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Flashback Fashion: The Bag That Started Green Style

It has been years since famous British handbag designer, Anya Hindmarch, designed the ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag‘ cotton canvas tote.

Her creation, coupled with paparazzi shots of young celebrities like Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, and Keira Knightly sporting the bag, became iconic. The mere $15 bag rivaled other thousand dollars Italian and French ‘IT’ bags because it became an item every fashionista wanted to covet.

Limited production sparked a buying frenzy in England and in the U.S. as people stood in line for hours outside Sainsbury’s Markets and Whole Foods, where the bag was being distributed. Within hours it was sold out. And when the bags reached the other part of the world, there was a stampede in Taiwan and a mob in Hong Kong.


The bag suddenly became a target of several controversies as imitations began surfacing. Ebay auctions were marking them up ten times the retail, and the media began criticizing Anya Hindmarch for producing a bag that did not use eco-friendly materials and could possibly been produced in Asian sweatshops.

It was also ridiculed when similar looking bags were produced with the slogan ‘I’m Not an Ethical Plastic Bag’.

The designer retaliated by reiterating the purpose behind the bag was to create an awareness for people to make one simple change – do not use plastic bags if it can be helped. Also, proceeds of the sale benefitted the ‘We Are What We Do’ social change network movement. It was really all for good intentions.

Now that 'I'm Not a Plastic Bag' is completely out of production so many lessons were learned from the hype.

It definitely brought a heightened awareness that being socially conscious is fashionable.

Celebrities also realized their clout of influence can be used for philanthropic means. And fashion designers have become active in contributing their talent to designing pieces for worthy causes.

Green consumerism is here to stay.

But what works is taking little steps to being socially conscious. It begins with looking at our closets and examining the fashion items that can be reused, recycled, or donated to charity.

And if we know our own style, we realize that it does not take much to add pizzazz to an outfit through accessories we already own.

A printed scarf that belonged to my late grandmother can embellish a simple satchel and bring with it a sentiment that it was once used by my ultimate style icon. However, there are moments when we need to add items to our wardrobe.

It makes good practice to begin looking into products that are either eco-friendly or contribute to a social cause.

What other 'Stylish' Recycled Bags you can use:






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