Would you like to know where to find quality vegan handbags? Vegan leather is not biodegradable but far less polluting than conventional leather (Mirum is an new greener plant-based leather). Leather is not a by-product of the meat industry, and often made in countries with poor animal welfare laws. Some brands (including Hermes) even make bags with crocodile skin (an investigation found appalling cruelty). Switch to vegan crocodile/alligator-style bags instead.
What about recycled leather? Buying a leather handbag in a charity shop (or from companies that take leather waste they find on landfill) will do not harm. Buy buying items from companies that buy remnants from companies that make new leather goods, is still supporting the leather industry. The other option is to buy from online second-hand shops.
- Luxtra (London) makes luxury bags and accessories made from Piñatex (pineapple waste), AppleSkin™ (from Italian apples) or mango waste. They are not biodegradable yet but less polluting than leather. This brand also makes shoulder bags and pouches.
- Corkor (Portugal) offers beautiful cork handbags, made by stripping the bark (no trees are felled). Easy to clean with mild soapy water, the range includes satchel bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, saddle bags and clutch bags.
- LaBante (London) offers beautiful vegan leather handbags made with recycled bottle linings, and hangtags with recycled paper. So far the company has saved over 10 million bottles from landfill.
- Sister & Kin Black Cotton Clutch is made by a women’s organisation in India, with ethically sourced Fair Trade materials.
- Ellyla Jute Handbag is totally biodegradable, made from jute and a circular wood handle with organic cotton insert. The elegant crochet design is lovely with a summer dress.
- Elvis & Kresse Messenger Bag is a roomy bag made from old fire-hose. 50% of profits from this social enterprise go to Firefighter’s Charity. It can fit a laptop and features stunning inside black textile. The Overnight Bag has a wide opening for easy packing, and external/internal pockets.
Where to Donate & Recycle Handbags
- Rather than donating clothes to animal-testing charities, install textile recycling banks to support The Firefighter Charity.
- Order a ‘rag bag’ from ReFashion (they don’t send trash to developing countries who don’t want it). These bags are recycled into new items, by fashion students. You can also sell them unwanted bags & clothes.