The world of fashion is changing, as more and more brands look to more sustainable ways of producing their garments, including which materials and fabrics they use – and that includes vegan leather handbags.
Major labels such as Chanel, Gucci, Burberry and Tom Ford have already pledged to stop using fur and exotic skins in their collections, while others are 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.
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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.
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 Nanushka, Jill Milan, Poppy Lissiman, Mashu and Arran Frances.
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.’
Other materials used for vegan leather handbags include apple peel skin, recycled plastic bottles and vegetable by-products.
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.
Nanushka bags are free from animal skin and the use of animal derivatives in the manufacturing process. This bag is made from polyester, polyurethane and zamak for the metal trimmings.
Various vegan leathers are used in MATT & NAT bags, the scientific terms are PU (polyurethane) and PVC (polyvinylchloride). PU is less harmful for the environment than PVC and its use is preferred, whenever possible. In addition to being vegan, sustainable materials are constantly sourced in design; these include recycled nylons, cork and rubber. Linings are made of 100% recycled bottles (about 21 plastic bottles are recycled for every bag produced).
Stella’s iconic Falabella bag comes in a covetable feather blue shade for spring. It’s made of 60% polyamide and 40% polyurethane.
THEMOIRè have created a collection of luxurious handbags made from vegan leather, paper, cork, recycled organic cotton and raffia. For SS21, the brand continues to pursue the project to reforest the planet and for each bag sold THEMOIRè will plant a new tree.
Labante London babes bags that are 100% Vegan and Cruelty free, with animal based glues or dyes. All bags are made with recycled materials, the interiors from reclaimed plastic bottles, whilst the outers are made with vegetable by-products and polyurethane, making them fully biodegradable.
This bag is 100% cruelty-free, vegan and crafted with the finest recycled and eco-conscious materials.
Mashu bags are handcrafted in Athens, using materials such as vegan leather from water based PU & deadstock satin, as well as vegan suede made from recycled polyester.
The brand has introduced its first line of bags made from animal-friendly leather and do not contain any animal-based materials, produced in limited quantities.
This faux leather bag has been lined in 100% R-PET fabric spun from post consumer plastic bottles otherwise destined for landfill.
The Milan-based luxury brand is a hit with celebrities on the red carpet, thanks to its sleek designs made from vegan materials and its commitment to animal welfare charities.
A colourful take on vegan leather, perfect for SS21.