Evolution of the Tote Bag

Sherene Melinda LONDON Handbag Designer Blog - Tote Bag

Style or functionality? When speaking about a tote bag, the answer to this question is; both! Originally designed to be a travel bag used for carrying luggage, the tote bag has become an icon of the fashion industry. This article discusses the evolution of the tote bag from a handbag of functionality to one of style. We look in to the origins of the tote bag and ask the question of whether functionality still exists in tote bags; or are they merely a fashion statement?

Where does the tote bag come from?

People started wearing tote bags from 1944 after the release of L.L Bean’s Boat Bag. The original term tote comes from the meaning ‘to carry’ which can be traced as far back as the 17th century. The name tote bag does not refer to the shape of the bag but more to its function. After L.L Bean released their Boat Bag, people began to frequently wear this type of bag as it was an easier and more comfortable way of carrying luggage.

It was during the 1960’s when tote bags went from being just functional to stylish as well. Bonnie Cohen released her own line of tote bags called ‘Cashin Carry Tote Bags’ which lead to the popularisation of this particular design of handbag, not only for its usability but also as a stylish fashion accessory. This idea intensified during the 1990’s when Kate Spade began to increasingly popularise tote bags.

Does functionality still exist in tote bags?

Let's look at some examples...

The Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Bag

Why is this bag functional? The tote bag features a structured strap which makes the bag more comfortable; especially when carrying heavier items.

Michael Kors Glossy Croc Dillon North South Tote

Why is this bag functional? The bag is large and provides storage space for a host of your belongings. The longer strap is also detachable allowing you to wear the handbag in a variety of ways.

Mulberry Bayswater Classic Grain Tote

Why is this bag functional? Along with being large in size, this tote bag features 1 zip pocket and 2 pouches which allow you to safely store and easily access a variety of items.

SHERENE MELINDA Royal Blue Leather Tote Bag

  

 

Why is this bag functional? You can easily adjust the shape of this handbag by opening the strap inside (pictured in the third picture). When opened, it resembles a bucket bag (displayed in the first picture) and when closed it resembles the shape of a tote bag (shown in the second and fourth pictures). Opening the strap gives you more room and closing the strap keeps your possessions compact and safe. The adjustable strap inside, as well as the one on the oustide, give you great versatillity and functionality. 

Tote bags have developed over history from being an alternative to luggage bags to an essential fashion accessory. At the beginning of this article we asked; do tote bags focus more on style or more on functionality? The handbags featured above demonstrate that functionality is still present in tote bags and that in most cases functionality is actually the main design goal. Through including features such as detachable straps, inside pockets and storage space, tote bags are both functional and stylish; and this is why we conclude that they are one of the most essential fashion accessories in your wardrobe.

PHOTO CREDITS;

www.harrods.com

 

 

www.sherenemelinda.co.uk





Also in News / Press

The All New Studded Collection
The All New Studded Collection

2020 has certainly had many ups and downs so far. Focusing on the positive, one of our exciting developments this year has been the introduction of our Studded Collection.

Continue Reading

My life during lockdown
My life during lockdown

In the first few days of lockdown it really started to dawn on me - the true enormity of what was happening, in a way that I would wake up and the first thing I would think is about this situation and how my usually busy day ahead is so altered from normal.

Continue Reading

PRESS RELEASE: Sherene Melinda joins the Jaded Life Collective at London Fashion Week February 2020
PRESS RELEASE: Sherene Melinda joins the Jaded Life Collective at London Fashion Week February 2020

Sherene Melinda was delighted to be invited as one of the nine designers that were part of the Jaded Life Collective Official British Fashion Council London Fashion Week event at The Mandrake Hotel, London on February 16th 2020.

Continue Reading

MATERIALS

Our handbags are made using leather both inside and out. We use nappa leather on the outside and the handbags are lined with an ecofriendly (using no harmful chemicals or dyes) natural pigskin leather in the inside. This helps to make our bags incredibly soft and luxurious but also durable and longlasting.

For our signature feature that we have become known for we use genuine Springbok hair-on-hide leather. The ethical source of the materials is very important to us. Springbok are classified as non-cites (which means there is no threat to the survival of the species) and the animals live freely in abundance in South Africa. The sustainability of the species is carefully managed and the population is culled to keep the ecosystem in balance. The local food industry benefits from this and the by-products are also utilised in decorative ways in interiors, furniture and fashion.

All our leathers are a by-product of the food-industry.

We use only high quality YKK zips and silver-coloured metal chains, studs and handbag hardware.

All our handbags are offered with a white cotton dustbag to keep them clean.