Schoolbag Roundup

Monday, March 02, 2009

No person can claim having gone through gradeschool/highschool during my time without ever wanting a particular bag because it was "uso" or the trend. With uniforms in place, bags were one of the very few avenues where you can convince the other students that you were "hip", "rad", or whatever it is that we used to denote "awesome" back then.

Trends in schoolbags used to change so often, you often had to find a way to junk your bag in the middle of the school year without your parents thinking you did it in purpose so you can convince them to buy a new bag, preferably the trendier ones.

Like all trends of course, being mainstream never really guarantees that the bags in style aren't stupid. Here are the few more notable bags that I can remember from my childhood:

Wheeled schoolbags

Ever kid wants a bag that they didn't have to put on their back, specially when the combined weight of the books they used to give us at school was that of an obese toddler (which we were forced to carry around). Seperate metal strollers solved this problem by putting our bag on wheeled portable carts so we can benefit from one of man's oldest inventions, and enabling us to race each other like the stupid kids we were supposed to back then.

Only bad part was that those metal strollers were heavy and were cumbersome to carry around with the bag when not in use. So what was the next best step? Bags that had buit-in wheels. No more seperate metal frame strollers. You just carted it around and then parked it right beside your desk. Back then, if you had a bag that had wheels, you'd be the first grade equivalent of a guy who drives around in a sports car - except there aren't any chicks to impress, or granted there were, you just didn't have the developed biological parts for you to take advantage of the situation.

Why did the trend die out?

Continuing with the sports car analogy, the sports car turns out to have the reliability of a badly fed horse. It just didnt work on the rough roads as nicely as the strollers. The small plastic wheels simply stop turning after a while, and you're left with a large bag that you cant wear on your back - so now you have to haul the obese toddler weight with your scrawny toddler arms.

Native Woven bags

Native Woven bags are awesome becuase back then, wearing one told everybody around you "I'm a rebel. Fuck your sports bags." Woven bags have always been trendy but never became mainstream, mainly because you can't just buy it anywhere. People who used these kinds of bags often further customized their bags with pen ink, highlighters, and other trinkets to get that "I'm homeless, but I'm homeless with style" effect. Done properly, the bag made you distinct compared to the masses who contented themselves with department store bags. Done improperly, you'd look like somebody who just came down from the mountains to forage.
Why did the trend die out?

One reason why abaca, mahogany, sinamay are no longer part of the usual backpack-making regimen is that those kinds of material are not exactly the most durable things you can make a bag out of. The bag develops splinters after a while, along with the straps, which when comibined with heavy load, becomes a self-service acupuncture. I hate needles.

Drawstring backpacks

At some point in my student life, people suddenly felt the urge to use what looked like flour sacks as bags. Cheap, easy to customize, and very minimalistic, they were basically just sacks with cord straps. Designs and prints varied from the free McDonald to the then superbrand of bags for women, Esprit. Nothing much can be said about these bags apart from that.
Why did the trend die out?
Flour sacks are funny things. They're not funny though, when it starts raining because they have the water resistance of the Wicked Witch of the West. Once the first drop hits the bag, everything inside will just turn into mulchy pulp. Also, the nylon cords were so hard on your shoulders, a few kilos of load in, they'd almost tear your arms off.

Fake adidas sports bags/shoulder bags

After a while, people just wanted to go branded, but were too cheap to actually buy real branded shit, so they went with fake ones. Big, lumbering sport shoulderbags became the rage of the day, some large enough to stash a dead hookers body, not that highschool students had anything to do with things like that. (in the event, we wont really learn about how to properly stash dead bodies until college)

Why did the trend die out?

They were fake, and nothing will change that. To be fair, the fake ones didn't initially look different from the original ones. Only after the lightly painted adidas logo started flaking off did you realize why it's cheaper by half the price (usually hours later). Also, shoulder bags are a bitch when carrying heavy stuff and commuting on packed jeepneys. It just wan't worth getting punched in the face by the guy sitting next to you because your bag extended to his oversensitive leg.

Clock Bags

to be fair, there were less flowery versions
of this bag for the guys

The epitomy of the principle "trendy and supposedly functional but still fucking useless", Clock bags were the hippest thing in school when I was still in gradeschool. We're not talking about bags with small digital display on the side here, these bags had a huge analog wallclocks that told the time to everybody but YOU, the douche who had to carry it around. It was simple, and showed everybody one bold statement "I AM HEADING TOWARD THE FUTURE OF UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING WITH THIS BAG, WHERE WILL YOUR BAG TAKE YOU?"

Why did the trend die out?
Many things:
- Explaining to the teacher why you were late is harder while using this kind of bag
- Not enough allowance to replace the batteries.
- It's a HUGE clock on YOUR bag
- We have wristwatches

No comments:


Search This Blog

Most Reading