5 vegan AND eco-friendly handbag brands for fall/winter

Winter is coming… and so is the need for a bag large enough to hold your laptop, medications against the cold and gym essentials while still looking stylish. A few years ago, to find that perfect companion I would have had a look to well known brands who produce leather goods as my mother always told me « leather is what lasts the longest ».

But when I started to shift my consumption to less and more mindful items, I’ve realized that leather is not only unethical to our animal friends it can also be highly polluting.

Many toxic chemicals are used (including to prevent the skin from biodegrading and without which it would rot straight on your foot or your arm should the leather made good be a bag) such as chromium considered as hazardous. Tannery effluents are also polluted and some studies suggest that diseases found among residents living close to a tannery could be linked to the chemical exposure. At the same time, many leather like vegan alternatives are synthetic based and come from plastic and petroleum. Not so good for mother Earth either.

So here’s a list I compiled of vegan AND eco friendly alternatives for the fall/winter season. So that you can carry your life around without harming the animals or the planet ! :)

 

Melie Bianco

Where from ?  Los Angeles, USA

Values : Fair trade, natural materials

Price :  40 – 90 €

My latest purchase. Founded by a designer who wanted to offer « affordable luxury to the everyday woman regardless of her budget » the material used is Polyutherane, an eco-friendly alternative to PVC, which gives an incredible real leather feel to the bags. They’re also crafted in a animal friendly environment using fair trade principles under a Profit Sharing Model which basically means that when the company grows, the workers benefits grow too. No wonder the brand’s been featured in Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire !

Angela Roi

Where from : New York, USA

Values : Craftmanship, giving back to animal charity

Price : 50 – 250€

Ultimate vegan sophistication. Angela roi creates these clean lines handbags by using EPUL (Exquisite Polyurethane Leather ) which is durable and high quality and they’re manufactured by skilled artisans in reliable factories in Korea. Moreover, they support local humane shelters and charities in the rehabilitation and emergency care of mistreated animals. Ethical luxury with a big heart.

Eve Cork

Where from ? Portugal / USA

Values ? Sweat-shop free, handmade, eco friendly

Price ? 110 – 220 $

Did you know that cork is one of the eco-friendliest materials out there ? And since i’m a big fan of Eve Cork’s backpacks and commitment to sustainable, the brand had to be in this list. The high quality material is harvested in Portugal where most of the production comes from and the products are then handmade by skilled portugese artisans who receive fair pricing for their work. Nothing is forgotten as colors are made by dying the cork with organic vegetable dye too. Not only is owning a cork bag super original, it doesn’t hurt that all of the brand’s products are PETA Vegan Approved.

Matt and Natt

Where from ? Montreal, Canada

Values ? PU & recycled materials, certified factories

Price ? 80 – 200€

One of the world’s most famous vegan brand and with the name meaning MATERIAL + NATURE, you understand why their bags are such best sellers among eco fashionistas. The material feels incredibly real, their linings is made out of 100% recycled bottles and they’re constantly experimenting to find new eco-friendlier options. The ambassadors of the brand eco warrior Adrian Grenier and Emily Deschanel and on and off vegan Nathalie Portman.

 

JW Pei

Where from ? USA

Values : innovative material, craftmanship, fair trade

Price ? 80 – 160$

INNOVATION. That’s how I would define JW Pei. Unlike other brands in this list that mostly use PU, JW Pei has bet on ultra-microfiber tht is 30-50% lighter than leather and 5-20 times stronger than other vegan alternatives. To support craftmanship they use the same manufacturers that the ones used by luxury brands and work with young craftsmen and women around the world always respecting fair trade principles. All of this at a more than reasonable price for the quality and,  boy does it look good.

Will you be wearing ethical and vegan this winter? 

 

With love, 

Chloé

9 eco friendly sunglasses that you’ll want to wear all summer

Only ten days to go until it’s officially summer but it already feels like it in Europe! Temperatures are high, days are sunny and I’m off to apply to become a weather presenter (just kidding). Having blue eyes and significant vision problems, I feel bothered when brightness increases even a tiny bit. So one of the things I need the most as soon as summer starts to show up is sunglasses! However finding brands that produce those with an Eco-friendly/sustainable approach hasn’t really been a piece of cake for me.

 

So here it is! Part 2 of the “Where to” series that aims at at providing readers with brands that offer ethical/eco/fair/vegan (all 4 when possible) alternatives to a product worn regularly, just like a good friend with cool addressees she likes to share :)

9 eco friendly sunglasses that’ll make you look stylish at the beach while protecting your eyes and the environment!

BALLO

Where from? Cape Town, South Africa

Values: Recycled paper and off cut timber

Price: 110-190 €

Handmade in Cape Town, South Africa, where it’s known to be pretty sunny, Ballo uses recycled paper and off-cut timber from local furniture producers, enabling as such to reduce waste and provide eco-friendly crafted looking shades that will look great whether you’re at the beach in Croatia or doing a safari in Africa!

BLUE PLANET EYEWEAR

Where from: California, USA

Values: Recycled and reclaimed materials/Support the Visualize Change program

Price: 35-50$

One of my personal favorite (I can't take off the pair that I bought from them a few months ago), Blue Planet Eyewear is a US-based brand that does good to the planet as well as its human inhabitants. Their products are made either of recycled and reclaimed materials such as plastic and metal or bamboo which is known to have a reduced environmental impact. AND, through the Visualize Change program, for each purchase, their donate a pair of glasses to someone in need. So far, that's 300,000 people that have benefited from the program.  

DICK MOBY

Where from: Amsterdam but handmade in Italy

Values: Recycled bio-based acetateand recycled acetate

Price: 165 € +

“Quality is key, sustainability is king”. Couldn’t help but smile when landing on their website, it’s full of colors, it’s fun and their mission to make sustainable eye wear from plastic is super well explained. The glasses frames are from recycles acetate, cloth are recycled PET bottles (1 cloth = 7 recycles bottles!) and cases are recycles leather. While a vegan, I think it’s incredible that these guys are using recycled animal products and not new ones making the death of an animal a tiny less astonishing and useless. Their prices are a bit high compared to the rest but styles are glamorous as Italian glamour, so totally worth it if you want to feel like Sophia Loren this summer. 

GROWN

Where from: Byron Bay Australia

Values: Durable and organic bamboo and hardwoods / Supports the “Gift of Sight” programs and Wires Australia

Price: 80-150 €

Veteran in the business of sustainable shades (it was created in 2010 way before eco-fashion became a trend), Grown’s mission is to provide “original, organic and sustainable wooden eye wear that looks great and does good”. All up for this! They achieve this mission by handcrafting their glasses from durable bamboo and hardwoods free from harmful and toxic elements and supporting several programs including Grown which for each item purchased will fund sight-restoring surgery for 1 individual and wildlife rescue and care organization in Australia.

PANDA

Where from: USA

Values: Sustainable bamboo / educational opportunities and optic care to people in need

Price: 120 $

Launched by three college buddies in 2012, Panda’s shades are constructed from sustainable materials a.k.a bambooand give back to the community. For each purchase, the brand supports Pencils of promises to provide educational opportunities for children in need AND every pair sold provides optic care to someone who needs it around the world. Sounds pretty good to me!

PROOF EYEWEAR

Where from? Idaho, USA

Values: FSC-certified wood, cotton based acetate and presupposed skateboard decks

Price: 90-180$

Fans of the outdoors,this is the perfect brand for you (and even you’re not)! Started in 2010 by 3 brothers (we love a good family business), Proof Eyewear is definitely an eco-friendly pioneer.  They provide handcrafted products from sustainable materials and give back through the Nature Conservancy and Help International. They also donate 12% of annual profits to their Do Good Program. What more to ask?

SOLO EYEWEAR

Where from? California, USA

Values:  Re purposed bamboo or recycled plastic/Restore vision in 32 countries

Price: 59-89$

Solo Eyewear’s website immediately puts a smile on your face thanks to the ton of happy pictures of people wearing their shades and benefiting from their give back program on display. Since they started donating 10% of their profits to funding of eye exams, eyeglasses and caract surgeries, the brand has restored the vision for over 13,000 people in 32 countries! And their glasses are from repurposed bamboo or recycled plastic to prevent the additional use of hundreds of kg of natural ressources every year. Psst: their cases come from one of my favorite place on the planet: Panajachel, Guatemala and are made by female artisants! Ethical sourcing at its best!

SEA 2 SEES

Where from: Spain

Values: Ocean plastic waste

Price: 80-120€

Unlike many other brands in this list that use bamboo and wood to make their sunglasses, Sea2sees gives plastic trash from the ocean a new life and turns it into stylish, affordable shades. They've partnered up with fishing communities around Spain that deposit abandoned nets, ropes and plastics in containers in ports (1ton of it every 3 days!!) then separates and clean the plastic waste which will make up for 100% handmade glasses! Perfect if you’re a zero-waster!

W.R.YUMA

Where from? Antwerpen, Belgium

Values: Recycled car dashboards, soda bottles & bamboo

Price: N/A

Move over ladies and gentlemen! This is no ordinary brand, it’s the world first 3d printed sunglasses from recycled car dashboards, soda bottles & bamboo! And it’s from my home country, Belgium! While they’re planning to launch in the summer, you can sign up on the website and secure an early bird discount or limited edition! And from the look of their instagram page, the styles look gorgeous!

Disclosure: I did partner up nor collaborate in any way with any of the above brands to write this post. All thoughts and research are mine.

10 ethical & eco friendly denim brands you need to know about

The first "Where to?" Blog is here! And it's about a piece of clothing we all cherish: JEANS!

Jeans production is indeed often linked to toxic chemicals poisoning water and garment workers, slavery, and intense use of pesticides. Pretty bad right? Doesn't have to be anymore, below are 10 denim brands you can buy that are good for you/the planet/its human inhabitants!

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