The cult of the Gentlewoman: Why are we seeing this bag everywhere in Singapore?

Toting tote bags around Singapore is pretty normal – everyone has one. But there’s this one particular bag that has popped up almost everywhere and we don’t know why.

It’s plain, it’s usually black and white, and has the words GENTLE WOMAN across two lines in a hip giant Serif font.

If you live in Singapore, sightings of this bag are as common as bubble tea shops and even more common than spotting Pontianaks sitting on trees.

The bag in question:

Photo: Gentlewoman
Photo: Gentlewoman

Wow so where can I get one? And wait, what is Gentlewoman again?

Sure, if you want to feel the solidarity of having the same exact bag as at least 50 other people on your train carriage, you can purchase one online from the Gentlewoman website.

Some quick research shows that Gentlewoman is a Thai fast fashion brand that has 15 stores in the Bangkok metropolitan area. It also sells more than just tote bags. Think Love, Bonito or Pomelo but with a signature and well-loved tote.

A reasonable explanation for the spike in popularity would be that travel in the region has been pretty active again – mainly between Singapore and Bangkok. Back are the weekend shopping trips, and we can only guess that Gentlewoman was one of the major stops for serious shoppers.

Price-wise, these bags are hella affordable and start from S$12.

Same name as magazine

If the name sounds familiar to some of you, it is also the name of a UK-based magazine that celebrates inspiring, smart and stylish women.

The magazine is still in operation and has featured personalities like Adele, Bjork, Sofia Coppola, Vivienne Westwood and more.

Back to the bags

While the two most common variants are the standard tote and the mini one, more and more versions of the bag have been released. Lucky for us, you can see the whole collection on the streets of Singapore through the dedicated Instagram account @gentlewomanbaginsg.

The account exhaustively documents sightings of the bag in Singapore – and you best believe, there are plenty of them.

The best part of the curation is the on-point captions.

The @gentlewomanbaginsg account told Coconuts, “It’s everywhere, we don’t know what the hype of the bag is about but we’re seeing it all over… but don’t get us wrong please still carry it, we know it is a very spacious, sturdy tote bag.”

“Objectively it’s not an ugly bag but when EVERYONE is carrying it, it becomes an eyesore.”

“Singaporeans are just obsessed with finding new fads and then taking it to the extreme – mala, BTV (Beyond The Vines – we’ll get to this in a bit) dumpling bags, and very soon it’ll be puffy bags,” they added.

Other SG fashion things: a quick overview 

Serious about fashion? Then you might also know about the other trendy Singaporean bag: the Beyond The Vines dumpling bag.

BTV is a local fashion brand known for its use of “color blocking” in its range of clothes and accessories. This means mixing contrasting bright colors – which you can see in their popular line of bags and purses.

As its name suggests, these babies look like little dumplings but they aren’t as cheap as the Gentlewoman tote.

A micro (enough for your tiny wallet, miniature iPhone and family generational wealth) BTV dumpling bag will set you back S$69. Nice.

We asked @gentlewomanbaginsg to choose between the BTV bag and the Gentlewoman one and they quickly replied, “Sorry, neither… maybe the Uniqlo bag LOL.”

And do the men of Singapore have any fashion trends going on for them? Let us introduce you to the Acme De La Vie (ADLV) t-shirt.

Despite the French name (meaning ‘the pinnacle of life’), the streetwear brand is 100% Korean and is wildly popular with the fashionable young men of Singapore.

I guess for every Gentlewoman girl in Singapore, there is an ADLV boy.

Photo: Instagram/@adlvshitposting
Photo: Instagram/@adlvshitposting

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