Fanny Pack – The Rise, the Fall, and the Rise Again
Circa 1990 I owned my first of two fanny packs. It was a green and black marsupial-like nylon zipper pouch that I wore on my waist and bought at the then Wet N’ Wild, now Hurricane Harbor, gift shop. Even then I suspected the inevitable fast and hard demise of the fanny pack in my young style-conscious mind (much more than now). I did not understand why they named it “fanny” pack when, even at nine years old, I knew it was much more common to wear in the front, not on the backside.
Brothers in Arms
If I knew these special kangaroo pouches were on their way out, why on earth would I get another one? My second fanny pack was a gift from my parents roundabout Christmas 1991. Significantly better quality black leather fanny pack, I was forced by a social need to make my parents feel OK about the gift. I displayed my fanny pack proudly like a Boy Scout wearing a merit badge sash. Luckily, I did not have to suffer alone. My brother received a similar present from “Santa” at a time when receiving the same gift meant the worst, but was practiced the most often.
I'm just glad I didn't have the same fondness for sweatpants, as my brother did who wore a different color everyday. I have my own eccentricities. Moon Boots and Hammer Pants anyone?
Recently, I realized I was an adult. I looked down at my leather messenger bag, which I use for a laptop case, and realized that was the trade-off from fanny pack when I was a kid, to men's leather backpack in college, to messenger bag as an adult. Pondering this past time in my life made me consider some of the more important questions in life…where did fanny packs come from? What is their origin? Who invented them? How long have they been around?
I sought out the aid of today’s fastest information resource, Google, on my journey to have these questions answered. I did not get all my questions answered, but did find out some interesting facts.
Brief History* of the Fanny Pack
The fanny pack (US), hip pack (Canada), or bum bag (UK, Australia) is a small fabric pouch - which comes in many shapes, sizes and colours - secured with a zipper and worn at the waist by a strap around the hips. This is often used by travelers and was more popular during the 1990s. It can be slung either forward, side or to the rear of the wearer and is often considered as utility over fashion.
Other Fanny Pack Facts & Tidbits
- Law Enforcement officers may see a fanny pack as a sign that you might be carrying a gun. The smaller the pack, the more suspicious and seemingly accommodating it is for a handgun. So if you want to seem dangerous…you know what to do.
- The fanny pack was made light of for one of the first times in the public eye on the May 31st, 1990 episode of Seinfeld (Season 1, Episode 2) in which Jerry said to George, “Looks like your belt is digesting a small animal” referring to his fanny pack.
- With the new rise, comes a new name. Designers are now calling them “leather waist packs,” “body wallets” and “belt bags.”
Fanny Packs Rise Again
In my continued search, I sought out signs to see if fanny packs still have fans today. Using the Yahoo! Search Tool, I made a startling discovery! Below are some highly-searched fanny pack variations and their average daily search volume on Yahoo. Please see links under each term for full color illustrations.
fanny pack (224 day)
leather fanny pack (25 day)
gucci fanny pack (18 day)
kid fanny pack (11day)
hunting fanny pack (9 day)
louis vuitton fanny pack (8 day)
waterproof fanny pack (7 day)
gun fanny pack (6 day)
designer fanny pack (6 day)
Seeing these brand names such as Gucci, Coach, and Louis Vuitton, I realized that fanny packs were now accessories of the elite. This is where my thirst for knowledge on the subject ended.
**Update: Now in 2010, I'm looking at leather iPad cases & sleeves for my girlfriend.