‘Tis the season which brings joy to a small, but devoted, group…collectors of shopping bags. Obviously the purchase is desired in its own right but the shopping bag, and the packaging in general, adds other elements to the experience. Tactile, visual, and, in the case of one store that I know which puts hard candy inside their shopping bags, the sense of taste is also involved.
Personally I admit to having hoarded "the paper" or, for that matter, "the plastic" since I was a teenager. I stored my bags by hanging them on a hat stand; overlapping so that nothing could be seen of the stand, or most of the underlying bags. It was a dust-trap, it was, most certainly, a fire hazard, and it looked disturbingly like the bogey-man if you woke up in the middle of the night and happened to look that way but it was also, in its own way, a method of holding onto memories.
A Joseph bag with one of Pamela Hanson’s seductive yet strong women moodily staring out from its one dimensional depths would recall a trip to London (and probably the purchase of an over-sized sweater). Katherine Hamnett’s austere yet comforting brown paper bags (another trip to London, another memory…walking across the glass bridge in her Norman Foster designed Brompton Road store to reach the austere wasteland behind).
Thanks to various moves these bags only exist for me now in memory. And thanks to my husband, and his love of "de-cluttering", a similar collection will not begin again, although I do have a few bags sneakily stored in a drawer somewhere.