I'm going to admit it, the return of drawstring backpacks totally caught me by surprise. Is it because it's an Olympic year, and people are more in tune with athletes and their gear?
One of the first bags I ever made was a drawstring backpack. 1993 or so, per the request of a good friend, who described what she wanted and I made it. Within the next 5-7 years (the 90s are somewhat of a nostalgic haze at this point), the whole ergonomic thing started and the "healthy back bag" debuted to the world. I had one around the time when they first came out, and though I admit it was probably far better for me than a regular backpack, it didn't hold a whole lot. Then again, if you carry on your back all you need to have with you, the "healthy" part of the equation is thrown out the window. Ergonomics and reality don't often mesh.
I'm thinking this newfound popularity of such a simple piece is related to the tote's foray into the spotlight. An open piece with little flourish that does it's job and keeps hands free. Plus it's unisex. At the MOA last weekend I saw a guy in his 60s wearing a navy Converse All Star one. And my love of their sneakers made me a bit envious. So, fifteen years after the first one, I'm thinking of making them again. We'll see, anyway.