A trip to the grocery store is becoming a lot more fashionable as consumers look to designer totes to bag their greens and express their style.
Hermes, Stella McCartney and Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni are among the top designers now offering reusable shopping bags that are chic and pricey.
The bags give shoppers an alternative to paper or plastic without sacrificing style.
The Silky Pop Hermes bag, which will go on sale in the U.S. this summer, has a price tag of $960. Made of hand-wrought silk, it collapses into a wallet-size pouch of calfskin. Castiglioni's foldable nylon bag retails for $843. The Stella McCartney organic canvas shopper sells for $495.
Reusable shopping bags which have mostly been confined to farmers' markets and health food co-ops have increased in popularity as cities consider banning the use of certain plastic bags and encourage shoppers to do more for the environment.
Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the use of nonbiodegradable plastic grocery bags. Since then, cities from Boston to Berkeley have taken up similar proposals. Los Angeles County is studying options ranging from an outright ban to better education on recycling.
While the designer bags are eye-catching, cheaper totes are also grabbing attention.
Trader Joe's sells a $1.99 bright blue-and-green print polypropylene sack. And the ''I'm Not a Plastic Bag'' by British handbag designer Anya Hindmarch goes for $15, though it has fetched 10 times that much on the eBay auction Web site.
This month's Vogue magazine urges fashionistas to become more bag-wise: ''No loitering, girls,'' says contributing editor Sarah Mower. ''Today, let us go out and harness the power of fashion to change the way the nation shops.''
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