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The Evolution of the Fanny Pack

A fanny pack is a small fabric bag or pouch usually attached to a belt and is worn around the hips or waist. Also known as bum bag (British term), belly bag (American English), waist wallet, belt bag, buffalo pouch, butt pack, hip sack or sac banane in France, the fanny pack was used to carry small or valuable items. It was originally designed to be worn around the hips or waist but it has now been reinvented such that it can be worn in many ways. For instance, it can be draped around the neck, used as a belt or slung across the shoulders.

History and Origin of the Fanny Pack

The fanny pack is arguably the oldest fashion trend that dates back to around 5,000 years ago, as a wardrobe accessory of Otzi the Iceman, the oldest known natural human mummy who lived between 3400 and 3100 BCE. But fanny packs enjoyed their neon-hued heydays in the 1980s when they were almost a must-have fashion accessory. Both America and Britain share the same language but there has been endless confusion over the colloquial terms used for this bag in these two countries. However, both bum bag and fanny bag are slang terms for bottom since this bag was often worn with the pouch above the buttocks. The British rarely use the term “fanny” since it has a vulgar meaning.

Historically, people strapped the fanny pack to the front of their body as a way to protect themselves from bandits hence it became a popular fashion accessory across a wide range of users. In fact, in the 80s it became a style cliche for middle-aged tourists including drug dealers. Unfortunately, its popularity suddenly resulted in its unpopularity as this bag later become intensely uncool and was shunned by everyone with high-fashion sensibilities. At some point, it was even considered an embarrassing accessory that had slipped out of style.

Resurgence of the Fanny Pack

The once unwanted throwback fanny pack is back in fashion! In 2018, it was estimated to account for almost a quarter of the accessories industry’s growth in the US. Numerous attempts were made to revive the fanny pack in the early 2000s but it did not do so well in the market. Today, the fanny pack has blown-up in high in high fashion circles and has even taken up a new name; the cross body bag. It has been designed into a more appealing and natural accessory that can be worn across the torso although more varieties are still available. The cross body bag has recently morphed into the chest-rig that is more rectangular and the tactical vest which is a wearable vest or cross body bag with many pockets.

The modern Fanny packs can also be used for professional use such as to carry a gun or when someone needs their hands free for an easy access to tools etc. Renowned fashion designers Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada have been reported to have introduced new designer packs that are being worn by celebrities like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West, Russel Westbrook and Jaden Smith.