History of Bags: A Journey Through Time

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Have you ever wondered how handbags came to be? What function did they serve in the past and how have they evolved to become a must-have fashion accessory? In this post we tell you the history of bags, a journey through time that will surprise you.

Bags are much more than just fashion accessories; they are faithful companions that have evolved throughout history, reflecting the culture and needs of each era. From primitive containers to contemporary designer pieces, the history of bags is a fascinating journey through time that reveals much about the society and fashion of each period.

The origins of bags go back to prehistoric times, when humans used animal skins to transport their personal belongings. These primitive bags were tied at the waist or on the shoulder and were used to store tools, food or amulets. Over the centuries, bags have acquired more varied shapes and materials, such as leather, linen or silk.

The First Bags: Functionality over Style

At the dawn of human history, the need to carry essential personal items led to the creation of the first bags. These rudimentary bags were primarily functional, made from natural materials such as leaves and animal skins.

The ancient Egyptians, for example, used woven bags to transport amulets and food. As societies evolved, bags took on different shapes and meanings, from long-strap bags used by the Romans to medieval mesh bags.

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Elegance and Symbolism

During the Middle Ages, bags began to acquire a symbolic and aesthetic dimension. The bags of the time were small and richly decorated, used mainly by high society to carry valuable objects and perfumes.

In the Renaissance, bags became a canvas for exquisite craftsmanship, embellished with embroidery and precious stones. These bags were not just accessories, but symbols of status and power.

18th and 19th centuries: Industrial Revolution and New Forms

The Industrial Revolution brought with it mass manufacturing and the availability of new materials, which allowed for greater variety in bag design. During the 18th century, mesh bags became fashionable, and in the 19th century handbags and travel bags emerged . Victorian fashion introduced the idea of matching bags with outfits, driving the demand for bags that would suit different occasions and styles.

The 20th Century: Innovation and Personal Expression

The 20th century brought with it an explosion of creativity in bag design. The influence of fashion and modern art was reflected in bags that were true works of art. Coco Chanel presented the iconic quilted bag, and Hermès launched the famous Birkin. During the 1960s and 1970s, handbags reflected the cultural and social revolution, adopting more informal shapes and unconventional materials.

21st century: Functionality and Sustainability

In the 21st century, functionality and sustainability have become key considerations in bag design. Technology has enabled the creation of bags with innovative features, such as wireless charging and GPS tracking. In addition, environmental awareness has driven the adoption of sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing practices in the bag industry.


The history of bags is a fascinating testimony to the evolution of fashion, society and craftsmanship over time. From primitive leaf bags to 21st century high-tech designs, bags have reflected the needs and aspirations of each era.

As we move into the future, it is exciting to think about how bags will continue to be an integral part of our personal and cultural expression, always evolving to meet our changing needs.

Did you like this journey through the history of bags? At Bell Tower Spain We hope so and that you have had fun learning about how these wonderful accessories have evolved. If you want to know more about bags or see some of our most original and exclusive models, visit our section at leather bags for women or follow us on our social networks. We are waiting for you!