Fast fashion not only influences our wardrobe choices, but also impacts the world that we live in. In an almost insurmountable negative way then we can possibly imagine, fashion has compromised our environment, animals across the planet and people alike. It is the second largest polluting industry in the world. But things are changing, designers and consumers are recognizing the importance of shifting to sustainable fashion calling it the need of the hour! The introduction of vegan leather and brands willing to make the shift from use of animal leather is a progress in the right direction.
The business of vegan leather has come a long way from using synthetic vegan materials like PVC and other plastic based components as leather alternatives. Vegan leather purses are in the forefront of this slowly transforming industry, with individual designers and fashion houses discovering unique plant-based materials, using upcycled or recycled waste embracing cruelty-free practices of manufacturing, all without compromising on style!
Veganism is a choice, of course, but vegan or not, we all ought to care about what we consume. And the love for vegan leather is a worldwide phenomenon and we believe it is not just a trend. It is an expression that says “we care”, in the strongest, most intense way possible. Here is a list of some of the most amazing brands of vegan leather purses that we love –
Ahimsa Collective now rechristened as A_C believes that any major change requires minor changes every day by everyone. This Melbourne-based label’s mission is to put an end to fast fashion and to offer products that are environmentally friendly and environmentally beneficial. They have developed a range of sustainable leather alternatives for their line of bags such as plant-based fibres, organic and recycled textiles and repurposed deadstock. Ethical, socially and environmentally conscious, A_C’s design principles are built on a circular economy, providing a number of afterlife options for their luxury vegan products. Buy back, repair or refurbish, they take responsibility for what they create.
Cork is an interesting addition to the list of animal-free leather alternatives. It is vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, lightweight and durable. Eve Cork is a PETA business friend who uses premium cork for their vegan leather, organic cotton for linings, vegetable dyes and vegan adhesives. Eve Cork products are simplistic in design and come in basic colors. All Eve Cork products are made in Portugal, with material sourced from family owned farms, where local farmers carefully harvest the cork by hand. Interestingly, harvesting the bark from a cork oak tree helps the tree to grow, live longer and produce more oxygen. As the bark ages, it yields the durable material that Eve Cork uses for their products. They emphasize that sustainability and style are a natural pairing. Sustainable fashion done right!
One of the first fully vegan brands, GUNAS began in 2008 with creating a small collection of handbags from a studio apartment in Manhattan. With the purpose of bringing ethically-made, cruelty-free to the fashion foreground, GUNAS vegan purses are artistic, fashionable and a symbolism of conscious fashion. Elite designs and durable materials combined with bold colours GUNAS luxury vegan handbags are meant to make heads turn. Starting with recycled, sustainable, upcycled materials the label achieved its high set goals to do away with synthetic leather materials and find something that is 100% vegan, 100% plastic free.They have also been a passionate advocate of sustainable fashion. With the discovery of Mulbtex, their groundbreaking trademark fabric, they have set the bar high for the vegan leather industry.
A new kid on the block, the name Hozen means conservation in Japanese! True to its name, every product Hozen makes (including vegan leather bags) is rooted in ethics and responsibility. They extensively use sustainable materials, leather is grain-based or Pinatex (pineapple husk), organic cotton is used for linings, recycled plastic, rubber, upcycled ropes and cotton labels and vegan adhesives are put in good use. Hozen’s designs are minimalist but very sleek, colourful and fashionable. Hozen features the artisan who crafted a product with an “I Made Your Bag” card and also contributes a portion of their sales to an animal charity.
Jill Milan is one of the top runners in luxury vegan fashion. After years of searching for leather-free, eco-conscious luxury handbags, Jill Fraser and Milan Lazich founded Jill Milan in 2010. With a team of luxury fashion designers onboard, their handbags are manufactured out of a family owned studio in Italy, where third-generation artisans tastefully craft their designs. From clutches to totes, all metalwork in their bags are handmade and bags are sewn by hand. Jill Milan uses animal-free sustainable Italian fabric and are committed to minimise environmental impact and reducing waste; they ensure that a product once made is sold. They contribute 10% of their proceeds to a non-profit that works for animal welfare. A number of high-profile celebrities have carried Jill Milan to red carpet events as well.
With a philosophy of Fashion with Respect, LaBante started small in 2009. This PETA business ally, uses what already exists instead of looking for new material, this luxury vegan brand uses recycled and recyclable material. They use recycled PET bottles, recycled microfibre, organic cotton and vegetable fibres among others. Although their primary component is synthetic leather, there’s a sustainability angle to it. On an average, each LaBante handbag uses 7 plastic bottles, saving millions of bottles from ending up in oceans and landfills, which is equally important for the environment. . And that’s not all, 99% of their design and production team are women, they ensure fair wages, and an ethical work environment. 10% of LaBante London profits are donated for charitable causes, as well.
Creatively deriving its name from materials and nature, Matt & Nat are trailblazers of vegan lifestyle and sustainable fashion products. First conceptualised over 20 years ago this Montreal-based label has explored many non-animal resources. To create timeless designs and durable styles, they have experimented with recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber, and cork, and recently introduced recycled bicycle tires in one of their collections. Adopting a policy to use linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, they have used over 120,000 recycled bottles a year.
As you can see, use of vegan leather purses are on the rise, because people are no longer happy being complicit in cruelty to animals and the destruction of the environment. Besides, when synthetic vegan leather lends itself so beautifully to so many designs and uses, it’s easy for the latest brand names to make the switch. The more the merrier for us, right?