BagTV: The Latest Fashion Accessory?

FASHION/TECHNOLOGY - Jon Marquis's new purse design for 2009 gives fresh meaning to the term "as seen on TV."

In a town obsessed with who carries what, be it the current love affair with Mulberry's "Bayswater," Anya Hindmarsh's green shopper sensation of the "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" canvas tote, or the holy grail of coveted accessories, the Herm├Ęs Birkin, Marquis has found what might be the ultimate "It bag" niche.

It has a built-in DVD player, complete with a 7-inch flat screen on the side.

And it's not nearly as tacky as it sounds. In fact, the high-end leather totes are downright chi-chi.

Marquis says his plan was to take advantage of the increasing supply of gadgetry that women carry in their purses, including iPods and cellphones that can record or carry video, but only offer mini screens for any actual viewing.

"It is our belief that people don't really use these to watch films as the screens are too small," he says of the devices, calling his BagTV the "must-have accessory for true trend followers."

The product, he says, is ideal for frequent travellers who have spent too much time waiting around airports for their flights or stuck in hotel rooms with little choice on TV.

He says his market research shows that mothers with small children are buying the bags – first available in Britain in December – as a portable entertainment option for their kids.

"We have found in research that the bags appeal to both fashion-conscious women and also women with children, who might want to just keep the kids quiet. They can now just say to them, `Watch my bag!'"

The BagTV is a classic shape that gives a respectful nod to the Birkin, and comes in black and red patent leather, as well as white, tan, pink and a fetchingly nautical navy and white combo for spring.

Two brass clasps secure a cover over the screen, which looks like a pocket when it is not in use.

The purse also houses a lightweight DVD and mpeg player, a USB port and an SD card slot for viewing photographs.

Also tucked inside is a separate stand so that the screen can be used on its own.

The battery lasts for 2 1/2 hours and can be recharged on the go using the dashboard cigarette lighter in a car.

All this technology in such a pretty package doesn't come cheap.

It sells on the company's website (bagtv.com) for £295 (about $550 Canadian or $440 US).

Fashion Recessionista

FASHION - Being frugal is the new in look and being a shopaholic is out. So much for "Confessions of a Shopaholic"... that concept is outdated and so much like yesterday's flip flops.

The book "Confessions of a Shopaholic" did well and sold millions but the movie is too late... we're on a new fashion trend now and its all about being frugal during the current American recession.

So what can you do?

Well for starters its time to go to your closet and organize. Make a party of it and maybe invite some friends over for Kool-Aid (cherry with extra sugar and vodka) and get righteously high on sugar and alcohol while you did through your old clothes...

Find out whats in there first. Decide what you can still wear, what is fashionable, what you never wore but still want to and if they're not but your friends want'em and can fit into them... you know the deal.

"Shop till you drop" has been replaced by "shop your closet" and finding new ways to wear your old stuff.

Then your friends do the same thing and suddenly everyone has new clothes that fits and is trendy.

Being a Fashion Recessionista also means going shopping online and finding the best deals, shopping around for sales only when you really need something for work or a special occasion, and no more shopping for the sake of shopping (and filling your closet with more clothes you never wear).

You can also host a home sales party. Kind of like Tupperware Parties, but for clothes and cosmetics.

Another thing to do, and this is more of an environmental thing, is to carry your own tote bag or backpack when you go shopping and refuse to take a shopping bag when the vendors offer you one. You can go with either the "I Am Not A Plastic Bag" or something similar. See The War on Plastic Bags.

Don't overlook menswear. Some men's accessories and fashion items not only look hot on you but are cheaper than buying female accessories.

Now this doesn't make you a Frugalista. There is a difference.

Fashion Recessionistas also shops vintage or off-price, while the "frugalista" makes do with what she already has and mends old clothes. You still buy new clothes, but you're sensible about it. You might even make spend some cash to buy fabric and make your own clothes.

Reconsider summer sleeveless and tank tops. Try pairing them under well tailored suit jackets, or under denim jackets. Layering is in this year which will allow you to wear tanks under sweaters in contrasting colors. Bold colors are ok to wear in the winter time.

I recently read about a guy in Canada who has started his own business sewing quilts. If a guy can do it so can you.

Remember you're not begging. You're just being sensible and fashionable. Eco-Chic is the way to go, even if you do have money to burn, its still cool to show your fashion sense is right on the mark.