Brilliant! Shopping bags

Typically, it's the high-fashion, leather-made, lavishly adorned ones that get all the attention. But don't underestimate the power of good 'ol plastic or paper in the big, bad game of branding. Who can forget the Bloomingdale big brown version launched in 1973? A store's bag is a walking billboard - it can reinforce advertising, solidify an image and increase visibility as it's toted around town.

Typically, it’s the high-fashion, leather-made, lavishly adorned ones that get all the attention. But don’t underestimate the power of good ‘ol plastic or paper in the big, bad game of branding. Who can forget the Bloomingdale big brown version launched in 1973? A store’s bag is a walking billboard – it can reinforce advertising, solidify an image and increase visibility as it’s toted around town.

Here are our picks of Canadian brands that would stand out on street corners anywhere.

Aritzia

Image, darling, is everything. So it’s no wonder that Vancouver-based, national retail chain Aritzia redesigns their bags every couple years or so, to stay ahead in the oh-so-fickle fashion race. They recently signed on Toronto-based Concrete Design to refresh their bags, and the result is cosmopolitan, colourful and fashionable – everything that its female, 14- to 35-year-old target market aspires to be. It’s all about being identifiable from a mile away, says the chain’s director of marketing Sally Parrott. Objective achieved.

Sporting Life

OK, so the glam factor on this one is a bit off, but trust us, it gets the nod because of its sheer branding prowess. The long, cable handle and its practical design are a perfect match for the gym-bound, super fit Sporting Life crowd. There’s enough room for runners and a towel – add to that the staying power of its design, which was created in-house, and you have yourself a winner.

Holt Renfrew

Psychedelic design, the Holt’s cachet, and the one-month-and-it’s-gone appeal all melded together to create the perfect bag for deluxe retailer Holt Renfrew during its glitzy ‘Vinyl’ flight last September. The bag, conceived by Toronto’s Concrete Design, was an homage to music and its importance in contemporary lifestyle. We love the retro-feel, and so did the legions of fashionistas (and their wannabe counterparts) strutting down Toronto’s Bloor Street with their newfound status symbol.