I used to teach sight singing at a school in Belsize Park, North London, and would often pop into the local stores for a quick shop afterwards. That's when I bought my trusted Belsize Bag in the small supermarket.
Let's have a closer look at this nifty shopping tool:
It's a very sturdy canvas bag, with inserted sides, that lets you fit in lots of stuff. I use it as a teaching bag, as it easily carries several A4 folders. The handle is longer than on many other of the cotton shopper bags that we've got at home. That makes it feel more like a proper shoulder bag. The logo is quite simple and minimalist. That means it is recognisable, the bag goes with all kinds of styles and it doesn't look out of place when used as a bag for say books or music, rather than just the weekly trip to the greengrocer.
Since getting settled in High Town it has been on my mind to recreate this idea locally and - with your help - I'm now working on a prototype. You can still vote for your favourite design on the voting page.
One day, ideally, I'd like the High Town Bag to be made out of the same material as the Belsize Bag, but for starters (and to get the pilot version out in time for the High Town Festival), I think we'll stick to the simple cotton shopper option. And the cotton shopper has its advantages as it's really small and fits into your handbag, whereas the canvas bag is too big to take along just in case there are unplanned purchases.
On the back, the Belsize Bag has the names of local shops. I guess these were businesses that supported the bag. It might simply be a list of all the shops on the road. I can't be sure yet, as the website has long been shut down, but I'm hoping to get in touch with the people who were involved (it may have been lead by Budgens, which is where I bought mine), to find out more about how they made it work.
How about you? Have you seen the Belsize Bag, or any other locally branded and sold bags that are out there to help reduce the use of plastic bags? Maybe we can even have a cotton shopper photo competition...? Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear from you!
This afternoon, I finally got round to firming up some ideas about the High Town Bag. After brainstorming with friends, sifting through fabrics, trying out fabric painting and logging the sowing machine out of the loft, I've come to a couple of conclusions:
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