Accessories - Fanny Pack Comeback

How To Capitalize On A Retro Trend

Fanny PackThey’re back! Here are ways to capitalize on a retro apparel accessories trend.

Despite a decidedly mixed reception since they became popular in the 1980s, fanny packs, also known as waist packs, are proving their staying power with a revival that continues to gain momentum. Among the celebrities recently sighted sporting them are Sarah Jessica Parker, Jared Leto and Fergie, and they’ve also been popular in retail and on the catwalks. Designers Alexander Wang, Lilly Sarti and Rudsak all featured waist packs in recent Spring/Summer 2015 fashion shows, and Extreme80s, a Web-based retail store dedicated to 1980s-inspired apparel and accessories, offers a variety of vintage styles.

“The fanny pack is making a huge comeback,” says Alex Morin, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Debco (asi/48885). “They’re no longer relegated to the ’80s, particularly the sporty variety that are making huge waves these days.” Currently, Debco is meeting client demand with the neoprene Thirst Breaker waist pack (N6453) that holds two water bottles, perfect for hiking, camping and fishing.

Two of the most popular styles from Nissin Cap & Bag (asi/30107) are the single-zipper fanny pack (1012) and the three-zipper fanny pack (1015), made of 600D polyester with a heavy vinyl backing. “We’ve had a number of inquiries for waterproof and water-repellent styles,” says Vice President Julia Hong, “particularly from customers who might be using these near water, such as water park lifeguards.”

Possible applications for fanny packs run the gamut, says Kevin Xiao, vice president of Atteff International (asi/37455), who cites camps, lifeguard stations, YMCAs, banks, conferences and travel agencies as promising clients. “Some of our high-end fanny packs, such as the Mossy Oak camo outdoor pack with gun compartment (BF1729MO), are good options for outdoor/hunting events and activities,” he explains.

For end-buyers who want a super streamlined look in addition to quick, hands-free access to essentials, check out goband (asi/61103), which offers a flattering, fitted hip-band organizer that’s ideal for active lifestyles. “They’re perfect for yoga studios, gyms, swim clubs, schools and walks/runs,” says Christine Santori, sales representative. She notes that the editor-at-large of Oprah’s O magazine, Gayle King, wore a fanny pack in a fall issue, calling it the “perfect accessory.”

When looking to embellish fanny packs, consider screen printing and heat transfers. Goband even offers bling and rhinestones. Embroidery is a possibility, though often, Hong says, the pockets prove too small for the hoop.

“Many companies are now gravitating toward full-color decorating options,” Morin says. “Lately, decorators have been incorporating cool wraparound artwork that showcases brilliant graphics and contemporary taglines. We’ve also seen some pretty awesome sublimation.”