the bag origin

Handbags: Origin and History

Nowadays we are used to seeing every woman carrying a bag, usually matched according to the occasion and need. But have you ever wondered where this custom comes from? In this article I will explain where the use of the handbag comes from and how its function has changed over time.

“The brigands ask you for your purse or your life; women want both of them”.

(Samuel Butler)

storia della borsa

The origin of the bag

The term Bag derives from the Middle English bagge, borrowed from Old Norse Baggi(“bag, pack,satchel,bundle”) Originally, bags were not conceived as a sumptuous object to display but as a leather or fabric bag, of various shapes and sizes, used to carry money, food and other objects with you. Perhaps you have never thought about it but the use of the bag dates back to prehistoric times when our ancestors began to weave skins to carry objects of common use of that time such as woods, weapons or various articles and unlike today this object was mainly used by men who moved more frequently than women; subsequently, with the future of the coin in the subsequent epochs, man continued to use small leather pouches to carry coins or valuables.


From pouch to shoulder bag

Through texts and paintings we can say with certainty that these bags were made of leather, a ductile and resistant material that is obtained from the processing of the skin of some animals. The oldest evidence dates back to the twelfth century in Tuscany, where, even today, the creation of leather accessories is famous all over the world. In this period the bags were carried attached to the belt by means of straps or ribbons, or they were kept hung around the neck or, in the case in which the dimensions were large, were carried over the shoulder; In the following centuries the bags began to change both in size and material, according to the needs of those who wore them in the various historical periods.


Women and handbags, imprinting is born 

It was not until the late 1800s-early 1900s that the handbag began to be used by a female audience, when they assumed a greater role within society: women became more dynamic outside the home, whether for leisure or work. In this era handbags reflected the owners in both fabrics and shapes, we find handbags, small, glitzy, uncluttered for the wealthy class; simple, practical and larger for the lower middle class. After the end of World War II, and with greater freedom for women in both work and social spheres, the handbag became an indispensable accessory in a woman’s life, an accessory that is still essential in daily life today.


Now becoming the most status symbol accessory there is, they bear suggestive names, they are the new stars of the fashion firmament. They trigger frenzies and crazy spending. They are never chosen at random because they are indispensable companions of life. They fill up, they scramble, they embrace like a body part.”


Florence Leather Market’s vision

As you can tell, the history of leather bag making and creation goes back many, many centuries, and there are so many shapes and stories for each model of bag that it would be impossible to describe them all. One thing that is certain is that the tradition of leather working in Tuscany has remained and been handed down to the present day.


Florence Leather Market has maintained this tradition by going to combine workmanship with classic and innovative patterns combined with what are the colors of current fashion.

Visit our website https://www.florenceleathermarket.com and discover the right model for you.