Fashion | November 9th, 2023
Official Bag Collection: The New HBCU Fashion Phenomenon
By: Mycah Brown
The Official Bag Collection has seen an immense amount of success since its launch three years ago. The man behind the brand is none other than Florida A&M University alum Eugene Jacobs III, who left his undergraduate years with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice.
The two-time graduate returned to FAMU to earn a master’s degree in clinical and mental health. While having aspirations to pursue a career as a licensed therapist, Jacobs always displayed a passion for entrepreneurship and serving the community.
“I’ve always been a very business-minded person, also very solution-focused,” Jacobs said. “A lot of things just came from a sense of passion and helping people. Naturally, I help people, so I use my businesses as a form of expression.”
Originally, Jacobs began with the brand Black is Beautiful, which was created as a clothing brand. The Little Rattler Bag was one of the first products from Jacobs’ first business to really gain traction. Orders picked up so heavily that Jacobs sought to pivot to what would become the Official Bag Collection.
The brand grew from the initial Little Rattler Bag, sold in the colors orange and green, and has now expanded to medium-sized bags and bags, repping other HBCUs, like Howard University, with the Little Bison Bag.
These clear bags are tinted with the school’s primary colors, and for Florida A&M University students specifically, it has helped bypass security for on-campus events that implement the clear bag policy. It allows HBCU fans to remain stylish while playing it safe with rules that may have them turned away at an event with any regular bag.
The bags are manufactured overseas and purchased in bulk. After doing extensive research, Jacobs connected with retail vendors worldwide, and the perfect vendor was selected. Jacobs put faith in his product and looked forward to delivering what would become the new HBCU fashion phenomenon.
Jazmyne Guy is a fourth-year Florida A&M student who has begun creating her own collection of Little Rattler Bags. When she first became aware of the Official Bag Collection, Guy entered a giveaway contest through Instagram. The post prompted viewers to enter by following the brand, tagging friends and uploading the post to their stories. After she and another contestant won, they both became owners of their very own bag from the collection.
This would be the start of Guy’s own collection of Rattler Bags. She now owns two little ones and one medium one.
Chazriq “Chazam” Clarke is another Florida A&M University graduate and owner of Chazam Fans. His junior year on the hill was the first time he heard about the Official Bag Collection. He became one of the only male brand ambassadors in 2021 after Jacobs reached out to him, as they are both members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. At this point, Clarke had already made his first purchase with the orange Little Rattler Bag in support of the brand.
“Seeing it in Rattler form and that it was already see-through so we could use it for games, I was drawn in,” Clarke said. “I was blown away and I definitely had to get one.”
Now, Jacobs has gotten used to seeing his product all over campus and all over social media. Challenges like meeting the high demand is one of the best problems to have. During FAMU’s 2023 homecoming week, between 4000-5000 Rattler Bags were sold. Students and alumni from other universities continue to make requests for products catered to their schools.
“Seeing on social media how people are reacting makes you want to keep going, keep getting better and see what you can really do,” Jacobs said.
The brand carries out the mission to help college students gain experience that will help them professionally, like hosting brand ambassadorships and allowing students to help with the business. As the Official Bag Collection continues to grow, past and potential customers look forward to seeing what more is to come.