Unlocking the Truth
The whole world is always buying bags, from burlap sacks to Hermès Birkins. As we buy the more expensive bags though we expect a certain level of quality, something your not going to find in your “average” bags these days. Brass hardware, hand stitched seems and flashy logo’s are just some of the details that set these bags apart from all the rest. As time has gone by however the technology to create these bags has changed as well, we have moved away from leather goods into a cotton revolution; bags made of a coated cotton canvas — the glamified name for PVC — that resembles leather bags of the past.
With this new bag technology luxury companies are now able to market the bags to a consumer as a functional piece — used loosely — rather then just pure fashion. In the past we have gone into a store to buy the “it” bag or just the one we have been adoring for months, if not years. The only problem with buying these bags most of the time, unless you have a large collection to cycle through, the bag gets worn fast making the life span of this expensive investment quite short. Retailers found a cure for this, the introduction of coated canvas and the idea of a bag being water-resistant and stain-resistant — far from it –.
When you look at an ad, your seeing the beauty of the bag and the millions of dollars spent to get you into the store. You finally get to the store to view and hopefully buy this coveted piece, then followed by a quick shpeel from the associate on how to care for the bag — although not all retailers give this –. One’s that offer this coated canvas option will often tell you that the bag is a) water-resistant — true — and b) stain-resistant — far from it –. Half the time when spending this amount of money, any form of functionality can often help the buyer justify their purchase, but buyer beware.
From owning and working first hand with this product I know myself that these bags that claim to be stain-resistant are far from it, often times until the last minute realizing the damage that has been done. When these bags are coated, it creates a “protective” barrier between the canvas and anything that would normally come into contact with it. The associate then informs you that this makes the bag (cotton) almost impervious to stains, but what protects the coating on the canvas? This is where the misconception comes into play.
You take a coated canvas bag, being light coloured or dark, and rub a pair of medium-dark denim against it. The first little bit you are not going to notice any staining, hopefully, but over time you will. The coating that is protecting the cotton is also attracting the stains as well, giving them a place to settle. Most people don’t see the effects of stains until a few weeks of wear, depending how often you use a bag. As the denim, dark coats and really any other dirt comes into contact with the bag, build up of stain becomes greater and greater until finally dark areas (stains) appear. If left to long these stains are going to become permanent, although while looking at them you think to yourself “that associate promised me this wouldn’t happen.”
Why has this happened though, did I not listen to the associate properly or was I misinformed only to get the sale? These are questions that any person would ask after the hundreds if not thousands spent on a bag seeming wasted after an ugly stain appears. Some stores don’t tell you anything at all when it comes to care of the bag, making you think that maybe its your fault, and other stores for-warning you so that way you avoid this. What my issue is, is when a store tells you that the bag is stain-resistant and your going to be able to wear it with anything, but here you are 2 months later with a bag as blue as your denim.
It is so important to know the faults behind any technologies in the world, whether you are buying a new bag or a new car, you want to feel confident in your investment. As a consumer you have all the power — to a degree — but you also have the ability to bug the associate with as many questions as you can. Find out what the wearability of the piece is, the cleaning instructions and even the warranty behind the product, all parts that can help ensure 100% customer satisfaction — what these big companies want, right? –. Shopping is not just shopping anymore, we need to be smart and informed shoppers no matter what the product is!
P.S. – My favorite secret for all this coated is baby wipes. Any bag that I own from any company I used a baby wipe to remove all dirt and stain (safely & softly). If its good enough for a baby’s bottom, it’s good enough for our little “babies.”