The Universal Bag | COOP X Anya Hindmarch

The Changing Landscape of Grocery Shopping

Reflecting on days of yore, it’s quite the challenge to recall a time when a supermarket excursion didn’t entail rummaging through our so-called “bag collection” in the utility room, filled with a myriad of reusable totes we’ve accumulated over the years. In the worst-case scenario, we’d resort to an old but beloved “Bag For Life.” Fortunately, the era of single-use plastic bags has long faded into oblivion, thanks to a government ban on their free distribution, commencing in 2015.

However, even before this legislative shift, London-based designer Anya Hindmarch emerged as a trailblazer in championing the cause of sustainability. In 2007, she introduced the iconic “I Am Not A Plastic Bag” tote, which played a pivotal role in facilitating the transition from plastic to eco-consciousness. This momentous launch sparked massive queues outside Sainsbury’s outlets across the nation. These designer-branded, budget-friendly, and sustainable bags became irresistible to both fashion aficionados and bargain hunters alike, and they continue to fetch a handsome price on eBay to this day.



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The Universal Bag – A New Frontier in Sustainable Style

Fast-forward to today’s era of nostalgia for the Noughties and a prevailing emphasis on sustainability in the world of fashion, and it was high time for a fresh collaboration between Anya Hindmarch and the supermarket sphere. Enter the “Universal Bag.” It embodies durability, reusability, and eco-friendliness, all while being crafted from recycled materials and featuring a clever built-in returns pocket for full recyclability. It stands as the ultimate designer tote bag. Hindmarch herself explains, “We all need a bag to carry our belongings, so I endeavor to create the most robust version from materials that would otherwise end up in landfills—all at an affordable price point so that everyone can embrace it.”

She elaborates further, “The Universal Bag represents a practical response to the ongoing waste issue, and my solution is to fashion an exceptional bag that people will genuinely want to reuse time and time again. It excels at its job—you can stuff it, expose it to puddles, or even use it to carry logs, and it won’t tear or falter. I truly hope it becomes an indispensable companion for those who own one.”

Indeed, Hindmarch’s creation has garnered substantial support from numerous retailers and supermarket chains, with remarkable success. This year, Selfridges Food Hall and Waitrose collaborated on limited-edition versions of the bag in various colors, all of which flew off the shelves almost instantaneously, transforming into coveted collectibles.

If you missed out on the initial release, fret not, for the Universal Bag has now been introduced in a chic green hue through a collaboration with Asda. It is readily available for purchase at 300 stores nationwide. Additionally, come the end of March, a blue Universal Bag will debut in partnership with Co-op, offering ample opportunities to acquire one of your own. In a nod to the Y2K era, these bags can only be procured in-person at select stores.

As for the future, there’s tantalizing news on the horizon. Hindmarch tantalizingly hints, “We’re currently in discussions with food retailers worldwide, but I’m afraid I can’t divulge more at this moment. Keep an eye on this space!”

Additional information


H:1.5" x W: 2.75" x D: 3.0"




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