The fanny pack is back.
What used to be a major fashion faux pas is now trendier than ever — especially on college campuses.
If you search #fannypack on Instagram, you’ll find 110,000 results, and almost none of them are mocking the waist purse.
Why the comeback?
It seems college students have finally caught on to what dorky dads have known for decades: fanny packs are just plain convenient.
“A fanny pack is small enough that it holds the essentials, such as your keys, ID, money, and cell phone, while also being hands free,” explains Wake Forest sophomore Elizabeth Coogan.
Coogan didn’t know about the trend until she was introduced to them by her college sorority sisters.
“I got my first fanny pack when I went to college and I absolutely love it,” she said. “Ever since I got mine, it’s the one thing I consistently bring with me when I go anywhere where I would be worried about losing my purse.”
Sororities are major contributors to the rise in pack popularity, with many companies, like GreekU, selling customisable options to sisterhoods across the country.
“The fanny pack has been our biggest product over the last year, it’s extremely popular and the majority of the orders come from sororities, with the occasional fraternity,” Daniel Passov, owner of GreekU, told BI.
Passov has seen huge increase in demand over the past two academic years. From the 2013-2014 school year to the 2014-2015 school year, GreekU’s orders for fanny packs have increased 130%, Passov said.
“That’s 2.3 times the amount of product we were doing before, that’s huge,” he explained.
Greek systems on college campuses offer a traditionally steady business.
“The Greek industry hasn’t grow and what Greek societies order is very consistent. They get very specific things for annual events.” Passov said. “It’s only once and a while you get a really hot item that sells this well.”
GreekU’s spike in fanny pack sales is unlike others he has seen before. “I want to be in a sorority solely for the fanny pack,” a girl named Samantha Rubenstein tweeted in November of 2014.
“Traditional increases on hot ticket items are 10%, maybe 20%,” Passov said.
Online stores that closely monitor their search engine traffic have also picked up on the trend.
“We’ve seen that Google searches for the term ‘fanny pack’ are up by about 30% in 2015 over 2014,” explained Evan Mendelsohn, owner of Tipsy Elves, an online store which sells novelty and theme apparel and accessories.
“We first started selling fanny packs in 2011 and we have definitely seen a significant year over year increase in both demand and sales,” Mendelsohn told BI. “We think a lot of this demand comes from a proliferation in music festivals, where festival-goers routinely wear fanny packs as a convenient and hands-free way to carry their valuables and accessories.”
Mendelsohn’s theory about musical festivals add ups. This year, fanny packs were all the rage at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City.
The return of the fanny pack has also been documented in BuzzFeed multiple times as of late.
Even brick-and-mortar stores are noticing the uptick. Millennial staple American Apparel has also seen an uptick in their fanny pack sales. From 2010 to 2014, the company sold 170 thousand fanny pack units, with 60 thousand of them selling in the last year, a representative from American Apparel told BI.
“The fanny packs have been doing better and better,” the company said.
As for wearing a fanny pack, ignore the name and turn the pack around. The predominant style these days is to wear the pack slung over the hips and abdomen, at a slightly lower point than where the packs were worn in the ’80s.
“I find it more convenient to wear it on the front and clip it in the back so whatever is inside is easily accessible,” explained Elon University sophomore Maddy. “But as long as a person feels confident wearing the fanny pack, there is no right or wrong way to wear it.”
But somehow, people who remember the last time fanny packs were popular haven’t quite realised the packs are back en vogue.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.