Tote bag: more than an accessory, a bag with symbolic power

September 07, 2022

Tote bag: more than an accessory, a bag with symbolic power

The tote bag is a great accessory that is both fashionable and functional. A lot of people started using tote bags more than a decade ago as an eco-conscious decision to fight plastic whenever they went to the supermarket. But today, the tote bag is a comfortable bag that everyone (both women and men) uses on a daily basis as a handbag since the designs and colors are endless. 

But when did the tote bag was born? Who invented them? We want to take you on a ride so you can learn a little more about this amazing accessory…

This history of the tote bag

Let’s begin with the origin of the word. Researchers found that the word “tote” has been used as a synonym for “carrying” since the 17th Century. Nevertheless, we must mention that back then, people used regular bags to carry all their belongings. So really, tote bags as we know them today didn’t exist in the 17th Century, just the word.

It was until 1940 that the tote bag was officially born. In the state of Maine, the brand L.L. Bean started selling a clever product: the ice bag. Just as we picture it today, the ice bag was a big, durable bag used to carry ice. Soon people started to realize that the size and shape of this bag were perfect to carry other things. 

A decade later, in the 1950s, women started using it as a bag for groceries and other stuff that had to do with household activities. This is why the brand L.L. Bean launched a “new ice bag”, that was really a tote bag with a more aesthetic and feminine look. It didn’t take long for other companies to start producing tote bags with different designs, colors, textures, zippers, prints, etc. 

The tote bag today

Today the tote bag is worn by both women and men as a fashion accessory and a functional bag. Here in Azul Mejicano, we wanted to take the tote bag to the next level, so we trusted our women artisans to design and manufacture different tote bags that praise the Oaxacan culture and tradition.

Our tote bags are 100% handmade and can be used for different purposes: for school, for work, going shopping, sightseeing, the beach, a normal day, picnics, etc. Check out the designs of our woven palm bags here and purchase the one that goes best with your style. 

The next time you wear a tote bag, remember its origin and wear it proudly, knowing that there is history and a whole community’s tradition behind it!


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