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The changing work pattern of the everyday handbag

11-04-2019 02:31 PM CET | Fashion, Lifestyle, Trends

Press release from: Nushi

Work patterns are changing as more of the workforce becomes self-employed or works flexible shifts. The change in work style is influencing a change in business fashion and accessories, as the daily commute becomes less common and a new generation of consumers buys bags that fit in with their lifestyle.

If you are still a 9-5 worker with a daily commute you’ll know the pain of travelling with a handbag full of all the items you need for a full day out. Our handbags carry the whole gamut – spare jumper, scarf, water, laptop, charger, phone, keys, purse, makeup – the list goes on. Don’t forget lunch. And then, there are the shoes. Heels to replace the flats when you get to the office and vice versa on the way home.

In a survey by Aspinal of London, they found that the average weight of a handbag was over 3 kilos. All these items require space, and bags have grown larger and larger, with tote bags and shoppers remaining popular for decades, for good reason.

Laura Castle, founder at nushi says “We started nushi to provide supplementary work for our predominantly female workforce in Herefordshire. All of us commute daily. Our most popular products are roomy shoulder bags, and laptop cases or small crossbody commuter bags.”

Handbags are a significant investment with the average UK woman spending £32 on a bag and buying three new bags a year to add to her existing stash, according to a Simply Be survey. In addition to the daily commuter bag, a woman needs occasional bags, evening purses and ‘best’ bags to match favourite outfits.

A handbag has become a status symbol for a working woman. “The handbag was part of the changes brought about after the First World War and the increasing emancipation of women, for whom carrying a bag became a sign of independence and stature.” (Business of Fashion)

As time wore on, handbags got bigger and bigger – and sold for more – a $380,000 Birkin bag from Hermès holds the current record. For those of us on a more modest budget, hand bags need to work for our daily routine and suit our busy lifestyle.

That can often mean two bags. One bag to carry the laptop & charger or bulky clothing. The other to pop into the tote and lift out when you have got to the office or workspace.

Maura Brannigan writes for Fashionista and quotes Jeannine Scimeme from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), who explains where the trend got started; "[Bonnie Cashin] was the designer who started the movement of carrying two bags to work. It was definitely for busy, working women. If she carried two bags, that woman was working outside the home. And [Cashin] believed that women had so many roles, one bag wasn't enough."

Fashionable handbags cycle in the same way that clothing fashion does. A few stellar designers are at the top of the pinnacle and their iconic handbags are the most desirable. Consumers and purchasing decision making factors are changing, however, with a new generation of millennials taking their place in the workforce.

Lisa Aiken, Moda Operandi’s women’s fashion director, is quoted on WWD: “At its height, the [handbag] industry was dominated by a few styles, it was very specific and went everywhere. Now I feel like styles have almost a cult attraction. It’s far more fragmented — consumers are more savvy about personal style and understanding what they like and don’t like rather than being led by a singular style.”[parenthesis ours]

The Experian Millennial Growth Spending Power Index 2019 says 26-40 year olds are expected to spend more on lifestyle activities and holidays in 2020. Athleisure brands are on trend for younger consumers but active adults still need a bag to carry their gear and this is where backpacks, travel bags and carryalls are taking over from handbags.

The new generation of handbags will need to appeal to a generation that cares about the environment and the sustainable procurement of the products they purchase. Handbags need to be both traceable and trendy to survive the change in trends.

Glendower Road
c/o Forbes Group

Nushi bags is a start-up handbag manufacturer in Herefordshire. Nushi produce one-off pieces from recycled fabrics in a range of designs that reflect our rural location. The handbags are produced from scratch in our workroom and finished by our experienced team to a high quality.

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