Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I’m not a plastic bag

It's just a bag. All right, so it's a tote bag designed by Anya Hindmarch, the queen of Bagland. A bag that retails for £5 but is now changing hands for up to £200 on eBay. A bag so hot that it was chosen as the official goodie-bag for guests at the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar-night party. A bag that proclaims, on the cream canvas exterior between its grosgrain trim: "I'm Not a Plastic Bag." But a bag, nonetheless: something to carry groceries in. Not something, one might think, with the power to change the world.
Or is it? Hindmarch's creation is doing much more than making celebrities look good on the streets of New York, Paris and London. It is the must-have fashion accessory of the year - and the most successful endeavour yet by We Are What We Do, a non-profit British campaign group that has set out to change the world with baby steps. Suddenly, those baby steps are turning into a run.
We Are What We Do has published two books since its birth in 2004. The first, Change the World for a Fiver, has sold 750,000 copies. The second, Change the World 9 to 5, released in September, is also recording huge sales. They list "actions" to improve our environmental, community and personal behaviour, such as "Smile and smile back"; "Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth"; and "decline plastic bags wherever possible". And now comes the bag.

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