The rise of the man bag
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In August, when Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, gave his first big speech in his new job, he wore a single-breasted dark blue suit, a medium blue tie, a light blue shirt and highly polished black lace-ups – the uniform, in other words, of most former Goldman Sachs financial bigwigs. Except for one thing: in his right hand he was carrying not a standard attaché case in brown or black leather but a boxy, soft-sided grey bag, trimmed in black, with a large side pocket and extra-long handles. He was carrying, in other words, a man bag.
And he’s not the only one. David Beckham (of course) has been spotted carrying a Valextra tote, Cristiano Ronaldo a monogram Gucci clutch, Liev Schreiber a brown leather Mulberry Brynmore and Hugh Jackman a Louis Vuitton Damier check holdall. When it comes to the male accessory of choice, we have reached, it seems, a tipping point.
“The vogue for men’s bags has now hit full stride,” says Alessandro Sartori, creative director of menswear brand Berluti. “It has taken a decade to get here but bags are now an essential part of every menswear collection. Men carry them; we design them. They are everywhere.”
The figures back him up. While the global menswear market has grown 15.6 per cent in the past five years, according to market research group Euromonitor, sales of men’s luxury bags have outpaced it, increasing 25.4 per cent. “A big factor is the rise of the Asian market,” says Fflur Roberts, Euromonitor’s head of luxury goods. “Asian men are much more into accessories and tend to carry more bags. India was the fastest growing market last year.”
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