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 ! :)
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 !
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.
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.
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?