Backpacks are back. They’re back in a miniature, fuzzy, Cher Horowitz kind of way (yet another trend that’s sprung out of the 90s resurgence) and they’re back in a nylon, utilitarian, L.L.Bean catalog way. That said, the current iterations are a lot chicer than they used to be.
After all, the recent renaissance of the chiropractor-approved accessory was brought upon us by two fashion greats: Fendi Creative Director (for the purposes of this article) Karl Lagerfeld and Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey. At the former’s Fall 2016 menswear showing, anthropomorphized backpacks walked the runway, making eyes at the crowd. And their intriguing stare did not go unreturned. They were and are the new monsters.
It was the same “we’ve got to have it” clamoring we witnessed one season prior at Burberry’s Spring 2016 show. The trenchcoat titan sent its muses down the runway sporting our generation’s answer to the Prada nylon backpack (bigger because we’ve got laptops to carry; monogrammed since we’re all about self-branding) — and the fashion world lost its damn mind. To top it off, Burberry paired its new signature bag with everything from tanks and trousers to dainty lace cocktail dresses, reminding us all that backpacks can go with literally everything.
A thought that’s especially comforting given that many of us are about to re-immerse ourselves in our studies now that class registration is upon us or, speaking for those already accredited and salaried, the lazy, hazy days of summer Fridays and half the office being out on vacation at any given moment are coming to an end. No matter our age and occupation, we’ve all got stuff to schlep around.
Now that we’re all grown up and not beholden to our parents’ “you’re wearing the same backpack till the straps fall off” rule, we can really have fun with the trend — amass the backpack-cum-workbag rotation we dreamed of, except in chicer materials, silhouettes and styles than we once imagined. Whether you’re down to splurge on one knapsack you’ll wear at nearly every life event until you retire or are starting a collection to be alternated based on the day’s destinations and laptop-lugging needs, we’ve got your back. Click through the slideshow to shop our picks for the best backpacks for back to school and beyond.