…is top of The Lyst Index of Fashion’s “hottest products”. And it is not a luxury brand
Trending now from the just-released Q1 2023 “hottest brands” ranking of The Lyst Index is a pair of labels from the Prada Group that has taken the top two spots: Prada, followed by Miu Miu. Many Prada followers are thrilled that the once languishing proponent of nylon bags as luxury accessories has again stayed at the apex after Q4 2022’s admiral climb to the very top. The brand’s leading position is hardly surprising, considering that Prada has been enjoying an impressive run since Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons became co-designers in 2020, and generated €3.252 million (or about SGD4,755,278) in retail sales last year, as reported by the brand. Miu Miu is definitely no laggard, clocking at €432 million last year (possibly because they used less cloth with those popular ultra-mini-skirts?). Sure, the combined sales pale in comparison to Louis Vuitton’s (ranked 13 on the Index) €20 billion, but Prada has shown that not outdoing the world’s most valuable luxury brand is not necessarily a bad thing.
Prada’s nylon bags may still be the ones that many with no aversion to high prices turn to when looking for soft, less structured crossbodies, but one that seems to trump those with the inverted triangle plaque is from Uniqlo. According to The Lyst Index’s less buzzy “hottest products” listing, the Japanese brand’s ‘Round Mini Shoulder Bag’ is “the cheapest product to ever be featured” in the top-ten line-up (it sits at the top). And it’s one of only two bags that made the list (the other is the USD1,080 [or SGD1,440] heart-shaped Alaïa Le Coeur). A considerable triumph since the bag, launched last April, is not likely to be coveted for its exceptional stylishness, although Uniqlo does describe it as an article of “sophisticated design”. What clearly worked in its favour is the more-than-59-million views it has enjoyed on TikTok so far, with users showing how much more they can stuff into the little satchel.
It is a practical bag, moderately larger than the average sacoche, but definitely more capacious. Uniqlo is confident that “it easily handles all your daily essentials, such as your phone, wallet and water bottle”. You might, in fact, fit a compact umbrella in it if the water bottle is not a must. (There are two interior pockets for receipts and such.) Although Uniqlo describes the shape of the bag as “round”, it is more of a half-round, something akin to kidney shape, especially after it’s weighted, with hints of Loewe’s ‘Luna’. The bag is lightly padded and comes in two surface treatments, one with a smooth finish (water repellent) and the other “with a naturally wrinkled texture”. Both feel good to the touch As the bag is padded, it is comfortable to hold or to carry close to the body. The unisex bag is available in a large array of colours (we counted close to ten), as well as those in prints that are a collaboration with the estate of Keith Haring. Perhaps more crucial, at S$19.90, it is what social media users call “a steal”. Or, perhaps, to others, “luxury”.
Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag is available in stores and online. Photo: Zhao Xiangji