A handbag can make or break your outfit and is the perfect accessory to spruce up any look. The market is flooded with a bazillion handbag companies and let’s just say they aren’t the most ethical. From using wasteful, polluting materials to animal leather, the industry is plagued with problems. However, a perfect solution to this most certainly exists in the form of a vegan handbag!
Vegan handbags have taken the fashion world by storm with new sustainable innovations using everything from cactus to mushrooms. Also, definitely don’t think that vegan handbags aren’t haute couture. Big fashion houses like Stella McCartney and Altuzarra are all crafting some of the most impeccable vegan purses and bags so you can look stylish while being eco-conscious.
Faux leather has become increasingly popular due to growing awareness about animal cruelty. Their propensity to imitate actual leather is something that has piqued the interest of several conscious consumers and brands wanting to preserve their relevance. Faux leather is one of the most popular materials used in manufacturing a vegan handbag. Through this much-needed guide, let us look at what exactly a vegan handbag is and where you can find the absolute best vegan handbag!
Table of Contents
What Is A Vegan Handbag
Veganism is not just limited to ones diet but it is a lifestyle and extends to the use of cruelty-free, animal-derived materials-free products. So vegan handbags are essentially those that do not contain animal products or by-products and hence are cruelty-free. It is important to look for certain certifications when purchasing a vegan purse and for your convenience, we have listed them below!
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- OEKO-TLX Certified (Products use safe, non-toxic ingredients)
- Leaping Bunny Certified (Products are cruelty-free)
- Fair Trade Certified
- Bluesign Certified (textiles are made adhering to strict standards for environmental and waterway impact)
- Certified B Corporation (Company is transparent, accountable, and eco-conscious)
Bear in mind that aside from GOTS, none of the other certifications guarantee that a product is organic. All it ensures is that your handbag is vegan and cruelty-free but can still be made of products like polyester, nylon, and acrylic.
What Is Vegan Leather?
Initially, vegan leather was almost exclusively made of plastic and referred to as pleather. This material was virgin plastic made with fossil fuels, using a plethora of chemicals. So, not very environment friendly. However, with the advent of new technology, it has even become possible to create leather with natural ingredients such as mushrooms and cactus.
Vegan leather is now much more durable, flexible, lightweight, and convenient. Now, you can rock a vegan leather bag without having to lug around a plastic product. Some vegan leather sources include apple, fungi, pineapple, natural cork, organic waxed cotton, and more. Innovations in technology have also led to the use of SCOBY in making leather as well as recycled nylon and PET.
Best Vegan Handbags To Buy
Matt And Nat
There are many different faux leather purses to select from the vegan leather-focused company Matt & Nat. I personally adore the Nivi vegan tote bag since it is both fashionable and constructed of the company’s patented Appleskin fabric, which replaces waste from the fruit juice industry with raw chemical resources to help lower emissions and energy usage. I love that the company uses recycled nylon lining in every one of its bags as evidence of its dedication to sustainability.
Pixie Mood sells high-end vegan handbags that are created sustainably and sent in packaging that is completely recyclable. The firm only uses vegan leather that is devoid of solvents to create all of its items. By 2020, all of the bag linings will be produced from recycled plastic bottles. The firm also conducts annual material testing to make sure all products adhere to California’s Prop 65 requirement for dangerous chemicals.
Since January 2021, Pixie Mood has been climate positive. This is made possible through a collaboration with TerraPass, which provides funding for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide renewable energy. These initiatives include converting landfill pollutants, generating electricity from animal manure, using wind energy, and absorbing methane emissions from defunct coal mines. 2020 saw a partnership between Pixie Mood and TerraPass to offset all of the company’s carbon emissions since Pixie Mood’s founding in 2010. Now, every order that is dispatched contributes to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
The company’s newest line, Eco-Mood, is as environmentally friendly as they come. These bags are created from low-impact materials, including sustainably sourced cork, recycled vegan leather, vegan leather without solvents, recycled plastic linings, and hardware that complies with the European Union’s REACH guideline for hazardous chemicals.
One of the first companies to make sustainable goods and pinnacles of vegan handbags was Gunas. For more than ten years, the business has been offering vegan handbags and shoes. Gunas uses recycled fabrics, nylons, canvas, and other eco-friendly materials rather than leather to make their goods.
Clutches, totes, and shoulder bags are among the many styles of handbags and purses they provide. These bags are straightforward yet strong, and they come in vibrant colors to match your style and price range.
Elvis & Kresse
Elvis & Kresse is a certified B Corp that was established in 2005 as a result of a fortuitous meeting with the London Fire Brigade. The creators discovered that hundreds of tonnes of stuff, including broken, disused fire hoses, were dumped in a landfill in London, United Kingdom.
Since Elvis & Kresse was founded to divert this garbage, no fire hose from London has been disposed of in a landfill for the last 16 years. This totals more than 300 tonnes of material that has been recovered, much of which has been used by Elvis & Kresse to create stylish purses, belts, and other accessories.
Building on the business’s success, a collaboration with the Burberry Foundation was established in 2017 to address worldwide leather waste. This collaboration seeks to convert at least 120 tonnes of Burberry leather scraps over the course of five years into brand-new, high-end products that Elvis & Kresse will create and market.
Being proponents of transparency, Elvis & Kresse operates an accessible workshop in a historic mill in Kent, United Kingdom. In order to observe the bags being manufactured, you can stop by the workshop. Some of the goods are also produced in Istanbul at the business’ Turkish plant. All of the energy used in manufacturing is renewable. The business practices open-book accounting and has been fully accredited as a true Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation. It is also a certified Social Enterprise.
The firm sells backpacks, briefcases, belts, tablet cases, purses, laptop sleeves, wallets, and duffel bags. Additionally, they provide specialized and unique items. Fire hoses, military parachute “silk” (really nylon), air traffic control strips, auction banners, and other repurposed materials are all used to make all of their bags. Check the material details carefully since some products are manufactured with repurposed leather; some listings falsely claim that the bags are vegan. Thanks to hardware produced from recycled aluminum, the belts, buckles, and D-rings on these bags are also more environmentally friendly than most.
Luxury handbag company Angela Roi, located in New York City, uses materials that are obtained responsibly. The company strives to lessen waste which is a major problem in the fashion industry. The business uses high-quality materials to create its vegan leather handbags, which it then sells for a fair price. You’ll like the bucket bags, pouches, and saddlebags by Angela Roi, which come in gorgeous hues and flawless patterns.
The business supports animals all around the world by saving those which are usually poached or abused. This is 100% one of my favorite vegan handbag brands.
Lia Valerio established Malia Designs in 2005. The company manufactures fair trade vegan handbags and purses in Cambodia using recycled and sustainably sourced materials under ethical working conditions. The diverse collection draws inspiration from the lively, colorful, and textured streets of Phnom Penh as well as the Angkor ruins. These bags are made by Malia Designs using recycled cotton canvas, upcycled denim, repurposed cement, and feed sacks, among other things.
Recycled fish feed bags are perfect for upcycling into vegan purses since they are constructed of bright, lightweight, strong, and water-resistant materials.
The company encourages ecologically sound business practices, pays all employees a fair, livable wage, and takes additional measures to build wholesome, contented communities locally and worldwide. Additionally, Malia Designs contributes a part of its earnings to anti-trafficking initiatives; to date, more than $160,000 has been given to non-governmental organizations that aid trafficking victims and children in need.
One of the few truly eco-friendly handbag companies, Lulu Dharma promises to be 100% sustainable at all steps of production. Animal products and their byproducts are not used. This is the ideal option if you’re someone who is seeking a vegan substitute but is unsure of where to look. Pebbled leather bags made without using animal products are offered by this company. In order to create soft and comfy items, they also concentrate on hand-woven synthetic leather. Additionally, these bags have a tonne of space.
One of the most opulent vegan designer bag collections is carried by Stella McCartney. The company makes sure to use eco-friendly procedures when making their bags. Instead of using fur, Stella McCartney makes their bags from recyclable materials. But don’t let that deceive you; their bags are glitzy and dazzling to the max. Despite being entirely vegan, the bags contain designs that mimic leather and snakeskin.
If you’re searching for vegan purses that are both inexpensive and opulent, Melie Bianco is the company to choose. The business manufactures its bags using eco-friendly materials, fair trade principles, and a passion for design. You’ll enjoy the creative touches on the vegan bags, which include bows and bamboo and stunning natural hues.
Another one of our favorites is the brand-new vegan company called Segan. Segan, a Canadian company, was founded with ethics and sustainability as its key priorities. Sustainability, Ethical manufacture, Gender equality, Activism, and Nature make up the firm name, which is an acronym. Segan is already a certified Fair Trade Workplace and has sought B Corp certification.
Segan’s whole line of goods is plastic-free and vegan, as recognized by PETA. Mirum®, a vegan plant leather manufactured with only natural ingredients and no plastic, is the company’s hallmark material. In addition to being recyclable and produced using a low-impact, solvent-free method, this material is far more environmentally friendly than conventional vegan leather manufactured from polyurethane and other synthetic materials.
There is no dying or waterproofing process used in Segan’s handbags; therefore, there is no need to worry about chemicals there. With the exception of the rigid/product boxes, which are 100% recyclable and 95% recycled, all of their packaging is recycled. The zero-waste factory process ensures that all packaging is devoid of plastic and animal products, and it also ensures that all leftover MIRUM is sent back to the Mirum manufacturer for reuse.