Eastpak (Yes, Eastpak) Is Back on Our Radar

Photo: Courtesy of Eastpak

Eastpak hasn't been at the top of our fashion radar since we were 7 and determined to have the most bitchin' backpack on the block for the first day of first grade. But when Eastpak showed its spring '09 line at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this month, we did a double take. The nylon hoodies, printed zip-ups, and neon-streaked tees didn't look like they should be confined to the woods or elementary schools. The stuff was far too eye-catching and sleek for that.

The show proved the label is trying to be something more than a sporting-goods store brand. And they're succeeding on and off the runway. Prior to the successful showing in Berlin, Eastpak arranged two collaborations (a fantastic way to cash in on streetwear's favorite meme) with major high-fashion designers. We learned a few weeks ago they tapped Eley Kishimoto to do a capsule collection for spring 2009, full of backpacks and messenger bags plastered with jagged-edge swirls in blue, red, or black colorways. Before that the brand partnered with Raf Simons, who designed a capsule collection for the spring '08 collection. Two designer collaborations in less than a year? Watch out, Puma. Collections that makes us want to feel that cool Eastpak nylon on our backs again? Watch out, world. —Sharon Clott

Eastpak S/S09 [Highsnobette]