Loading... Please wait...

Fully Loaded - Manbags booming



    By Simon Richards

    Sales of manbags are booming on the high street. Simon Chilvers talks to five men about why they love theirs - and what they carry around in it

    Gordon Richardson
    Design director for Topman

    What's in your manbag?
    BlackBerry, which has become strangely addictive, a Martin Margiela keyring, a turquoise Comme des Garçons wallet because in a black bag, being able to see it when everything is at the bottom of the bag is important. I always have a book in there, my museum passes, which are real treasures: Tate Modern, Royal Academy and Kew Gardens. An iPod and phone. I do tend to put lots of bits of paper in my bag, little notes to myself, so it has become a bit like a filing system of things I've seen and like. I have a map of New York from a recent trip and lots of loose coins - I tend to use my bag as a purse. Tom Ford sunglasses, spare glasses, Paramol, menthol tissues and a packaway umbrella. What I like is that all of these things fit in this little bag. Sometimes I even chuck in a spare pair of shoes.

    Where is your bag from?
    It's Comme. I bought it on a trip to Tokyo. Immediately I was drawn to the colour versions and then I got all practical. I didn't want to go down the statement-bag route. I have an issue carrying a bag by handles. I like to be hands-free so this worked well. It's discreet so it works with all outfits, although a backpack and a suit doesn't work so well.

    How do you feel about the term manbag?
    You don't call women's bags "womanbag", so why we have to have this terminology, I don't know. By defining it, it rather damages its appeal.

    Ekow Eshun
    Creative director of the ICA

    What's in your manbag?
    Generic stuff: leather gloves, lip balm, an iPod. A book called Nigger, which is an interesting cultural study on the word. Wallet - it's Comme des Garçons, a lovely present from my girlfriend and a great size and design. The New Yorker - it's my favourite magazine and the only one I subscribe to. Moleskin notebook - when I am walking around or on the tube I like to write down things I am thinking about.

    Where is the bag from?
    It's a Mulberry. I got it about three years ago and it is still going strong, though I have had to replace one of the clasps on it. It's pretty much the perfect bag: really comfortable to wear, soft, very light, and there is lots of space in there. It's a great design, a very grown-up bag. I get lots of comments about it because it's very difficult to find a really good bag for a man, and when I bought this, it was even harder.

    Could you cope without your bag?
    No. I'd had bags for years before they became fashionable.

    Can you judge a man by his manbag?
    Increasingly so - urban man can be divided between those with a bag, and those without. I would ask questions about a man without a bag - I don't know how he could manage.

    Conor McNicholas
    Editor of NME

    What's in your manbag?
    Unopened post, cab receipts - I spend half my life in cabs - BlackBerry, cheque book, RayBans, lighter, keys, business cards, foldaway umbrella, pencil, Snickers bar, striped mini-notebook, super-fast-acting Nurofen because you never know how bad the hangover is going to be, pen, two-way connector for my iPod, bottle opener and phone charger. My bag is a key to being able to do my job. I would like to travel light but there are so many bits that I just need to have with me. Sennheiser CX300 headphones - they are amazing, they cut out all the other sound and the bass is wonderful. God forbid I leave my iPod at home or in the office - I couldn't bear the thought of not listening to music when I'm out and about.

    Where did you get your bag?
    Selfridges. It's entirely functional. I couldn't even tell you what make it is, but it had to be leather or rubber. My bag spends a lot of time on the floor in pubs and clubs. I needed something bright, so I could find it immediately. I think there is even still some Glastonbury mud on the clasp and there are badges on the bag that I think have lasted longer than some of the bands' careers.

    How do you feel about the term manbag?
    It's really derogatory, isn't it?

    Thomas Edur
    Dancer, English National Ballet

    What's in your manbag?
    A bottle of water, a banana to have in the morning before coffee - it puts a lining in the stomach and gives a bit of energy. A Canon digital camera - I love taking backstage pictures and portraits. Two tennis balls in a sock - I take them everywhere so I can massage my glutes. Spare plastic bags, USB stick, pencil and a notebook, which my wife got me. I get inspired and write down ideas for how to express something on stage. Flyers for the dance company - I try to distribute them to friends and leave them in places. Mini laptop, mobile phone with MP3 player - I do like gadgets but they have to have a reason. Painkillers for old injuries, aches and hangovers.

    Where did you get your bag?
    Mandarina Duck. I bought it from Harrods because of the choice there, and they have very good sales. I got it about a year ago.

    What do you look for in a bag?
    Practicality - it needs to be very light. It doesn't need to have bells and whistles and all that. This one is very versatile: you can use it over the shoulder, carry it by the handle, use it as a rucksack, or you can strap it to a suitcase. It weighs nothing.

    Dermot O'Leary
    TV presenter

    What's in your manbag?
    Diary and notebook, pen, lip balm - thanks to the petroleum base I now feel weirdly addicted to it - water, Empire magazine - I seem to read about films rather than going to see them. I always have a Harry Morgan's plastic bag in there, too, which I try to re-use. And a phone, though I'm not a big technology boy.

    Where did you get your bag?
    I've got a little collection now. My favourite bag is a Liberty one, which I got a couple of years ago for Christmas. It's dark olive and has a brown leather strap and trim. It's just got two big handles - so it's carried through the arm and over the shoulder. There is one zip compartment for change and the aforementioned lip balm.

    Could you cope without the bag?
    No. The other day I went out without it and it was like forgetting your mobile or having the stabilisers taken off your bike when you are a kid - you can do it but it doesn't feel right.

    How do you feel about the term manbag?
    I think we should embrace it - I like it. There's not enough in fashion that guys can own.

    Have you ever had a hard time from anyone for carrying a bag?
    No! I'd take issue with anyone that gave me a hard time for having a bag.