I have a confession to make: I used to love Instagram and now I find it a bit of a drag. There are many reasons for this: one being what a time suck it becomes, the second being how perfect everything appears at every moment, and thirdly a lot of the people that I follow when it comes to the fashion realm are wearing pretty much the same thing all the time. I find Instagram to be so perfectly curated that it feels overly staged to me (it’s not lost on me that we strive to have an attractive and fun Instagram page ourselves, but we do have some new ideas for it that we will be implementing soon) but on the flip side I can say that because of accounts I follow I’ve been able to discover some really cool items and see trends when it comes to bags people are carrying.
If you follow a lot of fashion bloggers on Instagram, you’ll see the same items being posted by many accounts. This can be for a variety of reasons including they’re being paid and/or they were gifted at the same time. Since we are much more of a niche market, our account obviously focuses on bags (and if you’re not already, you should follow us). I’m always looking for new bags and one bag that I continued to see on many accounts across Instagram for months now is the Cult Gaia Ark Bag. Amanda wrote about this back in April and since then the love for this bag hasn’t seemed to fizzle. The Ark bag is entirely different from any bag out there right now, and I wanted to buy one and try it out to see if this bag is worth the hype.
First off, this bag sells out often. I ordered mine via Net-A-Porter but this bag is rarely in stock and right now the classic style is sold out but there are really cool options for pre-order at Moda Operandi if you’re interested. The Cult Gaia Ark Bag has been splattered across my Instagram feed – many bloggers that I follow have this bag and carry it often. The style is entirely different other designer bags right now with its semi-circle shape that was inspired by Japanese picnic baskets.
Let me state the obvious: this bag is really cool. It’s different, unique and if you carry this bag, you won’t have many people confusing it for another brand, rather they may ask you who makes the bag because they want one too. But this bag is also very specific; there’s a specific time and place and way to carry it, and it’s not for everyone or every occasion. I have a really hard time figuring out when it is that I can carry this bag since Millie is with me at all times pretty much. If Millie is with me, this bag simply does not work. There’s no shoulder strap and it has to be handheld in a way that really uses your hand (I know that sounds silly, but I mean how your hand has to grasp the bag requires all of that hand’s attention to keep the bag from falling).
The Ark Bag is lightweight as it’s made from bamboo, but the fact that there’s sizable open slats, the lack of an optional shoulder strap, and the way you have to hold it, makes it hard to actually carry a lot and do so comfortably. This bag is the definition of a hand held bag and that isn’t always easy to do. I’m a chronic over-packer. If you look into any of my bags you’ll see that I don’t change out the items enough and I always carry random maybe-I’ll-need-this junk. It’s a fault of mine but it’s only gotten worse since having Millie. And when you have a bag that you can look into, I don’t think you want oversized items or random receipts floating around. You want this bag to look cool and light and make everyone think you’re so low maintenance you only need a couple items with you at all times. For example, I put my keys in the bag, because my bag definetly always carries my keys -and guess what? The keys didn’t fall out but individual keys started to slide through the openings. Are other people putting their keys in a perfect pouch when they carry this bag? Where are their keys? Am I simply not cool enough to carry a see-through bag that needs to be curated well to make sense? Come to think of it, on most of the images I’ve seen on Instagram with people carrying this bag, I rarely can tell if they’re actually carrying anything inside. You can see how I planned out what to carry inside of mine, so while it was items I needed, it was also curated to look good through the bag.
Is any bag worth this much work to make it look good? I took this bag with us for a mini stay-cation in Miami Beach a few weeks ago. Walking around the hotel, I could carry this bag and it fit right in. The bag is effortlessly cool and such a different look from what you typically see. For how impractical it is for day-to-day use for me, I found myself loving it in spite of that. I liked how easily it can be paired with denim or a casual black dress and look effortlessly fashion forward. And though it isn’t highly practical for day-to-day use for me, it is a great bag for summer and those who live in a tropical locale like we do. One of the other reasons I can easily get behind this bag is the price – it’s not outrageous and that makes it an easy novelty bag to own. If I am going to buy a bag that I consider a novelty, I am not looking to spend a fortune, and this bag isn’t a fortune. There are two sizes, small and large, and in addition to the typically sold out bamboo, this bag comes in a variety of colored acrylic options now as well. The small size measures 11″ x 3″ x 8″ while the large measures 12.5″ x 4″ x 10.5″.
The bamboo is priced at $128 and $138 respectively. Nabbing the bamboo version of this bag proves difficult, as that is the version that sells out quickly. I happened to see it and grab it and if you want one Moda Operandi has so many options for pre-order. There are really fun, playful acrylic versions as well that cost $298 via ShopBop.
So what do you think about the Cult Gaia Ark Bag? I’d love to hear your thoughts!