If, like us, you use Instagram as an infinitely scrolling source of fashion inspiration, from new brands to street styling tricks to the ‘it’ items of the moment, you’ll doubtless have stumbled upon the cult of the Cult Gaia ‘Ark’ bag.
The bamboo bag in a half-moon shape with a simple, graphic design and fold-over handles arrived in 2016, and has been gaining unstoppable momentum ever since, counting just about every fashion influencer under the sun amongst its dedicated fan base, along with bona fide stars like Jessica Alba, Michelle Williams and Rihanna.
Prices for the classic Ark in bamboo star at $128 (that’s around £90) for a mini style, ranging up to $188 for the super-sized XL; the small, meanwhile, is available for £135 from Net-A-Porter for UK shoppers unwilling to do battle with US customs charges. Other materials, from colourful acrylic in jewel tones to brushed brass, are available at higher price points, ranging up to around the $500 or £360 mark. So, while the Ark comfortably sits on the ‘affordable’ end of the ‘it’ bag spectrum, it certainly doesn’t constitute your average lunch time buy either. Plus, such is their cult status (sorry not sorry) that the wait list can prove pretty extensive.
Enter high street favourites Topshop, who’ve recently launched a more affordable alternative to the Ark. The shape and structure may be different, with a rectangular shape, simpler cut-out structure and fabric strap, but the Wooden Grab Tote Bag, as it’s been christened by the brand, will certainly satisfy that part of you that keeps surreptitiously returning to the @cultgaia feed for accessories inspiration. Plus, there’s the fact that the £32 price tag makes for a nice incentive. Move fast on this one, because it’s hardly a stretch to see this as the high street’s most in-demand bag of the summer…