Friday, August 03, 2007

Bag Lady: "I Am Not A Plastic Bag" Sale Report from the Front Line

Not even a torrential downpour could stop trendy and eco-friendly New Yorkers from getting their fashion fix. Thousands. Yes, thousands of drenched customers waited on line a few weeks ago – some overnight -- outside of the Whole Foods supermarket in the East Village for the chance to grab one of award-winning accessories’ designer Anya Hindmarch’s oh-so-trendy “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” canvas totes, which sold out in a few hours at her Soho boutique in June. Thank goodness for my press credentials or I would have been standing in the rain with the rest of the fashion-crazed masses.

Some of the patrons I chatted with seemed sincerely interested in doing their part to save the planet by reducing the use of plastic bags, while others were design students and borderline Hindmarch stalkers. But my hunch is that many of the drenched fad followers waiting in line, which was curiously overrun with young Asian men, were eagerly snatching up the hot $15 bag (limit 3 per customer) to flip it on Ebay where it’s selling for up to $300. Whatever the bag seeker’s motivation, Hindmarch thinks the recycling message is still loud and clear.

Despite her good intentions, however, the designer has received her share of backlash. The most attention grabbing take on Hindmarch’s bag is fellow Brit designer Marissa Vanderzee’s cheeky “I’m NOT a smug twat” bag ($41 U.S.). On Vanderzee's website she says her bag “is a reaction to the it-bag phenomenon, a reaction to the faddishness of fashion...and it helps you avoid using plastic bags!”

Whatever your bag is, there are plenty of styles to choose from, including Whole Foods’ large “Honey” carry all for only a buck. Happy shopping!