Backpacks are back in with the fashion brigade. These are our top seven picks.

This season, rucksacks have been enjoying the same renaissance in the world of fashion accessories as their near cousins: the bum bag. Whilst the latter have been magically resurrected from the style wastelands of the early nineties and transformed into fresh for 2020 ‘cross-body bags’ with an added sport-luxe look, the former have thrown off their back-to-school vibe and been given the full designer treatment. Whilst a Rucksack 2.0 may not be your go-to when it comes to overly practical dimensions, they do have style in spades. This week we have curated seven of our favourites, from heritage British brands to independent, ethical designers.


Chiltern Backpack, £1195

Mulberry’s Chiltern backpack is a showcase for the beautiful modern leather work that the brand is renowned for. We love that it takes a classic mock-croc but in a contemporary colourway and matte finish to create an understated future heirloom. The deep forest green is a great alternative to black or navy for autumn and will look stunning with a classic camel coat.


Uplands Backpack, £300

With the dimensions of a classic day sack, this smart cream canvas and tan leather combo from Paravel ticks the boxes for roomy dimensions and a satisfying number of pockets yet stays safely on the stylish end of the practical spectrum. With padded shoulder straps and an ergonomic top-carry handle, it would make a cool commuter or cabin bag for the avid traveller – when that day finally comes again.


Midi Maestra Convertible Shoulder Bag, £715

When is a backpack not a backpack? When it’s a clever convertible bag from Senreve that you can wear as a cross-body or a tote, too. The beautiful Italian textured leather in a modern blush shade elevates it out of dreary workwear territory and the midi size is the perfect not-too-big, not-too-small scale for your everyday needs.


Medium Arlington Rucksack, £425

Independent north London design brand LPOL is run by husband-and-wife team Katy and John Maskell Bell who, after meeting at Central Martins, embarked on pioneering a zero-waste production method in their east London factory. Using natural and reclaimed materials in their design-led bags, the Arlington is refreshingly devoid of blingy hardware. With a smart, matte clay-toned leather, its quiet curves and streamlined design feels minimal and understated. A bag you would never tire of and will just get better with age.


Mini Nylon Backpack, £75

The roll-top, monochrome design of Rains mini nylon backpack is as smart and stark as it is functional. The pleasingly minimal lines look crisp and utilitarian against winter khakis and sports-luxe looks.


GG Marmont Mini Leather Backpack, £865

The Gucci Marmont has had a backpack makeover and it’s oh-so-good. Boxy, overtly ‘showy’, with the iconic GG monogram and signature quilting – what is lacks in practical dimensions, it more than makes up for in looks, with its gold chain straps and butter soft suede lining. Heaven in a bag.

Tiba & Marl

Elwood Backpack, £140

Amongst in-the-know parents of small children, Tiba & Marl has long been the nappy bag brand for those far too hip to be carrying a generic bottomless pit of diapers and dummies. Since successfully owning the cool parent corner of the backpack world, they’ve branched out into other realms, including gym bags, commuter rucksacks and just straight up good-looking yet well thought out design. Multi award-winning, the Elwood is the brand’s bestselling number; a beautifully lustred silver number, made from vegan faux leather, has a detachable wet pouch (for small people’s clothes, or your swimsuit at the gym), enough space for a laptop, as well as plenty of pockets and space for stylish day-to-day living.

By Lydia Mansi
November 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.