What no one tells you about the history of bags

Handbags are what makes the world go round. It is one of the most diverse fashion items out there. Used as a fashion statement for women today but used as an item to carry necessities for men back then, a handbag has one of the longest histories in the fashion industry. One thing that hasn’t changed about handbags throughout its long history is it still remains the main item that people use to carry all the essentials for day-to-day life.

The Story Behind Handbags

The history of handbags goes as far back as 38,000 BCE. They were used in this era for hunters and gatherers to carry multiple items with them from place to place. Back then, handbags came into play after the people realized that carrying items in their pockets only allowed them to hold so much at a time. As their pockets began to grow heavier, the invention of handbags began to establish itself. 

The main difference between bags back then and now is that bags were attached to the clothing of women back then. Today, they would be considered as “pockets” but back then they were considered as bags. Women wore handbags under their dresses and skirts to hold their essentials close to them at all times. The problem with this was this made bags be considered as an undergarment rather than an item to carry over their shoulders.

You may also read: How Bags Make Our World a Better Place

Handbags as A Fashion Statement

Even though handbags have been around for ages, they didn’t become a fashion statement until the early 20th century. They were always used as a necessity to hold personal items and as time went on, it started to become more of an item for women to carry more than men. Handbags also started to become an item carried more by those who were classified as wealthy as the material to create fashionable handbags started to become pricey.

As handbags started getting manufactured more, they started to come in more colors, patterns, designs, and sizes. The more variety of bags that began to be displayed, the more of a fashion statement it became as women felt more called to purchase more to match their outfits. On the other hand, the purpose of handbags remained the same with men. Men used them more for travel and business purposes to multiple items at once.

Handbags in the United States

Handbags became a fashion trend in Europe and other parts of the world before it finally came to the United States. In the 1920s, handbags were worn frequently by flappers as an addition to their outfit that allowed them to express themselves during a time of social change. This trend continued throughout the 1930s, when the first clutch bag hit the fashion scene and was worn to nightlife events and also by richest women since they were made with shiny metals which classified them as flashy to most. 

Throughout the 1940s and continued on through wartime in the U.S., materials for creating handbags became limited due to the need to create many for men fighting war. After wartime, handbags hit the fashion scene again once European designer handbag influences spread to the United States in the 1980s. Also, in parts of the world such as Asia and Africa the creation of straw and crochet handbags became more popular amongst artisans and caused natives and travelers to the area to indulge in this new addition to handbag culture.

Best of all, Latin American artisans and other handbag creators hopped on the trend and began to design colorful handbags that represent their culture to share with the rest of the world. That is our mission here at CHULA. We are a Mexican brand on a mission to be inspired by the Latin woman to share the spirit and strength with the rest of the world. Because we know how much our Mexican and Latina culture plays a role in the United States, CHULA now delivers its beautiful handbags and products to everywhere in the United States. Are you ready to rock your Frida style in the U.S? 

Based on its extensive history, we’re sure you can now tell how handbags make the world go round. As you can probably look around today and tell nearly everyone, both men and women have their own bag for carrying their items, whether it’s an over-the-shoulder bag, backpack, fanny pack, crossbody bag, or more. 

It’s incredible history is what makes up the importance of a handbag today and best of all, without it’s creation hundreds of thousands of years ago, we wouldn’t have it as the fashion statement it is today nor the incredible and colorful brand of CHULA. Check out our collections to explore a wide range of handbags we have to choose from. 

Which fact in the history of handbags shocked you the most? Share in the comments!