One shopping bag comes with an accessory that can allow it to be carried as a shoulder bag
By Ray Zhang
The shopping bag has been in fashion for a while now, thanks largely to Balenciaga. But it has not really caught on here. I have not seen that many people carry it, compared to, say, in Japan. In our city, the shopping bag is still associated with supermarkets or going to one. Once, I carried a Porter ‘shopper’ to meet a friend for lunch at 313@Orchard. As I left the train station, I bumped into an acquaintance who asked me, “Going Fairprice, ah?” In less then ten minutes, a neighbour I was not expecting to see, greeted me with “刚买完菜啊 (just finished grocery shopping)?” Fifteen kilometres from my flat? Since then, I have stopped using that bag.
But now I am considering this from the Japanese label John Lawrence Sullivan by the menswear designer Arashi Yanagawa. While the label, once available at a formerly fashionable Tangs, is named after the late American boxer (aka Boston Strong Boy), the clothes are less for the boxing ring than the more fashionable part of any downtown. And this shopping bag too. While you could use it as grocery bag for fresh vegetables and such, it really would not be out of place—once you slip it into the harness that comes with it—if you carry it and catch up with your mates at the now-open night spots for a lager. Or to meet a date for a night out.
At the core is the shopping bag in the identifiable shape of a grocery bag. Use it as it is and be prepared (at least here) to mistaken to have just been to the grocer’s. But, if you take the harness, made of leather and is held together by a metal ring and studs, and slip the shopper into its frame, you get almost an entirely different carrier, one that appears to have the toughness that might be synonymous with Boston Strong Boy. That it has a fetishist vibe about it is rather appealing!
I really like that the harness provides the practical option of carrying the bag over your shoulder, like you might with a tote. It is truly rather amazing that a simple idea of the harness totally transforms the shopping bag. The Japanese have offered other ideas to make the grocery carrier “two-way”, such as the inclusion of single straps looped around the two handles, but it‘s John Lawrence Sullivan’s idea I find most appealing, and desirable.
John Lawrence Sullivan shopping bag, ¥52,800 (approximately SGD570), is unfortunately available only in Japan. Get a friend to cop it at the brand’s Nakameguro store. Photos: John Lawrence Sullivan