But now the “manbag” is finally being embraced by the British male.
A report found that in 2017 nearly a quarter of British men aged 16 to 34 bought a manbag – significantly more than since 2016 when just 16 per cent men of the same age bought one.
Across all age groups, one in seven British men bought a manbag in 2017 – however sales of bags to women still outperform those to men, with more than half of females admitting the bagged a bag last year. The study said the trend was being fuelled by celebrities including David Beckham, Kanye West and Ryan Gosling, who have all been spotted sporting their own manbag. Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at market research firm Mintel, which commissioned the report, said: “Manbags have become increasingly accepted by Britain’s men. There has been a growing trend for backpack-style bags, many of which are unisex in style and, therefore, appeal to young men. The popularity of manbags among young men has also benefited the premium end of the market, as our research finds men favour buying designer brands for themselves over own-brand bags.”
Overall, the handbag market now accounts for half of fashion accessory sales, outperforming all other fashion accessory categories.
Last year, the report found, shoppers spent £2.9 billion on fashion accessories, with the market growing by 3.6 per cent between 2016 to 2017, up from £2.8bn in 2016. Over the past five years, sales of fashion accessories have increased by 21 per cent, when the market was valued at £2.4bn in 2012.
Danit Levi, of Scottish style consultancy DressYourWay, said that the trend has come over from the Far East where the manbag trend began a couple of years ago.
She said: “When I was in China and Japan last year and the year before, they were everywhere, I really noticed it. I think there are a few reasons. One, the fashion houses really see their accessories departments make a lot of money so it could be asmart business sense on their part, but also it is just a functional item. Men need to be able to carry something as much as women.
“In Scotland, men have long carried a sporran, which is the same thing.”