Story by: Mariam Egbeyemi
Victoria left home one morning feeling empty. In her subconscious, she knew that something was missing in her fashion build-up though she couldn’t place it. She had however, gone far from the house when she realized what was missing. It was her backpack; a regular companion of hers whenever she is leaving home for school. But on this day, Victoria was not going to school; she was running an errand for her mother that does not in any way require the carrying of a backpack.
Victoria’s case has become the situation of most young people of today who has seen the use of backpack as another form of makeup in their dressing before leaving home. This attitude has practically become an addiction for not a few people.
Backpacks can also be called school bag or school pack. It is carried on one’s back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders. However, there are different makes of the item in terms of size and make. Back packs are commonly used by students, as it makes it useful for them to carry their books and textbooks and other relevant items.
But nowadays, packs are used not only by school children, but also by professionals, who claim to carry their laptops, files, valuable good or items in them. These professionals include bankers, computer scientists, soldiers’ policemen, lawyers, teachers among many others.
When asked why backpacks, some say it makes them comfortable and reduces the stress of carrying their stuffs in different places. Others say is it not comfortable because, it gives them backaches or reduces their walking speed. Depending on the type of load in the backpacks, some get comfortable with it while others don’t.
The American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons has proved that heavy load in a backpack causes injuries such as spine ache, bad walking posture and falling, stressing that a backpack should contain 10-15 percent of a carrier’s body weight.
There are good and bad effects of backpacks, you can reduce the pain it causes by reducing the load you carry and reduce the daily carriage. You should not carry the bags in a particular way all the time, the body is very sensitive so you can carry it with one hand or vice-versa.
According to Ayodeji Adewale, a staff of a multi-national communication company, the act of carrying backpacks comes easy because it helps him to sort all his items in one piece, and create a level of comfortability.
”Carrying backpacks for me has been very easy. I feel very comfortable since I don’t put heavy loads in it,” he said.
Most respondents, who spoke to the Boss, explained that the carrying of backpacks goes beyond keeping valuables. To them, it is a fashion statement which is a part of dressing, and not only that, it compliments attire, and sort of makes the wearer look elegant.
However, Susan Ojukwu, a Fashion Consultant, said that at such a point, a distinction is drawn between the masculine and feminine backpacks. She said that while the women’s type is designed in a stylish and girlish form that looks petite with different attractive colors, which one can wear with a jeans and tank top or any form fashionable top, the men has a more bulkier type, which women also used.
She believes that wearing of backpacks harnesses the dress sense of a woman, most especially, adding that it brings out the smartness of the person when worn with the right attire. She stressed that the regular ‘woman stuffs’ are conveniently put in them.
“I put all my stuff inside, and so do many others. I prefer it to handbags because it’s very comfortable to wear. Once I am dressed, I just pick it up, and off I go.”
But a respondent, who gave her name simply as Zainab Adedeji, a student of Kwara State University believes that backpacks are stressful, and not very comfortable to carry, because according to her, she feels aches in her body whenever she carries it.
“It is not my thing at all; I don’t get comfortable when carrying it. All my body pains me even with the shoulder pad added,” she said.
No matter how it is viewed, Alabi Adeoluwa, a social commentator, said that it is the trending thing now, and people flow with the trend. He stressed that one can get backpacks in different forms, textures and sizes. In fact, according to him, there is one for anyone who is interested.
He opined that there are so many stylish options at the moment, ranging from conventional canvas to pure leather and designer backpacks, and it can be carried with both hands and one hand too, but the most important thing is that it is trendy and classy unlike the use of briefcases which is nerdy and old fashioned.
However, the joy of carrying backpacks is misplaced by most people as some use it to carry different heavy loads, which it is not meant for, thereby defeating the purpose.
“Backpacks are not suitcases as some people have turned to, thereby rendering it useless to carry and unattractive to sight as a fashion statement. The usefulness of backpacks involves carrying ones load in a safe and convenient way without stress,” said another respondent, Bidemi, who goes everywhere with his backpack.
A celebrity menswear stylist Ashley Weston based abroad thinks backpacks are not worn on every cloth especially suits, saying that apart from appearing awkward on the wearer, it can also damage fabrics and pads. He added that doing so amounts to wardrobe malfunction, and unstylish.
“If you’re wearing a suit or blazers often, then a backpack should not be part of dressing. Backpacks can never be worn with any of these outfits because the shoulder straps will ruin the shoulder pads and wrinkle your jacket all over the back. Unless you’re going for the IT guy look, please don’t wear your backpack (or messenger bag!) with these outfits.”
However, a Medical Doctor, Dr. Omoniyi, who specializes in the treatment of bones and bone setting, noted that aside the aesthetics of backpacks on the carrier, there are very intrinsic setbacks involved as regards health when backpacks, either heavy or light are carried. He explained that there is always a weight attached to the bag, and falls on the waist bone, and compresses the shoulder.
“Note that the bone is not fibre or rubber; it is solid. As a result, when it suffers compression, it doesn’t come up again, and gradually, the carrier’s bone is slowly, but steadily flattening,” the doctor said.
No matter what is said of the backpack, one thing is obvious, it is a package for reduction of stress and enhancement of elegance in fashion. Choose the type that is right for you, and pack limited items therein, and you will surely enjoy the use of backpacks.