Is it OK to own a Manbag?

elephant branded rice sack man bag

There are two types of trend – those that are fleeting and often best forgotten, (we nominate paisley shirts and dungarees for men) and those that arrive one day seemingly out of nowhere, but life would not quite be the same without them.

The manbag most certainly falls into the latter category and this phenomenon looks set to stay. According to Mintel, one in seven men in the UK bought a manbag last year (rising to 24% of those aged 16-34), proving that this is a must-have accessory for men of all ages.

The Power of the Manbag

Defined by a senior fashion analyst as “a bag worn by men, including backpacks and other styles such as shoulder bags”, the man bag covers a wide range of styles as a versatile and practical accessory. Many manbags also have a unisex look which naturally lends itself to a stylish crowd.

We are firm believers in the power of the manbag and we’re not alone. Many of the most prominent designers have introduced manbags to their collections, including Stella McCartney. GQ even wrote a brief history to honour the popularity of this accessory where they traced the origins of the manbag back to Renaissance times and the days when men wore girdle pouches to hold spices, herbs and money. They also acknowledge the influence of the Industrial Revolution on the manbag evolution where the “conception of the railways led to increased demand for sturdier bags.” While out might be a stretch to suggest that the girdle pouch (whatever that may be) will be making a comeback anytime soon, a good sturdy bag is a good alternative to carry around your herbs and spices and any other new fangled gadgets that you might need to transport.

Of course, no article on the manbag would be complete without mentioning the Friends episode where Matt Le Blanc’s Joey Tribbiani became firmly attached to his much-loved manbag. However tongue-in-cheek that might have been, satire has translated into reality with the manbag growing more and more popular by the day.

More recently and we’ve seen the evolution of backpacks from a slightly nerdy staple for schoolchildren into the carrier of choice for some of Hollywood’s most respected A-listers. Manbags have risen up the style stakes alongside this trend as more people are seeking accessories that provide functionality and practicality whilst also looking the part.

A Versatile Accessory

With so many different types of manbag available, it’s also a great trend because it’s adaptable for all ages, functions and environments. The global manbag market value stretches far into the billions, and this style just keeps on giving.

We are proud to be offering a range of manbags as part of the One Good Thing collections. Each one offers something a bit different to truly embrace the versatility of the trend. One of our bestsellers, the Messenger Bag, comes from Elvis and Kresse, who style their pieces from decommissioned British fire hose to create extremely heroic accessories in every way. A multi-adjustable shoulder strap, reclaimed lining made from military-grade parachute silk and a water-resistant, wipe-clean design makes this a very user-friendly item that is also extremely luxurious.

elvis and kresse ethically made messenger bag

Elvis & Kresse Messenger Bag


This British brand have also crafted the Fire Hose Briefcase, a structured style of manbag that has plenty of pockets for your laptop, tablet, cables and all-important documents along with a range of handles and a removable shoulder strap to make the bag your own and fit with any type of need – work or play.

From one strong material to another, we are also proud to present the Clipper Bag Wild from Elephant Branded. Hand crafted from recycled rice bags, it has been produced by villagers in Cambodia with every detail made using reclaimed materials including handles and colour patches from reclaimed motorcycle seat covers. Relaxed with a natural colour palette, it lends itself easily to sit by your side when travelling, heading to the beach, hitting the gym or going away for the weekend. This brand also make their own versions of the ever-popular messenger bags, but with the twist that they are made from either rice sacks or cement bags.

elephant branded ethically made man bag

Elephant Branded Original Clipper Bag


And if you fancy something bright and sunny, they do a stylish larger bag with yellow trim and red-and-white elephant motif. For every one of these you buy, a school kit is hand delivered to a child in Africa or Asia.

All that’s left to do is decide which manbag is right for you. If they’re good enough for Ryan Gosling and David Beckham, they’re certainly good enough for us.


We hope you have enjoyed this celebration of manbags! Don’t forget to stay in touch with One Good Thing on Facebook and Instagram, and be the first to hear all the latest brand updates and breaking news from the global sustainability landscape.

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