A Backpack Pop-Up Draws Adults Looking for Fashionable Collectibles

Sprayground’s colorful, limited-edition bags have become a back-to-school status symbol, and not just for sixth-graders.

The New York pop-up will remain open in the middle of Times Square until Sept. 5.

The New York pop-up will remain open in the middle of Times Square until Sept. 5.

Just hours before 18-year-old Jordy Morales was planning to leave for training to become a Marine, he’s at Sprayground’s pop-up shop in New York’s Times Square to pick up a limited-edition backpack.

Morales has put money from babysitting or handyman jobs toward a new backpack whenever he can. “I’d save up and try to get it as quickly as possible,” he says. Today, he’s holding a $120 backpack featuring a stitched collage of the brand’s top-selling designs. It’s on display as the final 10 of a 100-bag run. 

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One of the most popular items at Sprayground is a teddy bear-shaped bag that comes in varied designs.

On Aug. 14, cult backpack maker Sprayground opened its biggest pop-up shop ever in New York City. It features over 100 designs in its back-to-school collection, as well as more exclusive options featuring characters such as SpongeBob, Samurai Jack, and the Powerpuff Girls. The most recognizable ones have a shark mouth and eyes along the back and side, while some are shaped like teddy bears.

He’d traveled from Philadelphia with some friends, including Myaia Fletcher, who has collected more than 100 Sprayground bags and estimates that she has spent more than $10,000 on them. Fletcher is now the brand’s official ambassador.

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The store’s T-Rex centerpiece, which has a belly full of backpacks, arrived on Monday.
Located on 42nd street at Times Square, the pop-up shop has a time-travel theme, says founder David Ben-David. Scattered around the store are mannequins holding Sprayground bags as they run and break through walls. A shark head hangs above a mirror with human hands sticking out around its frame, and a crowned statue looks like a red astronaut. A giant T-Rex model with a belly full of backpacks was late for opening day, but arrived on Monday to take center stage.

“I want kids going back to school—and the grown-up traveling—to feel unique,” Ben-David says. “Everybody wants to feel that individuality, because they don’t want a bag that everybody else has. Everything we make is limited edition and never produced again. So I think that also is kind of our secret sauce.”

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David Ben-David designed Astromane, a Black astronaut character, to appear on his backpacks to tell kids that “there’s more you could do,” he says.
Ben-David first created Sprayground in 2010 to make bags more fun. It has become one of the most-searched backpack brands on Google. It has 100 stores in China, and new outlets are opening up in Sicily, Switzerland, and elsewhere in Europe.
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Madison, a happy customer, stands for a photograph with Ben-David after he autographed her bag at his pop-up shop.
A sixth-grader named Madison came with her parents after hearing about the bags from friends in dance class. “I saw the bag online, but it was sold out,” she says. “I was happy to find it here.”

The New York pop-up will be open until Sept. 5, followed by a runway show on on Sept. 8 during New York Fashion Week. The next pop-up shop is scheduled to open in Miami in December.

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  • Best backpacks on earth. Also for anyone that wonders if they have space yes they DO! and they have a lot if it. I think the cheapest sprayground backpack is at least 70.00$ plus taxes. Also another thing you have to keep your sprayground clean on the outside and inside because they are they are backpacks that if you just leave them somewhere and dont tuch them they will wear down and will be useless. Spraygrounds are also very nice clean silky and comfy backpacks to where to school or to a nice party. Are just to keep your stuff in there while you walk to places or if you spending a night at someone’s house… But don’t where them when hiking or in an enclosed space space because hiking if its windy or there are a lot of rocks you backpack will either get ripped or have an hole in it and i know nobody wants that. And if your in an enclosed area with people or walls dont wear it because the problem with the walls is that it will scrap your backpack and will leave white marks almost like a cat was stretching over your backpack with its claws out, but with the people is honsetly your choice because you might have something expensive or payed a lot of money for your sprayground and some people might try to sill yank and grab your backpack, or some people could have food or something that can stain or is messy in there hands or on there hands and they could get it on your backpack. But other then that thanks for reading this. -Malik J Robinson (sprayground have a secret pocket but find it yourself and goodluck you will also get a card saying your found the secret pocket or something like that)

    Malik J Robinson on

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