Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm not a plastic bag - eBay

I have to admit. I was initially attracted to the Anya Hindmarch "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" promotion. The shopping bag was cute, a beige canvas tote with a braided handle and the slogan, "I'm not a plastic bag," emblazoned across the front. The Anya Heinmark logo is understated but there, along with the motto "We are what we do" hidden inside. In England, it was sold at Sainsburys for £5, and sold out within hours. The same thing happened in the US at Whole Foods.

Then things got crazy. People started selling them on eBay for £30, £50, £100. Is there no end to greed? This seems contrary to the original intent. It feels like the bag has gone beyond environmentalism, beyond fashion, into elitism. Some would argue that fashion is elitist, but it doesn't have to be. Fashion often starts on the street, then is dropped when it becomes mainstream. The Lance Armstrong wrist bands are a good example of that. They swept American, but then, they were so cheap and easy to come by that they lost their cachet. Anya Heindmarch was probably trying to avoid that by manufacturing such small quantities, but I think it backfired.

A clever artist, Marissa Vandersee, is selling a bag at Sunday Up on Brick Lane, that looks almost identical to the Anya Hindmarch version, but sums up my current sentiments about the bag. It says "I'm not a smug twat."

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