Kate Andrews

ECO-TREND: I'm not a plastic bag!

by , 08/11/07

Anya Hindmarch Eco Tote Bag, I am not a plastic bag, Anya Hindmarch not a Plastic Bag, eco-chic tote bag, sustainable style sunday

Following the ongoing global movment to steer consumer culture away from excessive plastic bag consumption (banning plastic bags in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Melbourne) we are pleased to see reuesable tote bag make big gains in popularity. We’ve covered eco-chic tote bags of all shapes and sizes (Envirosax, Trash Bags, Sea Bags), but the hype and excitement surrounding Anya Hindmarch’s trendy “I am Not A Plastic Bag” design (which sold out of London stores just hours after being released) is somewhat baffling, even if we are only too happy to see “eco” becoming trendy.


On the 20th June 2007 at 6:30 a.m the queues started to form for one of this season’s most coveted accessory, the $15 “I’m not a plastic bag” designed by Anya Hindmarch. The canvas bag quickly sold out in London in a matter of hours, months before being released. The bag retailed for £5 in the UK but quickly fetched $400 on Ebay. The first day of the release for the US addition saw queues of over 400 people by 11:00am and with the Soho store limited to 800 bags it quickly sold out.

The aim of the design is simple — to encourage people not to use plastic carrier bags. The bag was produced in partnership with We Are What We Do, a non-profit campaign group that has set out to change the world in small steps. The bag’s must-have credentials were firmly secured when it was chosen as the goodie-bag for guests at the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar night party. Only 20,000 are going on sale – each of the branches stocking it is restricted to just 30 bags and customers can buy only one each. The simple bag has become a symbol of ethical intent – and a very fashionable one at that.

All well and good as far as we can tell – the popularity of this bag should be proof that consumers are willing and excited to have some non-plastic reusable alternatives. That said, we just want to remind all of those who are gaga over who the Anya Hindmarch bag, the original intent behind the whole thing: cutting plastic bag consumption. For those of you who were disappointed that you couldn’t find one of these bags – there are plenty of other cute “not-a-plastic-bag” options out there that don’t cost $400 on eBay. And really, even if you are trying to advertise your eco-consciousness to the world – you’re canvas tote bag shouldn’t have to say “Not a plastic bag” on it. We can assure you that you will karma points and the great feeling that comes from knowing you are doing the right thing — no matter what kind of tote bag you carry to the grocery store.

+ Anya Hindmarch

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30 Comments

  1. Project GreenBag May 12, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Project GreenBag is the sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. 100% organic cotton, biodegradable, affordable, and made in San Francisco California.
    http://www.ProjectGreenBag.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ProjectGreenBag
    http://www.twitter.com/projectgreenbag

  2. Printed tote bags April 2, 2009 at 2:53 am

    The tote bag is eco friendly, reuseable. Many people carry it to the grocery store. It is stylish and economical.

  3. shefinds April 16, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Hey there – we’re giving one away this week – I think it’s pretty cute
    http://shefinds.com/blog/index.php/weblog/comments/freebie_friday_win_anya_hindemarchs_im_not_a_plastic_bag/

  4. toni February 6, 2008 at 10:29 am

    the bag is obviously just another fashion statement. the peolple carrying it couldnt care less about global warming. its just a stupid phrase that will pass soon enough…

  5. kate November 26, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Hey idiots, the bag costs 15 dollars

  6. Sam October 25, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Where can i buy the ‘i’m not a plastic bag’ in Malaysia?
    Pls reply.
    TQ.

  7. maureen October 12, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    If you’re looking for some legitimately eco-friendly, reusable bag options, check out this link on my blog
    http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/2007/03/26/eco-friendly-eco-chic-shopping-bag-guide/

  8. Stacy September 14, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I just bought a Green Bag at Publix for $1.50. http://www.greenbag.info The price for an INAPB tote only is ridiculous.

  9. Miko September 13, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    hi where can i get the bag and how much is it?
    Thanks

  10. Jimmy September 5, 2007 at 3:45 am

    you can buy from Replicawiki.com , Hope good lucky!

  11. joe lai September 2, 2007 at 12:04 am

    where can Ibuy the I’ m not a plastic bag?
    please tell me.ok
    TQ

  12. Bag Girl August 28, 2007 at 3:40 am

    Great message, nice design, but it’s ridiculous to pay that much for a bag, especially if it’s supposed to be eco-friendly. I have my own Reusable Bag shop with lots of different logos promoting eco-friendly living and I don’t charge a fortune for them.

  13. tgb August 27, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t think AB read any of the above

  14. joe lai August 25, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    where can buy i’m not a plastic bag in malaysia?
    please reply to me.
    TQ.

  15. AB August 20, 2007 at 1:22 am

    where can i buy this “im not a plastic bag” bag? i really want one!

  16. cheshire August 15, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I still think the best part of this is that the bag it’s self actually comes in a plastic bag.

  17. liz August 15, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    I am so glad that some people saw through this concept. As a designer myself, I am am very aware of Far Eastern manufacturing conditions. I don’t really understand enough to offer solutions to substainablity problems regarding the design of bags. I am searching myself. But I do know that much richness is lost in an object when it’s manufacturing is so far away from it’s design origins.

    What I would like to open up for debate is how designers of handbags can create goods for using local manufacturing that thrive in a trend lead market.

  18. J August 14, 2007 at 10:48 am

    mb mullan – your bags are waaaayy cooler!

  19. mb mullan August 13, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I am sort of glad that all those insane people stood on line for a reusable bag because it has brought attention to the issue. But as the previous post said, that bag no where near as “eco-friendly” as it claims to be. I admit that I only started using my own bags about a year ago and have longed for a good looking grocery tote, which is precisely why I designed one. I now have several designs onsale in the brooklyn/ny area and they wlll soon be available online at http://www.minusbags.com. They’re 100% made in the USA, cotton and only $16. — and you don’t have to stand on line…

  20. kia August 13, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I will try to be gracious about this…..this is as bad as tattooing your name on your own body, do we have an identity crisis going on here? Besides the obviously poor taste (and a matter of opinion), how about the manufacturing that went into producing this s bag? AND not to mention, the amount of plastic that went into printing the ridiculous logo on the bag probably took the same amount of plastic it would to make a plastic bag. Sure we should reuse our bags, but please keep it REAL.

  21. CaraRose August 13, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Its certainly up for debate as to whether the debate sparked by this bag is worth how misleading the product is. There have been several reactionary products as well; everything from a canvas bag printed with “I am NOT a douche bag”, to the Progressive Bag Alliance, a group representing plastic companies, producing plastic bags that read ” I AM a plastic bag and I’m 100% recyclable”. Here’s the real issue with this sort of greenwashing: what happens when the trend dies???

  22. Jon August 13, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Anya Hindmarch is also an absolute plagiarist. It looks like she’s actually traced the type from a print from dutch artist Parra.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohwhen/116720079/in/datetaken/

  23. J August 13, 2007 at 9:24 am

    In all honesty – the people buying these bags don’t give a crap about the environment. They just want another designer bag- and the fact that this one is so coveted makes it even more desirable. and as David mentioned- what is so green about this bag anyway? I think items like these are dentrimental to the environmental movement. Another designer pretending to care for a milisecond, and millions of greedy corrupted and equally uncaring consumers want to eat it up. Another battle against the Jones’s living the American Dream- some rich yuppie housewife will tote her purebred chihuaha in this unsustainable bag …and still use plastic at the grocery store (that she sends her underpaid and illegal immigrant worker to in her gas guzzling mercedes SUV). remember those articles about “green washing”?? You’d be hard pressed to find a better example.

  24. Alex August 13, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Is this the bag that when it went on sale in London, was put in a PLASTIC BAG by the sales assistants?

    I couldn’t resist the irony of that.

  25. tom street August 12, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Those going gaga over this bag will be going gaga over something else next year, if not next week, and it won’t necessarily be green. The “need” for this bag just shows that the basic problem, insatiable consumer green, isn’t even attenuated when something is sold that is supposedly good for the environment. While green is trendy at the moment, I will believe that it is a serious movement when there are clear signs that people are consuming less.

    I use cheap cloth bags and would not be caught dead with one of these pretentious fashion statements. And people are paying up to $400. Please.

  26. Leigh August 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    search it on ebay. It’s amazing what they are going for…

  27. Abigail Doan August 12, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Apparently, Wholefoods shoppers have been bitten by the bug as much as the high-heeled fashionistas:

    Anya Hindmarch bags sell out in 29 minutes in NYC

    “It appears that it’s not only us Brits who have gone ga-ga over Anya Hinmarch’s ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ bags. Over in New York the shopping totes sold out within 29 minutes at the Columbus Circle branch of Wholefoods! People queued up overnight, sleeping on camp beds and chairs to grab a bag when the store opened at 8am this morning. The store were selling them in packs of three for US $48.74. One fight broke out when a woman barged in at the front of the line, and another woman fainted with all the excitement!” (via Hippyshopper and Ecorazzi)

    Fashion trend or not, it seems that folks are hungry for this sort of thing. We oddly cannot deny it. I love my old multi-pocketed shopping bag from Italy sans logo or ad message. People ask me all the time where I got it, and I always feel like Anna Wintour x 10 when I can say at the local co-op for the equivalent $2.00.

  28. Richie August 12, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Yes… good points folks: not fair trade, too expensive… pretentious, etc. BUT please do not lose track of the fact that they raise instant awareness wherever they are seen ! they also provoke ‘reactions’, as your comments exemplify. This GOOD that they therefore ‘do’ by simply existing… seems to far outweigh the ‘bad’, wouldn’t you agree.

    At worst, they’re a very inexpensive, highly impactful, Ad campaign… as well as a functional item, and a ‘cool’ fashion item, combined. At worst, they don’t live up to ‘absolute standards of the highest order’ as regards their manufacture. It seems to me that the good they do far outweighs their supposed shortcomings ?

    Regardless of how they are made and from what materials they are made… isn’t combining so many functions into ONE expression a great example of resource conservation ? Of doing more with less ?

  29. Ryan August 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Not to mention that slogan is INCREDIBLY pretentious.

  30. David August 11, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    These bags are not only a waste of money but also not sustainable at all…they are not fair trade, not organic materials, and they are made in China. The whole thing is just a ruse to make money. Regular old canvas bags work just as well…in fact the bags we use have been in our house for years and were either free or very cheap. It’s not sustainable or eco-friendly to buy a non fair trade, non organic fashionable bag for $400.

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