A Brief, Yet Thorough, History of the Fanny Pack

The fanny pack has had highs and lows in fashion for centuries, but where exactly did the fanny pack originate from? You might be surprised to know that the fanny pack has roots dating back 5,000 years ago. A mummified iceman, affectionately referred to as Ötzi, was discovered in the Alps in 1991 clad in nothing but fur pants and a fanny pack. Probably more likened to a pouch on a belt, but a fanny pack nevertheless.

Although Ötzi can be accredited as the first fanny pack user, the iceman wasn’t discovered until 1991 and the fanny pack rose to mainstream popularity in the 80’s, so who exactly was ahead of the curve here? Who invented the fanny pack we know and love today? Well, that’s where the mystery lies. The leading theory talks about an Australian woman named Melba Stone who invented it back in 1962, inspired by the pouch of a kangaroo.

Now, you may be wondering, "But when did fanny packs become popular?" Well, by the 1980’s, this practical, hands free, travel bag had landed in North America. Usually made from nylon of the neon variety, these belt bags were functional, durable, and gaudy. As international tourism became more accessible and affordable in the 1980’s, more people opted for these nylon packs on their travels. Tourists around the globe were sporting the fanny pack contributing to it’s hyper popularity only to fade from high-fashion due to the over saturation of the bag. 

As the fashion industry does best, it transformed the ugly, dweeby, and downtrodden to effortless cool. In autumn 1994, Chanel released fanny packs in their signature quilted black lambskin. Rebranded as “belt bags”, these fanny packs took over runways and a vintage from this era could be yours for the low price of $4,000! Although, if you’re a little light on cash, we highly recommend taking a look at our highly fashionable, reasonably-priced fanny packs here.

So how exactly was the fanny pack interpreted off the runway and on to the streets? The belt bag slung over the shoulder and across the back was brought back into style by skateboarders in the 90’s for the practical purpose of keeping their necessities safe while at the skatepark. This skater-inspired fanny pack started to be produced by Supreme which in turn skyrocketed their popularity. At the time, the skateboard park was the epitome of style and it wasn’t before long these skater bags made their way back onto the runway.

Although the fanny pack experienced a brief lull in admiration, it has since made a strong comeback beginning in 2015 as a crossbody waist-bag. Once again fanny packs became a streetwear staple and could be found at major luxury labels from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. Fanny packs were advertised (and are now oftentimes referenced) as shoulder bags, belt bags, waist purses, and even bum bags, adorned and customized in endless ways. Time and time again the fanny pack proves its timelessness and versatility.

This brings us to today. 2020 is quickly becoming known as the year the world turned upside-down, led by the emergence of the novel coronavirus. One could argue that a hands-free bag is more relevant now more than ever. Being able to carry your pandemic essentials, and keeping your hands free while you go about your day, is that little peace of mind we’re all looking for. 

Lucky for you, you can be your practical, pragmatic self, and not ruin your outfit. Shop our hiip sale styles now before we sell out! We have a variety of colors and patterns to choose from and you're going to love your sensible, fashionable, hands-free bag while feeling good knowing you’re also supporting your community! 

Stay hiip!
Info pulled from an original article by Mel Magazine.