Are you still using plastic shopping bags? What about tiny purses that won't fit your necessities? If you are, the canvas tote bag will quickly become your new best friend.

Canvas tote bags are one of the top trends in fashion, but they've been around for decades. These sustainable, fashionable, and practical bags are ideal for many different kinds of people. 

For more on how this unique bag came to be, read on.

1. First Tote Bags

Tote bags are large pouches or sacks with a carrying handle on the top or sides. This allows for ample storage and comfortable carrying. The word "tote" means "to carry" and dates all the way back to the 17th century. But, the concept of carrying around belongings in large pouches existed during almost every time period in history.

In the 17th century, carriages and wagons became more accessible with drivers for hire and better road conditions. This allowed for more people to travel, carrying more food, clothing, and goods to trade. 

The first tote bags were used for this essential travel and transportation, but today, they're also a chic fashion statement. 

2. 19th Century Totes

As societal needs and fashion trends evolved into the 19th century, big brands adopted the tote bag as both a functional item and a fashion staple.

The first brand to promote the tote bag was L.L. Bean in the 1940s with their utilitarian ice bag. This bag transported ice from one place to another without it melting. Workers, housewives, and grocery shoppers also used the tote bag to carry groceries and other household items. 

Then in the 1960s, more brands and clothing enthusiasts saw canvas tote bags as a hot item to carry. What was once a frumpy, large ice bag was now a more feminine statement piece. With so many unique uses for canvas tote bags, style was no longer an after-thought.

3. Strand Bookstore Totes in the 1980s

When learning about the history of the canvas tote bag, New York City's Strand Bookstore plays an important role. In the 1980s, this iconic bookstore manufactured and sold its own line of totes, which today includes over 100 different designs. 

The first Strand Bookstore totes were small, with only enough room for two books at most. Today, their size is much larger, and people all over the world proudly show them off. In fact, anywhere you go in NYC you'll find someone wearing one. 

Since its first launch, these totes featured Strand's red, oval-shaped logo and tagline, "18 miles of books." This is the first example of custom canvas tote bags that serve the purpose of advertising. Now, many brands both big and small use these bags as a way to promote their business. 

Now, almost every luxury purse brand has some form of a tote bag in its collection. From fashion models to grocery shoppers, these bags are a staple in many people's lives. Without companies like Strand and L.L. Bean embracing the canvas tote, these unique bags would not be where they are today. 

Find Your Canvas Tote Bag Today

Are you looking to find a new fashionable, functional bag? Whether you're shopping for groceries or walking the runway, a canvas tote bag is an essential item to have.

To find your own, shop our collection of bulk canvas tote bags today.