In the wide world of fashion, even we can admit it’s hard to pin down what’s popping. Of course, great style isn’t tied to trends, but what if you’re looking to upgrade, elevate or try something new? This is where Trendspotting comes in. From emerging trends to styles to try, we’re picking out one new (or, in some cases, vintage) vibe that our team thinks is worth trying out. After scouring runways and retailers, searching social media and street style, this is one trend you should consider adding to your wardrobe this week.

The Vibe: Sling Bags

What Are the Best Brands?:
$: Herschel Supply Co., Kappa, The North Face,
$$: BAPE, Nonnative, Porter, Supreme
$$$: Alyx, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Prada

The “male bag” discussion became a full-on style moment sometime around 2017 and 2018, thanks to the increase of cargo harnesses (more colloquially named “Chest Rigs” thanks to the influence of Matthew Williams and his Alyx label). As the idea of wearing a chest rig fell out of favor due to a combination of exaggerated proportions and overexposure, that doesn’t mean that “men’s fashion bags” have fallen by the wayside—not by a longshot. Look at it like this: Most guys are open to the idea of carrying a “bag”—regardless of how “fashionable” they consider themselves to be. As for wearing a giant chunk of ripstop or canvas on their chest? That might be a little bit of a stretch long-term.

While the idea of rocking a sling bag has been pioneered by UK grime icons and archives of Japanese street style, this vibe is hardly foreign. Worn slung across the body (hence, “sling bag”) the item isn’t far off from the much-maligned “fanny pack” worn by tourists and parents. Functionally a zipper pocket bag, it’s basically a way to organize whatever you keep on your person. It makes sense that—taking fashion out of the equation—most outdoor gear companies have an iteration of smaller, single or double-pocket buckle or body bags; check the wares of any mountain climbing-focused label and, more often than not, you’re bound to find something in this category. Even what we’re suggesting isn’t technically worn as a waist bag, the styling similarities recall visions of the ’80s and ’90s—which helps explain why retro sports brands like Fila and Kappa have plastered their logos on both fanny packs and sling bags. That sportswear connection leads right into streetwear, where titans like BAPE and Supreme collaboration with contemporary luggage companies like Porter (the former) or with outdoor outfitters The North Face (like the latter).

Of course, the real pinacle of this trend culminates within the luxury sphere, as designer labels—generally obsessed with creating multiple “it bags” for their womenswear accessories divisions—have glommed onto the idea of creating “it bags” for men; it stands to reason that the sling bag is a perfect canvas in this endeavor. With streetwear-adjacent menswear designers like Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme respectively, it makes perfect sense that they’d be able to recontextualize the modern sling bag into something worthy of a designer price tag. Abloh has had success reworking the Louis Vuitton luggage legacy to create contemporary accessories, and Jones (in a signature move) tapped the accessory ingenuity of another craftsman-designer, [Alyx]((’s Matthew Williams, in his bid to rework the house’s classic Saddle bag. Consider these a modern iteration on the historically steadfast luxury leather goods market. Of course, with its long standing focus on sporty nylon, Prada is not a luxury player to ignore.

As hot temperatures persist, sling or buckle bags are the perfect way to simplify your wardrobe without sacrificing personal cargo space. Given that warmer temperatures made their presence known during the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion weeks this past June, the street style stars are living proof that this vibe isn’t going anywhere.

Styling Tip: If nothing else, keep this simple. Worn (generally speaking, diagonally) across your body, opt for “less” than “more”; while you definitely can strap a backpack on your chest, you don’t need to strap a backpack to your chest. Opt for simplified colors like black, gray, navy or army green for peak versatility (or if you’re worried about how this will look with the other stuff in your wardrobe).

Tags: mens-fashion-trends, trendspotter, kim-jones, supreme, bape, louis-vuitton, virgil-abloh, matthew-williams, alyx, dior, prada, fila, porter, patagonia, mens-bags, sling-bag