We Roadtest The First ‘Selfie’ Handbag

Lulu Guinness’s bag promises to take candid snaps as you swing it around. Novelty or genius idea? Photograph by Luke & Nik


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

‘Wearable technology’: two words that, put together, ring giant fashion alarm bells. The pitfalls of any novel product is that, well, normally it looks novelty. The words inevitably conjure up images of Inspector Gadget-style trilbies with protruding periscopes. But whilst Google specs make Dame Edna’s frames look sensible (we think we’ll stick to our Ray-Bans, thanks), there is a new foray into fashion tech that piqued our interest – the first ever selfie bag. Designed by Lulu Guinness as a collaboration with Autographer, it’s billed as the world’s first wearable camera bag.


The Lulu bag is less James Bond, more Bond Street. The design, from Lulu’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, is a super chic, tongue-in-cheek take on the selfie; it’s a monochrome, leather messenger bag with a single enlarged eye appliquéd on the front. Here’s the twist: the pupil serves as a hole for the lipstick-sized camera inside. It’s not just a pretty face, though. The camera has a 136-degree wide-angle lens and five built-in sensors that register when to take a photo. You can capture up to 2,000 images a day, as ‘stop motion’ photos that can be turned into animated GIFs or little videos.

Despite a worryingly intimate relationship with my iPhone, I don’t profess to be a tech whiz. I’m also not an ‘instructions’ kind of a gal – let’s be real, who is? So, the palm-sized manual and easy-peasy settings were welcomed. The camera has no screen, and after being pretty sure I’d taken at least six double-chin selfies (I can now confirm that I had), and suddenly feeling guilty for mocking my dad’s Zoolander-esque ‘it’s in the computer’ attempts to master an iPod last Christmas, I proudly slipped the bag on my shoulder and set off. As I strolled down the street I was already beginning to wonder what my bag might be capturing.


First stop was coffee with a friend who instantly complimented me on my bag. I let the camera do its thing as my friend ogled the bag at point blank range, secretly knowing that this would provide excellent footage later. As I hit the sales that afternoon and hastily pulled skirts over my jeans, I propped the bag behind me, facing the mirror. I declined to take my usual shop floor selfie and put the bag to work. Sure enough, when I got home and reviewed the footage, the bag had done the leg-work for me. Dear ‘White Denim Dress’, I will be back for you.

A visit to an art gallery later on proved interesting, too. As my companions stood, face in screen, hands full, I stood smugly taking in the exhibition, nodding slowly and pretending to know what I was doing. And here’s where is struck me – this is discreet technology. The bag stops you moronically blocking out the sun with your smart phone as you walk down Oxford Street. You no longer have to be that guy, hands in the air, craning to get a picture of his latte art-work. Hell, you can even pause and take in your surroundings. At dinner, as a friend cut across conversation to take a picture of our food, I felt slightly miffed. It’s been increasingly acceptable to block out friends with your iPhone, but technology like Lulu’s bag stands to put a stylish end to anti-social social-media behavior.

The hands-free aspect of the camera came into its own when I mounted my Boris bike home. I made a (somewhat geeky) film of my cycle that evening – I’d captured pedestrians, nature and mainly my own knees. It occurred to me how successful the bag might be when you want to capture an atmosphere – maybe a friend’s birthday or at a festival, times when no one wants to be the ‘designated snapper’.


As I sifted through my images some things became very clear – I gesticulate an awful lot, people stare and I drink too much tea. I’d taken genuinely natural shots that you don’t get from hollering ‘look natural’ as you’re met with your already pouting group of friends. The best way to describe the result is that it’s like analogue photography – but digital. You don’t know what you’re going to get and some pictures end up being downright weird – but that's the fun of it. Only with one huge upside: not having to pay 12 quid in Boots to realise you’ve reduced Glasto to 50 angles of grass and your cousin’s wedding to 12 red-eyed, sticky dance-floor manoeuvres (great memories, you protest!).

Making the film was really fun, but I don’t think Steve McQueen has anything to worry about. However, this tech puts you in the editor’s chair and gives you plenty of takes. This is documentary making 2014-style. Forget the selfie… meet the ‘Lifey’.

The limited edition Autographer bag, £395, will be available from Lulu Guinness stores and online from 4th July.

Follow Nellie on Twitter @nelliefaitheden

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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