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Slowly, and then suddenly, the fanny pack has shed its stigma. Once a fast way to self-identify as a tourist, or just uncool, the fanny pack is now trendy. It’s common to see iterations of the trend worn as a cross-body bag, as well as a belt.
It’s a trend that crosses the high-low ends of the spectrum, to an extreme. In mid-August, Forbes’s shopping site, Vetted, ran a story with the headline, “Not a drill: the Lululemon Belt Bag is finally back in stock today,” centered on the $38 style. And Stylecaster has pointed out that Target has a $7 dupe. On the luxury end, there’s Prada’s Re-Nylon Belt Bag ($1,390), a fashion-crowd favorite, Louis Vuitton’s Bumbag (price upon request), and an abundance of other designer options. Just search “belt bag” on Net-a-Porter.
Somewhere in the middle lies Clare V’s Fanny Pack ($285-$325) and Grande Fanny ($325-$385). The two styles are not new for the brand. The brand’s founder, Clare Vivier, introduced them when she opened her first retail stores in 2012. But they have recently surged in popularity, as evidenced by the fact that most colors are currently sold out.
Vivier has loved belt begs for the past 20 years, ever since her husband’s sister gifted her one of her own.
“[At the time,] I swore by fanny packs. I was like, ‘This is the best thing ever.’ But people had to get on board with a fanny pack. They were like, ‘Oh, it’s cheesy; it’s from the ’80s.’ And I was like, ‘No, it’s just really cute,'” she said. “It’s never been not cute to me to have a belt bag. It’s always been very useful: You can cinch a shirt dress or something, and it’s truly hands-free.”
The first fanny pack Vivier introduced under her brand was enough of a hit that she expanded the category to include a larger version, dubbed the Grande Fanny, featuring the brand’s signature interchangeable straps. “That was really a reaction to people wanting to put more stuff in it,” she said.
Now, Clare V releases new colors and textures of the two fanny pack styles via seasonal drops. For fall, it just launched a plum leather version. The Grande Fanny’s sales have grown 83% in the last year, Vivier said. And across the Grande Fanny colorways, there is a 4,500-person waitlist. “There are just certain ones we can’t keep in stock. We’re doing really well with woven leathers right now, and people are looking for the black and the tan and the cream — neutrals they can wear every day.”
Vivier posited that in Los Angeles, where her brand is based, the popularity of the style spread from those behind-the-scenes in Hollywood to those in front of the camera. Her fanny packs have been seen on Reese Witherspoon, Goldie Hawn, Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway and Kaley Cuoco’s character in “The Flight Attendant.”
Vivier pointed to Julie Sarinara, aka @sincerelyjules, as an influencer who has driven sales of the brand’s fanny pack over the years. “She’s L.A.-based and comes to the studio every once in a while. Years ago, she fell in love with our jaguar-print fanny pack. She posted it on her blog many times, and she’s extremely influential — anything she posts takes off,” Vivier said.
One could say the style’s “second coming” started in 2020, however. “I was in New York, and I was on the subway and just running around, and everyone was wearing a big crossbody fanny,” Vivier recalled.
She added that, when sales of tote bags and other work-friendly styles slowed at the start of the pandemic, sales of fanny packs did not. “They feel special, but they’re not crazily priced. And you can wear one every day,. It goes with people’s very active lifestyles, whether they’re a student or a young mom.”