A Case For Clear

Beam X Ziploc fanny pack

By Mao Shan Wang

After airlines around the world impose a limit on the quantity of liquids allowed in bags that are to be carried in the cabin, post-September 11, I have given Ziploc bags a life outside the kitchen. Sure, airport security no longer strictly require you to have the secrets to your enviable skin in a see-through case, but I still stick with the Ziploc as I am not especially mindful of screwing the caps of toners and shampoos tight before putting them away for a flight. As you know, mucky or soapy Ziplocs can be easily and inexpensively replaced.

What I did not expect is that Ziploc can become articles of fashion, not especially when many parts of the world are banning (or restricting) the use of disposable plastic bags. To be fair, a Ziploc need not be for one-time use since they are stronger and more resistant to tear that those plastic bags found in the fruit section of supermarkets— available in a roll and can be torn off on the perforated line whenever you need one, or two, or, shocking, more. Thanks to the trend for see-through this and that, from Chanel to Jil Sander, Japan’s Beams has collaborated with the 50-year-old zipper storage bag Ziploc to offer an 8-piece collection of accessories that will delight those who like to let the world see what they transport in their daily commute. A collective metaphor for how so many enjoy exposing their lives as they ’Gram and Twitter their way through the day?

Beam X Ziploc toteI suppose it can be said that Balenciaga’s take on Ikea’s Fraktar bags started this trend of using the most everyday and utilitarian of items to turn into fashionable bags and wearables. It is uncertain if Beams intended this collection to be ironic or on-trend, or humorous since shower curtains have been material of choice for both fashion design students and working designers for a long time, but I do think that the result of this partnership is quite clever and unexpected. What would have been sandwich or freezer bags can now see the light of day in perfect company with such esteemed names as Nike Zoom Fly SP, the see-through-but-not-as-transparent sneakers many are now wearing.

Especially intriguing and attractive, I think, is the bum-bag. Who would have guessed that a Ziploc can morph into this season’s bag of choice? The discreet Ziploc branding is like a little inside joke: cute but not as quick-to-become-a-cliché as the vapid DHL on T-shirts. If the use of a Ziploc bag as a bag is too obvious, how about a visor, cap, umbrella, or even an apron? Beams, it seems, has you covered.

The Beams X Ziploc collection is currently unavailable in Singapore. Your best bet is to get a friend travelling to Japan to cop them for you. Photos: Beams

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