Vegan Chic – The Best Vegan Handbags
What is vegan leather? With awareness increasing on the horrific ways in which leather is procured for our handbags and shoes, both consumers and designers are exploring animal-friendly leather substitutes. Leather substitutes now include materials derived from natural kelp, cork and cotton fabric. Cruelty-free artificial substitutes include Vegetan (microfiber) and Lorica – a special type of Italian faux leather. While PU (polyurethane) microfiber is a cruelty-free alternative, the material is not good for the environment. Style does not have to come at the price of a life with these fantastic fashion brands.
The third daughter of former Beatle, Paul McCartney and animal welfare activist, Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney’s eponymous brand is the most famous cruelty-free fashion label in the world. McCartney’s strong stance against the dominant leather industry is as laudable as are her fabulous handbags. Her ‘Falabella’ tote made from polyester and recycled material has become an iconic handbag that can hold its own among the most coveted luxury bags in the world.
American designer Christian Siriano won the popular reality show ‘Project Runway’ in 2008 and has since become a red-carpet favorite with his stunning gowns. However, Siriano is also an animal welfare advocate, creating trendy handbags and wallets from non-leather materials. Every handbag from his brand is accompanied by an elephant-inspired charm and the designer is said to donate part of the profits from handbag sales to raise awareness against ivory poaching.
Mat & Nat
This Canadian brand follows a simple yet powerful philosophy – ‘Live beautifully’. Not only do Mat (materials) & Nat (nature) provide us with a rich variety of handbags to choose from, they also use only recycled nylons, plastics and corks for their products. We are bewildered by the sheer number of stylish totes, doctor bags, sling bags, hobos, weekend bags, duffel bags, wallets and wristlets we have to choose from on the Montreal label’s e-commerce site.
Kitsch brand, Chumbak may not be the first label you think of when you look for vegan bags but their funky prints can also be found on fun fabric totes and handbags. Expect the Bangalore brand’s quirky India-inspired motifs and electric colors on these non-leather alternatives.
Bangalore-based Dukaan has some sleek faux-leather bags and backpacks for women and men. The design venture, led by design school buddies Aakash Kedia and Kevat Padh, was started in 2013 with the intention of creating products that are timeless and elegant. Expect minimalist, practical options crafted from faux-leather and fabric.
This Chennai brand from Abhinandan and Nilesh Jain offers a limited range of polished bag alternatives for men and women. We like their cork-based laptop bags and their PU-wallets – although PU is durable and can look chic when well-crafted, it isn’t eco-friendly.
Regardless of whether you want to avoid leather or not, these vegan brands afford fantastic handbags for the fashion-forward. With fast fashion taking a toll on the environment and animals being subjected to heinous cruelty at leather farms, it’s imperative to know that none of our purchases are made in a vacuum. It’s time to start being a conscious consumer whilst saving the world!