Last spring I found something I didn't even know I was looking for. It was hanging alone on a hook in the accessories section at Target: a mid-size canvas backpack in an earthy floral print, with fake leather trim, bearing a Disney tag. Which I thought was kind of odd as there was no Disney branding on it otherwise -- no appliquéd cartoon character on the front pocket, no hidden Mickey heads in the pattern (I pretty thoroughly checked).
I bought it and carried nothing else for three months, until one fateful farmer's market when I bought one too many tomatoes and one of the straps separated itself from the bag with extreme contempt. When efforts to mend the injury failed, I mourned my odd Disney Target backpack, and mourned harder when I couldn't find another to replace it.
This year, however, I'm seeing them everywhere, although I still wasn't sure if this was just a sort of fashion confirmation bias on my part -- meaning, I was seeing them everywhere because I was looking for them. So I emailed the marvelous Baze, who has legitimate content expertise in fashion stuff, to ask. It turns out that backpacks are a huge trend! Also that I need to read more fashion websites. I guess it's part of the whole ’90s revival thing.
Even before receiving confirmation on this, the fact that I found my first floral backpack of the season in a Kmart probably should have tipped me off.
What's so great about a floral backpack? SO MANY THINGS. It's big! There's no annoying strap across your front as with messenger and crossbody bags! It makes for better weight distribution if you're carrying a lot of stuff! It's, uh, big? Honestly I don't know where my obsession has come from. I'm probably trying to recapture my youth or having a midlife crisis or something. Don't make me think about it too hard.
Kohl's has about a zillion different floral backpacks right now, most on sale for $35 -- my nearest Kohl's is 40 minutes away, but I'm finding myself seriously considering making the drive for this. Nothing makes me want to go hang out in a Denny's parking lot at 2am listening to Mazzy Star like a dark floral backpack.
I love that Topshop calls this a "Mom" backpack because in my own personal experience, floral denim says "Mom" louder than anything else I can think of. (Hi, Mom!)
I feel like this cotton canvas print is vaguely Marimekko-esque, but happily it only costs 25 bucks because it comes from Forever 21.
Here's one for the daisy fetishist, which is a real thing that is happening in the world today. Sure, it starts with just one top, just one dress, but then next thing you know you're obsessively buying up everything daisy-covered like a compulsive robot whose only programming consists of photos of Drew Barrymore in 1995 and you don't even know why you're doing it anymore.
I've long been obsessed with Cath Kidston bags, because they're fantastic and I love florals as a matter of course, whether they're shaped into backpacks or no. But if you really want to get into the nostalgia angle on this backpack trend, check out the kids' options -- they're child-sized, which looks charmingly shrunken on a grown-up, and even better, they come in vinyl-covered fabric that is functionally waterproof while also having the vintage feel of a midcentury oilcloth tablecloth.
Speaking of classic florals, sports gear manufacturer Gola has a collaboration going with Liberty London. There is no higher floral cred than that.
So what do y'all think? Are you down with a floral backpack? Do you think they're hideous? Is this ’90s thing getting out of hand? I saw real actual convincing teenage goths having a grand time at the beach last week, and if that's a possible result, I have to say I am 100% on board.