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Little Black Backpack: The Trends Back Then

“Honey, we’re moving to Northern California.” My mom dropped the bomb on me—I’d start fifth grade, the big-kid grade, in the foreign wastelands of San Francisco, not sunny, beautiful Los Angeles. I was devastated. Then, a lightbulb went off. 

I was convinced a Prada mini-backpack was the answer to my prayers. It was 1995 and like everyone, I idolized Cher Horowitz from Clueless. She had the best fashion—the knee-high socks, the matching blazer skirt, and the teeny-tiny Prada backpack. All the cool girls had them. If I had one, I could be popular, too—no one would know that I was the dorkiest kid in my fourth grade class 

The $400 price tag ended my dreams of owning one pretty quickly.  

But I was undeterred. As long as I had one that looked like Prada, no one would be the wiser. I didn’t care if it was a knockoff—what it represented was worth much more. 

Of course, my mother balked at its impracticality. “You can’t fit your books in there!” she exclaimed. “Duh, Mom, it’s not for books,” I replied. I couldn’t fit more than an apple and a few erasers in it, but that wasn’t the point. It was fashionable. “Well, where are you going to put your books?” she asked. “I’ll carry them! I’ll have a separate bag for my books and another one for my lunch and ... it’s going to be fine, I promise!” I could sense her skepticism ebbing away, so I pulled out the big guns. 

“Mom, if I don’t have this backpack, everyone will know I’m a dork. No one will want to be friends with me.” Tears welled up in my manipulative little eyes. She’s a lawyer, she knew I was bluffing, but she took pity on me anyway. 

On my first day of fifth grade, I walked into class with my perfect Prada knockoff, nervous but holding my head high. I made a lot of friends that day, but it was thanks to my newfound confidence—not my fabulous bag. 

Related Stories:
Next in The Trends Back Then series: Dreaming of Adidas
What Was Your Favorite Trend from Back Then?
Hollywood Hand-Me-Downs for a Bargain
Knock Off the Knockoffs!

Photo Source: Amazon

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