From runways of airports to those of high fashion, the backpack remains a symbol of our journey through a fashionable, urban jungle. Lounge picks 10 backpacks to look out for this summer
The Faye tan backpack by Chloé has zipped expandable sides and a suede lining that sets off the leather. At Le Mill, Colaba, Mumbai; Rs1.3 lakh.
The Barney backpack by Nappa Dori, made of handwoven Ikat, comes in a black and grey version, and has a textured twill lining. At www.nappadori.com; Rs8,500.
Retro red leather structured drawstring backpack styled with silver studs on side pockets by Lulu & Sky. At www.luluandsky. com ; Rs4,500.
Mixed leather Manhattan Backpack in chalk white by Coach. At Palladium, Mumbai, and DLF Emporio, New Delhi; Rs49,000.
The Kanta backpack by Richa Designs is handwoven in the traditional rug-weaving technique of Kilim, contrasted with the faux leather. At www.shop.gaatha.com and www.jaypore.com; Rs2,950.
Soft, textured Florida leather with natural grain, the Shirley by Hidesign, at www.hidesign.com; Rs5,495.
Monochrome backpack in a matte finish with a front flap and belt closure by Fred Perry. At The Collective, Palladium, Mumbai; Rs8,000.
White Mercer medium leather backpack by Michael Kors, at Palladium, Mumbai, and DLF Emporio, New Delhi; Rs29,300.
Made in a nylon woven gaberdine construction, the burgundy-red Nylon Technical Rucksack by Burberry is styled with metal chair shoulder straps and leather trims. At Burberry stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad; Rs85,500.
A brief history of the backpack
Out of the mountains and into our cities
■The first backpacks for students were not really bags at all, just straps that were used to fasten stacks of books and carried on the back. These slowly developed into canvas or leather backpacks with buckles and hand-stitched detailing.
■ In 1938, an American company based in the Colorado Mountains, Gerry Outdoors, is said to have invented the backpack with zippers and pockets, essentially for hiking and camping.
■ Swedish brand Fjällräven, launched in 1960, began making backpacks for those venturing into the Nordic mountainside, but muted the heavy gear look into a minimal, chic version.
■ It was American company JanSport, founded in 1967, that took the backpack out of the mountains and into the cities. JanSport created the lighter, brighter, smaller version of the backpack as we know it today.
■ Come 1984 and the fashion industry changed the destiny of the backpack, making women warm up to them. The Prada Backpack, designed by Miuccia Prada, was made of industrial-weight nylon, otherwise used for army tents. Prada told ‘The New Yorker’ in a 1990 interview: “I want always to mix the industrial way of doing things, with the ‘patrimonio’ (legacy) of the past, with the artisanal tradition." The timing was right and the plain black nylon backpack with the triangular Prada logo became iconic.
■Two other brands, the Swedish Sandqvist (2004) and Canadian Herschel Supply Company (2009), were making the collegiate look cool. They pulled the backpack out of the pop fluorescence of JanSport and gave it a more preppy look, with clean lines and neutral colours. The backpack had arrived as a must-have item that goes with everything from a summer dress to a pinstripe suit.
■ Meanwhile, the fashion industry continues to adopt the backpack, adding exotic skins and precious metals. According to a 2013 ‘Business Of Fashion’ journal report, The Row made headlines for its patchwork fur ($16,900) and alligator ($34,000) rucksacks. Chanel’s 2014 Spring/Summer collection included a canvas backpack with a graffiti spray print. In 2015, Burberry introduced its Technical Nylon backpack with chain-leather straps and the option to monogram.