Can a bag really change the world? What can possibly be so meaningful about a bag that its very existence can improve the quality of our daily lives, let alone alter the destiny of our planet? Of all the iconic bags – beautiful, iconic and downright desirable as they are – it is perhaps the simple canvas tote by Anya Hindmarch (1968–) that is also one of the cheapest It bag.

Created in collaboration with the British environmental charity We Are What We Do, the Hindmarch bag set out to wean us off our addiction to the plastic bag by making the homey canvas shopper so much more chic. Nicely designed through it was, the bag itself was hardly ground-breaking; its marketing however was inspired. Even before its launch, photographs of celebrities such Keira Knightley carrying the bag had reached media. The hype was so much that in Britain, thousands waited outside supermarkets in the desperate hope of buying one.

Keira Knightley leaving her Anya Hindmarch ‘I’m not a Plastic Bag’ bag

British model Lily Cole with the Anya Hindmarch bag


A backlash was inevitable. Its detractors questioned whether the bag was really so green. Its country of manufacture (China) and its choice of material (not organic cotton) were questionable for its detractors. Despite these, Hindmarch I’m Not a Plastic Bag was iconic in its own right.