Metrosexual Revolution Leads to Boom in Men's Bags

Time was when a man needed only a suit and tie to be dressed for all occasions. No longer: fashion accessories have become a must for men and women alike.

Once a bag was no more than a means for carrying around possessions. Men used rectangular brief cases or the more casual backpack. But as the Metrosexual trend has blurred the gender boundaries in fashion, men are buying bags with single strap or no strap at all.

Technology is also bringing changes, with multi-function another trend. The advent of laptop computers, MP3 players, PDA, and cellular phones has spurred designs like laptop bags and mini cross bags. Cross bags can be both casual and formal and store a variety of things, which makes them popular with young customers. For a more sophisticated look, try a leather cross bag.

Popular bag company Mandarina Duck has introduced a multi-function bag that has an inbuilt laptop PC case. It can be worn as a backpack or carried in one hand with a handle. Colors have become lighter, from last seasons' black and brown to blue, khaki, and burgundy.

LG Fashion Daks released a new leather mini cross bag with a small pocket in front where users can put small electronic devices like MP3 players or palm computers, offering a more casual look than big heavy briefcases.

Sales of men's bags by Louis Quatorze rose more than 40 percent last year from the year before. As male customers demand for bags increases, choices proliferate. Louis Quatorze cross bags are W290,000, while small and rectangular "man bags" are W200,000. MCM said the number of men's bag products increased about 2.5 times over last year, with cross bag briefcases especially popular.

Other fashion brands like Intermezzo, Solid Homme, Bean Pole and CK Jean are also expanding their bag lines. Bags are no longer just side products but a part of total fashion coordination. "Men's bags are just as fancy and colorful as women's," says Gwak Dong-kyu, director of the men's fashion brand Intermezzo. "We plan to expand fabric-made bags in the future."

LG Fashion Hazzys jacquard-made cross bags have metal decoration in front to give them an ethnic look.

Paul Smith almost doubled its cross bag line this year. The paradox is that women are now jealously eyeing men’s bags as well. Brightly colored striped cross bags are especially popular. "Striped cross bags are larger than most women's handbags," says a Paul Smith representative. “Now many young women who look for big bags use them too."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 23, 2005 16:39 KST