The last time the mini backpack reigned supreme was when a 1995-era Alicia Silverstone sported one with her plaid mini skirts and knee socks in Clueless. Fast forward 20 years, and the backpack is back. But how did a twee accessory once lost to the annals of history manage to break into mainstream culture again? Street style, '90s nostalgia, and one highly covetable designer knapsack are to blame.
Trends start on the streets this day and age, and occasionally on the red carpet, which was arguably where the mini backpack trend started its ascent in 2014. Given fashion's fixation on miniature purses of every size and shape this year, it should come as no surprise that the backpack was simply the next incarnation of the trend. When the Celine Nano hit stores a few short seasons ago, it seemed as though every woman had a micro-miniature bag dangling from a dainty wrist. Proenza Schouler leapt onto the trend by miniaturizing their popular PS1.
Around the same time, an oversized clutch or iPad case became de rigueur for the fashion set, and everyone's handheld accessories seemed to have become smaller overnight. Perhaps the shrinking of the iPod, iPad, and iPhone were to blame, but in terms of accessories, it was go small or go home. Enter the mini backpack, whose endearingly minute proportions made it an irresistible accessory to throw on over any and every ensemble. By January 2014, designers had seconded the trend with an array of tantalizing options rendered in luxe leather and richly pigmented shades. Once the likes of Katy Perry and Olivia Munn sported the cheeky look, it wasn't long before the backpack became an recognizable fad.
However, 2014's backpack of the year isn't Alexander Wang's Dumbo Backpack or even Proenza Schouler's PS1 Backpack; it's Mansur Gavriel's pared-down and utterly utilitarian rendition. Renowned for its drawstring bucket bags, sumptuous leather, and of course it knapsacks, the brand quickly kicked the trend into high gear by selling out of the popular item and instituting a wait list; in other words, how the Birkin achieved its lofty it-bag status. Luckily for consumers who have upwards of $700 stashed away in their rainy day fund, the bag will be available once again in March according to the company's website.
Why have mini backpacks resurfaced as such an inescapable trend this year? Call it a combination of rebellion, utilitarian spirit, and a childlike sense of fashionable fun.
Image: Getty Images; Mansur Gavriel Brandy Backpack, $745, mansurgavriel.com; Giphy