also affected handbags. Models started to be designed more relaxed, and more dazzling. These styles, which women carry by tucking them under their arms, are still popular as portfolio bags or clutches today.

Evolution and The History of the Handbag in the 30s, 40s and 50s

By the 1930s, the Art Deco craze had begun. At the same time, bags got zippers and the use of plastic began.

As a natural consequence of the Second World War, a military look became fashionable on bags. Larger, squarer and more practical models were developed. Due to the lack of raw materials, more economical models such as homemade drawstring bags were favored. During the war period, the bag made its mark in the 40s as a cheap and purposeful accessory.

the date of the bag is the drawstring model
Handmade Bag

Immediately after the war, as in everything else, new trends and new designs started to come to life in fashion. Eventually, the bag has become a cult symbol. As consumption increased and people were open to innovations, designers like Chanel became idols.

Date of the bag Chanel 2:55 model in black

Especially Coco Chanel’s 2:55 bag, designed in February 1955 and named after this date, became one of the iconic models. The retro movement also emerged in the 50s. Designers began to take their place on the fashion scene as young talents, angry at the old and eager to bring new ideas to life. They gave importance to color harmony and the submissive female status quo. They emphasized femininity with details such as long skirts and thin waists.

The Development and History of The Handbag from the 60s to the Present

In the 1960s, traditionalism and dress codes began to be questioned. Long skirts became dramatically shorter, turning into miniskirts, and a small and elegant shoulder bag appeared to complement the miniskirt. Dangling from a long chain or a thin strap, the small bag has once again adapted to the winds of change.

Meanwhile, the fascination with India and Goa also manifested itself in fashion. Larger and fabric shoulder bags started to be used. Afghan coats, models decorated with patchwork and embroidery, old military shoulder bags became very popular.

In the 70s, shoulder bags with straps, which were out of sight for a while, made a comeback in fashion. Enriched with buckles and zippers, these bags were actually the first footsteps of the feminist era.

The 80s marked the beginning of a golden age of consumption. The bag, the most important accessory that reflects the owner’s status, was now being decorated with bold logos. With fitness and health becoming popular among the public, brands such as Nike started to lead the fashion industry with creations including sports bags and shoes.

With the winds of feminism blowing around the world, Prada designed the first genderless, that is, unisex bag. This 1985 black nylon backpack was also a new addition to the raw materials used in bag making.

the first unisex Prada backpack
Prada Vera Unisex Backpack

The bag has become such a status symbol that fake bags, which every designer is still annoyed by today, have started to appear. Although it is against the law to produce and sell imitation designer handbags in the present day, this does not stop the industry from flourishing.

In the twenty-first century, models have become specific. As designers proliferate and users demand products that respect nature, bags are being made from materials such as waterproof canvas and eco-friendly vegan leather.

Social media has also been a guiding force in this regard. Transparent bags were designed as a result of social media, which claims to be transparent itself. This shows us that the bag reflects history and closely follows new trends.

Today, eco-friendly, original models that are comfortable to use are popular. In addition to the iconic models of world-famous brands, the history of the handbag is being rewritten in the digital age with the creations of many designers in line with the expectations of the new generation of consumers.

Don’t forget to visit my online shop EMRENEWYORK for designs that meet the needs and expectations of modern people in the twenty-first century: Cross body bags such as CHARM FREE BAG that can be worn on the shoulder or the waist, clutch models such as POWER CLUTCH for daytime and/or evening use, TOKEN TOTE in which items such as tablets and documents can fit comfortably.

With love,

Emre Ertürk 300 × 300 px 1

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