Functionality is rapidly increasing in the fashion industry and accessories with purpose are becoming consumers new bread and butter.

Could this new trend be a result of New Zealander's shift toward greener living? After a petition signed by over 65,000 kiwis calling for a ban on single-use plastic bags, the Government announced a phase-out of the environmental villains. New Zealand will be plastic-bag free by the end of 2019, with many large companies already making the transition. Countdown and Bunnings were among the first larger chains to go plastic bag free, with The Warehouse, New World and a range of other companies hot on their tails.

While the move to ban plastic bags is an environmental victory, many have questioned what alternative will be supplied for customers. Eyes are looking toward the fashion industry, and how brands will adapt to align with the needs of this new practical consumer, as functional accessories become a must have. Retailers who have made the shift to plastic bag free are offering paper or reusable canvas bags as a substitute, but these flimsy fashion nightmares are not an accessory many style-conscious consumers are particularly excited about. Instead, functional fashion bags may be on the rise as a fashionable alternative to the canvas bag. Michael Kors 2018 Spring collection featured a variety of stylish and substantial bags which seemed to reflect this trend toward functional accessories.

Aligning with this trend is an increased demand for functional masculine accessories. Italian designer Gucci jumped onto this craze, teaming up with the New York Yankees to release a limited-edition capsule collection, which includes a range of functional masculine bags. Additionally, fashion giant Coach released limited edition additions to their Dylan 27 collection of male bags, which have been received positively.

All eyes are on the fashion industry, to see how they will respond to this new functionality-oriented consumer.