Among the many things I have chucked out is a jacket (M&S c. 1986), which was bright red, and which had, I have to admit, a fair number of zip pockets. I now realise that I was in at the start of a trend. There was a woman on TV this evening with a pair of jeans which seemed to be possessed of zips – zips that, if shifted, would not lead to a pocket of any worth or purpose, since the jeans were skin-tight. The zip was originally an invention designed to do away with the button (I wonder how many hapless button-makers went bust), but now it is a fashion accessory. It is even a fashion accessory when it gives the impression of being ‘useful’.

This tendency is fairly marked in jackets and jeans, but it has reached new heights (lengths?) with bags, especially small bags. If you lose something, anything at all, and you frisk a bag by opening its zips and peering into its pouches and pockets, you can be sure of one thing: you’ll be back to check it again. Because now matter how many zips you pull, to reveal the inner cavities, you’ll miss one. There will be a zip inside a zip pocket (rather as there always used to be a curious thumb-sized pocket inside a denim jean pocket, which, I can only assume, was for thumbs, providing you were double-jointed).

Whose fault is this? Ours, for buying the many-zipped items on sale? Or the designers for giving us no choice? Ours, I think. It is human nature to think ‘Oh, that’s handy’, when in fact it is nothing of the sort. You think it will stop you fishing in a bag, when actually it makes you unzip zips and fish in a bag, which is not an advance of any shape or form.

It is possible that it is a conspiracy by the Society For Making Things Which Would Just Fit Into A Handy Space, and that we are all victims of a cruel, global operation, masterminded by the zip industry. But I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

A bag or a hat? You decide.

A bag or a hat? You decide.


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