This startup created a unisex bag that can transform from a work
If you've ever begrudged buying an office-ready bag for $200 when you really needed a work purse, a gym-to-office bag, a backpack, and a weekender for ideally the same amount, then you will like the sound of the ANDI Bag.
For $198, the signature ANDI tote is designed to be the most versatile bag you own in every capacity: unisex, weather-proof, convertible (from a tote to a crossbody to a backpack), and altogether uniquely packable — able to fold up to roughly 5% of its size in a snap-out wristlet with key ring. The ANDI is sized to fit a laptop computer, change of shoes and clothes, and miscellaneous accessories easily, and was designed to be your new best travel companion for the plane, weekend trip, or office.
ANDI founder Andrea Weinberg first got the idea when she was living in New York City while working, studying, and patching together a social life. Weinberg wanted a bag that could support her in all weathers and occasions, all the time.
Inspired by her studies on human-focused design processes, Andi spent the next five years working with a small factory in Brooklyn on what would be 60 prototypes before achieving their goal of the transformable, lightweight, durable, and every-day-everywhere bag — what is now known as the company's signature ANDI ($198). It comes in three sizes: small, large (which I tried), and XL.
The ANDI Bag is impressively lightweight yet structured, weather-proof, and — most essentially — "convertible into a number of critical forms." It also has straps to attach a yoga mat, an attachment to a suitcase, and a non-slip shoulder grip.
As Weinberg sees it, ANDI is one early answer to a larger trend. On the website she explains;
Style is the manner in which we make ourselves visual art. Fashion helps us to do this. This form of art is unique in that it must account for the features of our bodies as well as our lifestyles. As the world gets smaller and cities get bigger, we find ourselves more on-the-move than ever. This has given rise to a new fashion movement - what I like to call 'movement wear'.
To balance the needs of a practical tool with something you love to look at and own, the ANDI collection carefully harmonizes style with movement. ANDI totes range from a clean, modern aesthetic to those punched up with strips of electric pink or made from reflective or of-the-moment camouflage.
The company's ethos is to the point: "be good to yourself." As a natural continuation of that idea, the startup tries to "be good" to the world at large, participating in 1% for the planet and manufacturing its vegan bags in New York or in a factory in Taiwan with strict environmental and labor standards.
What it's like in real life: I had a chance to try the ANDI in the sustainable denim and I loved being able to convert the bag from crossbody to backpack. It made shifting from work hours to making myself as beanpole-like as possible in the subway much easier. But, as with all convertibles, you'll have to move more gingerly when getting the backpack situated.
The texturized rubber handles did keep the bag from budging off my shoulder (an upgrade you won't care about until you're carrying a coffee, phone, and an umbrella in a downpour), and the sleek but ultimately low-key exterior upped its versatility — just like its waterproof coating does. It also seems to have never-ending pockets, including a gratefully deep exterior pocket perfect for essentials you don't want in your hands but don't want to dig to the bottom every time for (my metro card and phone for a couple examples).
In terms of what you can fit inside the bag, I think the site may actually be a little modest. If you're a light packer, you could use the large size for a weekend trip. I can easily fit my laptop, sneakers, gym clothes, work clothes, and miscellaneous stuff like a book, makeup bag, and water bottle as well. It packs more than you'd think given the unassuming, lightweight structure, and the fact that it can disappear into such a small bag makes it ideal for traveling, especially when you're headed to a destination with one carry-on and mean to come back with two.
All in all, if you like the look of the ANDI and the convenience of getting three durable, weather-proof bags for one price, the ANDI Bag is a great option for anyone looking for next-level versatility. Plus, you can get 50% off select styles for Memorial Day Weekend.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider's Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at email@example.com.