The Daunt Books canvas tote has earned a spot in the new V&A exhibition Bags: Inside Out. To celebrate the occasion, I took my green bag to brunch this past weekend. Now is as good a time as any to approach the topic of the graphic tote. You may be wondering if there is room for graphics in a classic wardrobe. The answer is: Yes; but you have to select them carefully. If I had to describe my collection of graphic totes in a single word, I’d say that it’s curated. Each piece is tasteful and has personal meaning.
When you carry a graphic tote in public, it is bound to get noticed. If the graphic is exceptional, strangers may ask you where they may acquire one themselves. Dealing with these types of inquiries will be a walk in Hyde Park if your bag has sentimental value. I spent many relaxing hours browsing the shelves at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street when I lived in London. On one occasion, a Selfridges sales associate asked after the origin of my beloved tote. I told her about how the books at my favorite shop were arranged on the shelves by country.
Daunt Books is more than a shop. It is a means of travel, a second home library, an intimate venue, and a place where gifts are found. The graphic tote serves as an advertisement for the establishment from which it was purchased. You, the wearer, should be sure that the name displayed on your bag is that of a business with which you’d like to be associated. I carry the green tote as a symbol of my love for Daunt Books, and when I see it slung over another person’s arm, I can’t help but wonder if the stranger and I share the same interests.