For Fashion Look At a Budget Price, These Beribboned Bags Are the Thing

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For Fashion Look At a Budget Price, These Beribboned Bags Are the Thing

The hottest fashion accessories in town these days are not those from designers such as Christian Dior or Gucci. The depressed national economy seems to have suppressed people's desire to purchase extravagant fashion items. Now, buyers go for affordable and practical things, such as bags with the brand name "NaRaYa."

With a price range from 17,000 won ($13) to 32,000 won, these bags have become, since last winter, must-have items for young women in their teens and 20s. Walking through downtown Seoul, one cannot miss young women proudly carrying these cloth bags in various colors and designs, with highlighted super-sized ribbons.

Lee Ki-jong, the manager of the production company, says, "Now that our bags are made of satin, which is a shiny and light fabric, you can have a classy look at an affordable price." The cloth used is quilted satin, especially made so it is washable in water. But the most prominent part of these bags are the ribbons, which are impressive enough that they are nicknamed "ribbon bags."

Ribbon bags come in ten colors, including gold, silver, pink, purple and black. Cream will be in the market for summer. "The most popular colors this spring are gold and pink," Mr Lee said.

The bags also come in a variety of designs which are made for different purposes. These include shoulder bags, back packs, handbags and small pouches.

Uhm Yoon-sun, a 14-year-old student at Oryun Girls' Middle School, who identified herself as a fanatic for these ribbon bags, said, "The little pouches for odds and ends come in especially handy." But Miss Uhm also had a criticism to offer, "You have to be careful in handling these bags as they become fluffy too easily."

Although ribbon bags do not have a long history as a hot item, they have been around for the last seven years, not only in the Korean market but also in Thailand and Japan. Previously, they had been regarded as only for mothers to carry diapers in because they were light and practical.

But these days young women are showing more interest in them and some have gone so far as to form an online club dedicated to ribbon bags. There are over 1,500 members in the club, named "Those Who Love NaRaYa Ribbon Bags."

One of the members, Cho Jung-eun, a student at Hwigyeong Girls' High School, says, "Even though this is just a passing fad, I will stick to these ribbon bags."

Even though NaRaYa bags will not make you a trendsetter, it will satisfy your desire to stand out, at a reasonable price.

There are 15 NaRaYa shops nationwide, including one in front of Ewha Womans University in Sinchon (02-393-0526) and one in Apgujeong-dong (02-542-9123, Korean service only).

by Chun Su-jin

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