On YouTube, there’s a whole subculture of sneakerheads showing off their impressive shoe collections. In a 2020 video, which has over a million views, a 17-year-old shows us his million-pound collection, including a pair of Air Jordans signed by basketball player Chris Paul. There is also a popular complex series shopping with celebrity trainer fanatics like pete davidson and Bella Hadid (of which the latter once said, “If he’s successful in these…homeboy’s gonna, like, get it”). In the luxury menswear resale space, it’s clear that the appetite for unique sneaker collection persists. But it turns out that searches for rare men’s handbags are coming up more and more on his heels.
There was a time when handbags were considered an accessory reserved for women. Remember this scene in The hangover when the crew laughs at Alan’s purse? “It’s called a satchel,” quips Alan. But as the fashion industry (and consumers) have taken a more gender-neutral approach to design, skirts, heels and bags are (finally) increasingly becoming a unisex item. On Rebag – a popular designer bag resale site – men currently make up between a third and half of the customer base. “Our expanded assortment of luxury handbags from brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Prada and Chanel – especially shoulder bags, messenger bags, cross-body styles and duffel bags – are popular with male consumers,” said Charles Gorra, CEO and Founder. by Rebag.
In the United States, the handbag clientele StockX – another popular online resale market – is now evenly split between men and women. Rachel Makar, director of accessories at StockX, says the growing interest in bags is no different from how men have obsessed over sneakers in the past. “Many of the factors that have influenced sneaker culture and made limited-edition sneakers so sought-after are also fueling the demand for men’s bags and accessories,” she says, adding that exclusive bags or unique designer collaborations in their kind have made bags all the more coveted. On StockX, for example, Louis Vuitton X Supreme bags continue to be a top item, and sales of Louis Vuitton accessories in general (including bags but not shoes) have increased nearly 90% over the past three last years.
It’s no coincidence that catwalks and red carpets have been filled with chic men’s bags lately. As the number of men’s bag options has increased, the resale market has increased through a ripple effect (although that doesn’t mean men aren’t buying women’s styles as well). For this spring/summer 2022 season alone, there were plenty of men’s bags to see. Jil Sander had large brown leather hobo bags on her runways, while Hermès showed off her classic Birkin totes and Dior offered new versions of her signature Saddle shoulder bags. Styles are still decidedly masculine, although less traditional than a briefcase or backpack. Meanwhile, celebrities like Jaden Smith, Harry Styles and Lil Nas X have all come out and the tried-and-true bags are universal pieces – Styles favors a classic Gucci Jackie style and Nas a bolder dog-shaped bag. by Thom Browne.
The sneaker craze is still going strong. According to major menswear buyers for Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, the designer sneaker market is as hot and robust as ever – see the new Gucci X Adidas sneakers, which are already on StockX. The new bag-collecting craze is more piggybacking than outright overtaking. “The men’s bag resale market doesn’t so much take over the sneaker resale market as it builds on it,” Makar says. “There has been a shift among male sneaker fans. Instead of sneakers being the dominant spending category, accessories now compete with sneakers for share of the wallet.