At the British Fashion Awards, Meghan Markle said that whilst it was once ‘cool to be cruel’ in the fashion world, it was now ‘cool to be kind’.
Major labels such as Chanel, Gucci, Burberry and Tom Ford have pledged to stop using fur and exotic skins in their collections, while others are making a conscious decision to only using leather as a by-product to the food industry.
However, more and more people are now going one step further and turning to products that don’t use leather altogether, and if you’re in the market for a vegan handbag, there are plenty of chic designer and affordable options out there.
Vegan designer handbags
It’s impossible to mention vegan designer bags without mentioning Stella McCartney, who’s been pioneering ethical fashion her whole career. She is one of the only designers who only uses vegan leather throughout her collection, for example made out of recycled plastic from the world’s oceans.
Of course, you can buy fabric and faux leather bags from most designer brands which aren’t exclusively vegan across board, though they sometimes use non-vegan products such as animal-based adhesives. Some great designer options include Jill Milan, Poppy Lissiman and Arran Frances, who are launching their first cruelty free collection in March, with a view to soon being a 100% cruelty-free and animal-friendly leather, with a focus on sustainability through longevity. Mashu are a luxe vegan bag brand designed by Greek born Ioanna Topouzoglou in London and produced in Greece, made with a focus on conservation of raw materials, toxic-free solutions and minimal dependency on natural sources, and are 100% recyclable.
Vegan leather handbags
Contrary to the name, we’re obviously not talking animal skin here, but different materials made to look like it. According to PETA, ‘most vegan leather is made of polyurethane, a polymer that can be made to order. It can sparkle, have a nice glossy sheen, or be saturated in all kinds of shades.’
Affordable vegan handbags
Because real leather is expensive, vegan leather tends to be more affordable, especially if you look to high-street brands. Matt & Nat, Doshi, Wilby Cluth and LaBante all have great sub-£100 clutch bags, backpacks, tote bags and more.
Shop our edit of the best designer and affordable vegan handbags below.