Designer Kunal Rawal on the wide range of bags available for men

  • Kunal Rawal, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 21, 2016 19:18 IST
Think bags for men end at backpacks and briefcases? Think again. Designer Kunal Rawal lets big style lessons out of the bag.

Granted, women have vastly greater choices when it comes to fashion, but men aren’t far behind either. A fashion forward man isn’t confined to carrying a staid briefcase or a basic backpack anymore. The pool of options is rather large, and can get confusing. Selecting the ‘right bag’ for you depends on several factors like commute, what you need to carry, and what your personal style is. The kind of work you do doesn’t matter anymore. It is more about your personal style and preference, not what you are supposed to be carrying or projecting.

Personally, my go-to bags are a black backpack or a medium-sized tan duffel. I personally carry a black backpack and prefer it for any sort of travel. It sits firmly on your back and allows you to keep your hands free. It’s convenient for flights, and ideal for when you are walking or cycling.

It’s important to have a backpack that goes with a lot of your outfits, especially if it’s for daily use. These backpacks can be personalised with a monogrammed name tag, pins, badges, or by hand-painting a puller or handle, or by adding a metal accessory to make it distinctly yours.

If you want a holiday backpack, you could go for a printed or graphic backpack like a Vans printed backpack which is perfect for a tropical holiday. You could also carry some fun bags like Kenzo’s version of the bucket bag for a trip to the beach.

A Hawaiian print school bag.

If you undertake a lot of commute, instead of going for a premium or leather backpack, go for a more rucksack-like backpack which is cheaper and easily washable. Think Eastpak and schoolbags. With backpacks becoming more popular and turning into accessory staples for most brands, we have seasonal ‘it’ bags that stand out — like the famous Fendi Buggies backpack, Valentino owl graphic bag, and the MCM backpack collection. Choosing your bag today says a lot about you and there are many options to play with on websites like, and

You can also consider a satchel if you want a professional look. This season, Burberry launched some seriously masculine looking satchel bags. Duffels are not really handy for longer travels but they make for a great holiday or gym bag. Even totes work well for holidays. However, totes are what I like to call ‘errand bags’. They are great for running smaller errands. Man clutches are more of a travel/money/passport kind of bag but if you tend to lose things, stay away from clutches. I am one of those people, so I prefer a bag that I can carry on my back. If you want a smaller bag, a crossbody bag is a good option.

Fendi Buggies backpack.

For corporates and nine-to-five office goers, anything that can be held in your hand works. You could also go for a briefcase bag with a sling. I’m biased towards backpacks so I’d prefer one with a handle or a sling. Briefcases or its versions are predominantly for meetings. When wearing suits, backpacks can also be carried like a briefcase using the handle.

Luxury duffels have also been popular over the last few decades. I remember my dad carrying only duffels. Over the years, they have made a fashion comeback and are definitely here to stay. There are sportier versions of this bag, like the ones from Luna Rossa Prada, that appeal to many. If you are going on a business trip, opt for convertible duffels that are practical yet compact, and keep your suit crisp.

Kunal Rawal is a leading men’s fashion designer.

Kunal Rawal is a leading men’s fashion designer. He tweets as @kunalrawalvibe. Follow him on Instagram at @kunalrawaldstress

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