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.

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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