Light and effortless.
The word "tote" means "to carry" which can be traced all the way back to the 1800s. Light, durable and easy-to-carry, the tote bag is an all-season essential which gained mass appeal sometime near the 1940's. The US outdoor label, L.L. BEAN came out with an "ICE BAG" meant to carry ice at a large volume. People then began to entertain the idea that the bag could be used to carry other things like daily groceries and personal belongings. Finally, in the '60s L.L. BEAN released a tote bag made of canvas, opening the door to a spectrum of new ideas and designs for personal tote bags.
Inevitably, after years of iteration, tote bags evolved from being used for just functional purposes, but have become the style-du-jour. Each bringing its own unique character to the bearer's personality, slogans, graphics and logos are emblazoned on a variety of different styles. Recently, New York-label Chinatown Market
, came out with a tote bag resembling the smiley grocery bags that are common around historical Canal Street.
Tote bags seem to appear everywhere whenever summer comes around, probably because of how light and hygienic they can be. Compared to backpacks and messengers, totes give off an effortless feel, without the commitment of packing on a thousand things and having excessive bag straps.