Fanny packs are generating nearly a quarter of the US accessories industry’s growth

He’s wearing his fanny pack all wrong.
He’s wearing his fanny pack all wrong.
Image: AP Photo/Francois Mori
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You may know it as a bum bag, a travel pouch, a belly bag, a belt bag, or even a butt pack. But whatever you call it, the fanny pack is having a moment.

Back in July, Quartz fashion reporter Marc Bain noted that fanny packs were “in the midst of a major revival,” with iterations arriving from such high-powered brands as Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. The extent of that revival, however, may surprise you. Despite making up just 1% of fashion-accessories sales, fanny packs were responsible for nearly 25% of the industry’s growth in the first 10 months of this year, according to market-research firm NPD Group. That’s quite an achievement for an accessory that’s been around since 3400 BCE.

Fashion-accessory sales overall grew 4% in the same period, following years of decline. Other strong sellers include backpacks and suitcases.

If you’re contemplating wading into the weird and wonderful world of fanny packs, there are plenty of options—not just which one you buy, but also how you wear it. Fanny packs can go over your behind or around your middle; they can be slung over the shoulder or across the chest. It’s a trend that looks equally good (or bad) on everyone, regardless of size or shape, color or creed.

Not even gender is a barrier. “Fanny packs, or ‘waist bags’ as we now call them, are the fastest-growing segment in the men’s accessories market,” an analyst from NPD Group told the Wall Street Journal (paywall) last year. Fanny pack sales of $100 million between September 2016 and September 2017 sounded staggering at the time—but clearly it was just the tip of the iceberg. Buckle up.