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As many students return to the classroom, September is poised to be a back-to-school season like no other. “I think this is the most important back to school we’re ever going to have,” says Jamie Cormack, co-founder and managing director of Herschel Supply Co., a Vancouver-based company that specializes in bags of all sorts, including backpacks. “We really set out to be an expert in the category,” Cormack says.

When Cormack and his brother, Lyndon, founded Herschel Supply in 2009, their goal was to breathe life back into bags. “Outside of outdoor and luxury, there really wasn’t a lot going on,” he says. Offering styles that range from backpacks, duffles, totes and crossbody to luggage and accessories for adults and children alike, Herschel is often inspired by the needs of world travellers. “We’ve always said that we want to be travellers, not tourists,” Cormack says. In addition to back-to-school-ready backpacks, some of Herschel’s popular styles include hip packs, which Cormack says are ideal for shorter day trips close to home, and a new line of insulated coolers, backpacks and totes.

Now available in some 90 countries, Herschel is undertaking design partnerships with the likes of movie franchise Star Wars, skateboarding brand Independent Truck Company and Andy Warhol. Collaborating with like-minded brands and artists is an approach that reflects Herschel’s Vancouver home base. It’s a city that offers the best of the outdoors and creative culture. “We always take a design philosophy that we have one foot in nature and one foot in the city,” Cormack says.

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Day/Night Herschel Heritage youth backpack, $80.

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Miller backpack, $75.

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Insulated Pop Quiz cooler 12 pack, $100.

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