The Life and Death of the Fanny Pack


I was recently contacted by a reporter to comment on the Fanny Pack trend for an article.* After looking into the ‘current trend’ it became blatantly obvious that the resurrected style has died, yet again. Along with the fashion for all things 1980s, the urban hipsters began reevaluating the fanny pack around 2004 (as noted by a number of publications at the time, out with the trucker hat, in with the fanny pack). This interest was encouraged when Pat Field costumed Sarah Jessica Parker in a Gucci fanny pack in an episode for the fourth season of Sex and the City. The form and the fabric changed, with the new version looking more like a clutch attached to a belt. Since 2004, retailers have been resurrecting the item each Summer – no doubt for the benefit of travelers and tourists. Beacon’s closet (in Brooklyn) sold tons of vintage Chanel versions to trust-funders and hipsters, and it was predicted to be a part of a growing ‘iconic’ look (WWD, December 204).

By Spring 2005, Luis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, LeSportsac, and Helmut Lang produced fanny packs, as did a variety of lower end retailers. (WWD, Spring 2005). By the summer of 2006, hipsters in Chicago were sporting the look and in fall of the same year it peppered fashion shows in Los Angeles. In late spring 2007, the bag was featured by even more designers (Chanel, Anna Sui and L.A.M.B. among them) and was spotted all over the lower east side of Manhattan.

Supposedly, the justification for continuing to try to bring it back related to all the new (and expensive) technology one needed to carry around (ipods, cell phones, etc) along with the ‘hands free’ aesthetic.

Finally (or so one might think), the death knell rang out for the street fashion of the fanny pack when an article appeared in the New York Times in May 2007. As with most ‘underground’ trends, once they appear in the New York Times, saturation is imminent and the trend dies.

An article in last month’s Los Angeles Times, apparently unaware of this cycle of fashion, reported that the fanny pack was again ‘hip’ this year. The article claimed that it was being offered in Target (but they had stopped carrying it in May), and appeared on hipsters in the deserts at Coachella, but many still resist. It has faded from most stores, and has gone the way of the trucker hat …One can only hope that we don’t have to see it again.

I can’t help but speculate that perhaps the renewed excitement came from the Sex and The City Movie (where Samantha wears a fanny pack to match her 80s inspired wardrobe). Not coincidentally, Costume Designer Pat Field is selling a be-dazzled version. Would love to hear your comments!

Until Next Time,


*After speaking with me and several other fashion experts, the reporter decided not to write the article because the trend was over.

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  • Kristen Lippencott June 26, 2013 08.04 am

    I realize no one has posted here for awhile but I bought the above “fanny pack” is 2005ish and I still love it! Can’t beat the hands free at concerts, while playing tourist and while shopping. Wouldn’t wear it in place of a daily purse but it’s great for those times when I don’t want to keep up with a bag


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