Trend Alert: The Canvas Bag

From the taxi trunk to the airplane luggage rack, durable canvas totes are experiencing a fashionable moment this spring. Though they've been around for decades and are a staple of boaters, beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts, recent trends in canvas bags translate to high style benefitting both the environment and the wallet. 

Canvas bags don't discriminate based on age, gender or tax bracket. They can be a reusable alternative to plastic and paper grocery bags, or an easily packable weekend bag. In terms of marketing, they're great promotional items as they have high visibility and large imprint areas.

Industry suppliers are quickly catching on to these trends and beginning to provide bags that imitate the high-end totes seen on runways and magazines. "Our Carina line bags are our best-selling items right now," says Kirsten Logan, vice president of sales and marketing at Clava American.  "They are made of coated canvas, which creates a fresh, sophisticated look, and they have contrasting zippers with beautiful heavyweight hardware."

Besides being fashionable, canvas bags are also practical. The canvas shell is actually tightly woven cotton, making these bags durable and affordable. Deep canvas bags offer excellent hauling capacity and tidy stowage of daily necessities. Retail giants like Whole Foods found that they could self-promote, help the environment and save on the cost of paper or plastic by selling their own reusable canvas grocery bags emblazoned with their name and logo. Along the same lines, canvas bags can be decorated many ways, from monogramming a wedding date to imprinting a grandchild's photograph.

The canvas bag also plays into the current military, safari and neutrals trends. The recipe? Mix animal print pieces and khaki basics (like safari jackets) with a twist of olive – the result are a great canvas bag for men and women. The canvas tote has also recently been combined with a messenger bag to create a popular computer/duffel bag with a flap closure and padded laptop handles for the business professional or weekend traveler.

It comes as no surprise that these totes are available in a wide range of sizes, colors and prints with a variety of handles, closures and embellishments. Small totes like the featured sling canvas bag B559NT from K&R Precision are perfect for a dinner date. Larger duffels, like the 8001NH-EOL from Picnic at Ascot, are an ideal takeaway bag for the weekend. These totes are the same ones that have been adorning L.L. Bean and Lands' End's catalog pages for decades, so they won't be fading into fashion history anytime soon.