We carry a lot of stuff and bags have become an integral part of our outfits. Do you ever wonder when people started carrying them and what is the evolution of handbags? What were they made of and what did they look like? What was their original purpose? Come with us to an interesting history lesson about beloved handbags.

The Birth of the Handbag

Forerunners of purses can be seen on ancient Egyptian papyruses, antique wall carvings, and frescos. Initially, bags were used for practical purposes: to carry heavy things and for other housekeeping needs. They were made of leather and worn around the waist.

Egyptian papyrus showing belt begs
Many hieroglyphs show males with bags tied around their waists.









Even the Bible mentions bags in which personal belongings were carried. 

With the arrival of pickpockets and thieves in the 14th century, many people carry their money in drawstring bags. Over time, bags have become a status symbol. They were decorated with fringes, ornamented metal inserts, embroidery, and precious stones.

When fashion changed in the 17th and 18th centuries and women began to wear large dresses with lots of material, the way bags were carried also changed. It was inconvenient for women to carry purses on the outside because they would get tangled in the dress, so they wore them inside the dress.

Men’s fashion also changed and so did the pouches that they carried. With the invention of pockets around 1670, men no longer had to carry a purse strapped to a girdle. They did still carry smaller bags to hold their money, which later evolved to become wallets.

The Evolution of Handbags – The First Modern Day Purse

Did it ever occur to you that the appearance of railway traffic also affected purses? There was a demand for new purse styles that were more durable and could hold more items. Luggage makers began to create purses for women to use while traveling on trains. 

Actually, everything begins when entrepreneur Samuel Parkinson noticed that his wife did not have bags of suitable size and durability. While ordering a set of traveling trunks and cases for himself and his wife, he also ordered handbags in a variation of sizes for his wife. He demanded that they be made of fine leather and in different sizes to suit her daily needs and every occasion. And so Mrs. Parkinson became the owner of the first designer bag that later inspired Louis Vuitton and Guccio Gucci’s iconic designs.

At the end of the 19th-century luggage creators like Louis Vuitton, created miniature suitcases called “hand-bags”. They featured solid handles, multiple internal compartments, and a snap closure.

The leather case made by Luis Vuitton in 1928 - evolution of handbags
A wardrobe inside the leather case made by Luis Vuitton in 1928
Photo by Toronto Observer

The Evolution of Handbags – The Changing Form and Function of the Handbag

The most influential factor in the evolution of the handbag was the emancipation of women. As they fought for their rights and began to be away from home more and go to work, the requirements for handbags also changed. Women now needed purses for work documents, practical walking, and visiting bags, and stylish sparkling evening bags. 

In that period, besides being a functional item, a bag became a garment accessory. Women started selecting bags that match shoes or a dress.

 As scientists developed new synthetic materials, these materials were also used to create modern handbags such as PVC and polyurethane. These materials are still in use today, but we all know that quality leather bags are always a better investment.

Today, there are more than 40 bag types to fit every taste: clutches, baguette bags, traveling bags, shoppers, rucksacks, belt bags, and so on. Bags have become an important part of our everyday life – not just a convenient item to hold our necessities from cosmetics to purchases, but a fashionable decoration to a women’s image as well. 

We love bags, but sometimes they take up too much space. That’s why we came up with the idea of ​​creating one that will satisfy all needs and look so chic at the same time.

One bag, multiple ways of wearing, perfect for every occasion. Its name is UniUkiyo Bag.