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Backpack becomes hot new accessory for the office

Friday - 7/25/2014, 5:30am  ET

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Fashion weeks through 2014 have featured backpacks. A model walks the runway during the Emporio Armani show as part of Milan Fashion Week Menswear Spring/Summer 2015 on June 23, 2014 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON -- Back-to-school shopping for the kids always includes buying the ubiquitous backpack. This year, mom and dad might want one for themselves.

More professional men and women are ditching the traditional briefcase and moving to backpacks.

"You're seeing the backpacks not just for your kids, but when you steal five minutes to shop for yourself, you are finding back packs in your section as well," says style expert Lauren Rothman.

Rothman calls the backpack a stylish way to carry everything for work.

"You are seeing a lot more of the fashion-forward designers creating these pieces for the executive on the go," she says.

Consumer tracking group NPD found that backpack sales to U.S. adults were up 33 percent over last year. Women's purchases rose 48 percent to $311 million and sales to men totaled more than $385 million, a 23 percent rise.

Backpack manufacturers like Eastpak, JanSport and high-end luggage manufacturer Tumi are all redesigning styles to look more professional, hip and versatile.

In fact, Tumi's business collection of professional backpacks is the brand's fastest growing style category since 2010, according to ad age.com.

"The back pack is the next evolution for the healthy back," says Rothman, "and to stay stylish."

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