Looking to purchase a sturdy knapsack for back to school?
The best bags are made of canvas cloth but you might have to import them, as most bags downtown are made of plastic and cost JA$1000 on average.
However, if you’re looking for quality local designs like those made by St. Thomas native Shanaye Monteith (Deer, 2015, December 10) from designs found on YouTube, then you’ll have to do some serious searching downtown!
Based on my research, the best Canvas Bags can be found on Luke Lane in Downtown Kingston.
Local Canvas Bags – Adidas, Jansport and Matie Bags with Ankara Design
Check out these pictures of various bags made of canvas cloths, some locally made, other cheap imports with Canvas material infused into the design.
The first one is an over-the-shoulder Adidas Bag that’ll set you back JA$800!
These are fairly low quality Canvas bags with a plastic strap and a Velcro Clasp, as the seller also sells these bags along with some brighter variants.
The zipper, strap and buckles, however are made of plastic and are single-stitched. If you buy this bag, take it to a tailor and have him upgrade you by sewing the straps directly to the bag and changing the plastic buckles for metal ones and the zipper to a metallic design.
The next is a set of what we Jamaicans call Matie Bags.
Traditional worn by High School Girls in Jamaica, these colourful bags have an Ankara themed (Deer, 2016, May 11) design that keep you in touch with your African roots. They are locally made, double-stitched and unlike the Adidas bags and have metallic buckles. No zipper required; they close using an internal draw string.
Their camouflage-like design hides the Matie Bags many compartments, which are difficult to spot from a distance!
Also they’re relatively cheap for such well made canvas Bags, costing only JA$2500.
The last buyer I checked had a combination of Matie bags and Jansport Bags made of thick Canvas Cloth. Check out this blue bag with chain, which is not only a fashionable touch but also a very clever security feature to prevent pickpocket opening you zipper from behind.
These are plastic zipper bags; I’d recommend updating the zipper clasp with a metallic fob so that it doesn’t damage the zipper due to frequent opening and closing. Also these bags, which come in Grey as well, only have two (2) compartments.
Despite this, the inside has a water-resistant plastic coating inside, making them great for carrying Laptops and sensitive electronic gadgets! Recommend that you still take this to a tailor to upgrade the stitching between the straps and the bag so as to make them a little stronger!
This seller also has a larger range of Matie Bags than the one I met further up Luke Lane.
These Matie Bags with their pink accents are definately designed with Girls in mind, while playfully splashing in the African Ankara design in their high-quality local bags!
Prices range from JA$2500 for the Matie Bags to JA$3000 for the Canvas Jansport Bags! I’m definately getting the JA$3000 for the Canvas Jansport Bags, as I like the idea of a knapsack with a chain at the back.
To all Jamaicans happy back-to-school Shopping and September is only a few weeks away! And remember to upgrade the bag with the help of a good Tailor!
- Deer, L. (2015, December 10). How St. Thomas native Shanaye Monteith is Sewing School Bags to success in 2016. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/12/Shanaye-Monteith-st-thomas-bagmaker.html
- Deer, L. (2016, May 11). How African Ankara Prints are taking over Jamaica. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/african-ankara-prints-jamaica/