I’ve been planning to write a post about vegan handbags and purses for a while now because it’s such a fun topic. And truthfully, I got lost a little while doing my research because I found so many great bags. I discovered new, innovative designers who are working with high-quality vegan leather. Plus, new styles from well-established designers, like Stella McCartney and MATT and NAT, who continue to create gorgeous luxury handbags that are always cruelty-free.
I also discovered new materials (to me anyway) that I had not seen used before in handbags, like bamboo. I know, I know, purses have probably been made with bamboo for eons, but I can’t remember ever laying my eyes on one! Other natural materials used to make vegan handbags include hemp, raffia, and even palm leaves.
Plus, there are great affordable vegan bags made with faux leather and faux suede that are surely disrupting the leather handbag market. And of course, no UniGuide post would be complete without some recycled and upcycled options. Yes, Ladies, vegan handbags made from cement bags, tire inner tubes, and boat sails are leaving bags made with animal skin in the Dark Ages where they belong!
Vegan Handbags and Purses in this post:
Faux Leather Handbags and Purses
LaBante London is a socially conscious handbag brand that donates 10% of their profits to charitable causes. LaBante’s founder, Vanita Badlani Bagri, experienced a pivotal moment in her life when she was in college. She passed a butcher’s shop where animals were kept alive in cages before they would be killed in front of customers and sold for their meat.
Bearing witness to this horror was transformative for Vanita. While she didn’t know at the time that she would eventually become a vegan handbag designer, this experience shaped her world view and the values that she infuses in all of LaBante’s products and operations today.
And not only are LaBante bags vegan, they’re also eco-friendly. The materials used have the look and feel of leather, but they’re actually made with recycled plastic bottles.
Melie Bianco is another PETA Approved, 100% vegan brand. And they produce their socially conscious handbags in ethical, fair trade conditions.
The vegan leather that Melie Bianco uses in their bags is made with polyurethane (PU). PU use fewer solvents and toxic chemicals than PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a type of plastic that’s used to make a cheaper faux leather. In addition, PU uses fewer resources to produce than does leather derived from animals.
In this video, Melie Bianco explains the difference between PU vegan leather and faux leather made from PVC:
Good Mood Moon also makes 100% vegan clutches, purses, and other cute bags. Self-described lovers of animals, nature, and color, they donate 5% of sales from their subtly colorful bags to homeless pet organizations.
MATT & NAT’s name is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And these concepts are interwoven in every product they create, from their designer handbags and purses to fashionable shoes and other accessories. Their mission it to help unveil the “humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.”
MATT & NAT’s chic designs have been 100% vegan since the company was founded in 1995. They also infuse eco-friendly principles into their designs by using natural, plantbased, and recycled materials. You can see their stylish shoes in my post on vegan shoe brands.
Angela Roi’s love for animals and their passion for fashion inspired them to create their ultra chic, 100% cruelty-free handbags. They believe there’s no reason for fashion to be cruel, and they take these values a step further by supporting animal welfare organizations.
Stella McCartney is a true trailblazer in the fashion world. She was a big name advocating for cruelty-free and eco-friendly fashion back when most big names were still in the Dark Ages, creating designs with animal skin and fur. Stella was an advocate for cruelty-free fashion well before Gucci, Versace, and just recently Chanel went fur-free. (But thank God, other top designers are seeing the light and helping to end animal cruelty in the fashion industry.) Stella is a designer who wears her values and her heart on her sleeves and the world is better for it.
Canopy Verde’s founder, Linda Wong, admits she’s a minimalist who doesn’t like the idea of “owning a lot stuff.” It might seem an odd statement coming from a product designer, but then again, Linda represents the values of other modern-day, progressive product designers who believe in quality over quantity and in minimizing waste.
Linda was inspired to create her own line of eco-friendly and vegan handbags after working in the fashion industry and seeing how much waste is generated season after season. She felt she could do better. And it was her love of mid-century Danish design and the character of her Brooklyn neighborhood that shaped her design aesthetic.
Canopy Verde produces their vegan handbags using methods that minimize waste and reuse materials whenever possible. In addition, they utilize PU vegan leather, which has a lighter carbon footprint than leather derived from animals. The linings of Canopy Verde bags are also eco-friendly: They’re made with GOTS certified organic cotton, which is dyed with Earth-friendly, chemical-free dyes.
Pixie Mood says their top priority is creating beautiful handbags and purses that do not harm any of our furry friends. Their motto is: “There’s always room for fashion with compassion!”
In addition, the Pixie Mood team is committed to environmental sustainability and social causes. They focus on sourcing the most innovative and eco-friendly materials they can find, and they support charitable organizations like PETA and Progress Place Mental Wellness.
Maravillas hand makes their sustainable, vegan handbags in their workshop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. They do create some styles in traditional leather, so be sure to look for the designs that are made with 100% vegan and sustainable Piñatex Pineapple Leather. Maravillas’ founder, Christina Bussmann, is an advocate for timeless designs and she’s an activist against fast-fashion and its exploitation of people and nature.
Camille Vegan Bags are created in the epicenter of the fashion world in Paris, France. Founders Raphaël and Camille Vial love to promote slow fashion, with a focus on quality and timeless design while still being affordable.
Faux Suede Handbags and Purses
Red Maus designs minimalist and functional shoulder bags, backpacks, and other vegan bags with distressed faux vegan leather that reminds me of classic suede. Visit their Etsy store to see their collection.
If you love the rugged look of suede but not the idea of harming animals, this faux suede laser-cut bag may me just what you’re looking for. It even has a little bit of fringe to give it a cool ’70s retro look.
Available colors: olive green and vintage black
And if y0u want ever more fringe, check out this faux suede shoulder bag. It epitomizes cruelty-free, boho chic style.
Available colors: purple, brown, dark brown, gray, and black
Straw Handbags and Purses
Straw handbags make great vegan and eco-friendly purses, though it can be hard to find styles that don’t have leather straps. I’ve sent plenty of messages to straw handbag designers urging them to use faux leather in their bags! Fortunately, there are some handbag designers who are making fun, animal-friendly straw bags.
This cute vegan handbag is made with 100% natural and eco-friendly straw, and it has a cotton lining. It’s perfect for a summer purse or a beach tote. This bag makes me want to go on vacation to Greece, the Caribbean, or somewhere equally as sunny and carefree.
Speaking of Greece, this natural raffia shoulder bag was handmade there. Artisans in Greece use a crochet weave to create this vegan, natural fiber shoulder bag.
Available colors: tan and black
Everyone should own a classic, woven beach tote. This vegan tote bag is handmade with woven water hyacinth, a lovely eco-friendly material. It comes in two sizes.
There are also some great straw bags in mini sizes. These cute shoulder bags are handmade in Bangkok, Thailand. Visit Chanya’s Etsy store to see more of their straw bags and other accessories.
Described as a “bucket bag,” this colorful round tote can be use as purse or a picnic basket. It’s handwoven with natural seagrass and has a wooden button and seagrass loop closure.
Combining white PU faux leather and woven straw, this cute purse will look great with a dress, jeans, or whatever else you pair it with. It has an adjustable crossbody strap and a short handle. Plus, it has a magnetic closure and an inside zipper pocket to keep your valuables secure.
If a straw clutch is what you’re after, be sure to check out all of the styles on Amazon.
For a truly unique look, take a look at this circular bamboo handbag. Bamboo is a super versatile material and, as the fastest growing grass on the planet, it’s a superstar sustainable material. So, this purse is a winning combination of Earth-friendly and animal-friendly.
Another exceptionally cute and unique purse, this bag is handwoven in Bali with bamboo and rattan. Visit Gonics Bali’s Etsy store to see more bags, which are handmade with natural materials.
Like bamboo, cork is a superstar sustainable material. Cork forests are home to many species of plants and animals that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, and some of which are endangered. When cork bark is harvested, it doesn’t hurt the tree. Plus, harvesting cork bark enables the tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere. So, purchasing cork products provides a financial incentive to keep cork forests alive, which helps the natural ecosystems they support.
Moana Cork is a 100% vegan brand created by two sisters in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They design eco-friendly, vegan handbags with sustainable cork. Cork leather is crack-resistant, scratch-resistant, and stain-resistant. Plus, it’s smooth to the touch.
Available colors: turquoise, green, wine, and yellow
Corkor is another eco-conscious and vegan brand that creates stylish handbags and purses from natural cork. The Corkor team are big advocates for animals and protecting the environment, and they’re doing their part to help the fashion world become a more socially conscious industry.
Available colors: black, navy blue, brown, reddish-brown, and natural
The Eco Owl makes a variety of vegan handbags and other accessories from eco-friendly cork. Visit their Etsy store to see their collection of cork clutches, shoulder bags, and other purses, as well as their cork watches, wallets, and more.
Upstyle is a truly unique handbag company based in San Diego, California. They let you customize your own clutch bag with their DIY clutch kits. You can choose from a variety of hardware finishes and styles, including gold and silver finish. And you can select your own textile from their collection of cork leathers and upcycled fabrics or use your own.
Hemp, Palm Leaf, and Other Natural Fiber Handbags
Woven with traditional techniques from Mexico, this unique handbag is made with sustainable and renewable palm leaves. It’s handmade by artisans in Southern Mexico under fair trade working conditions.
Tierr Amor creates a variety of natural and sustainable vegan products in Mexico.
Available colors: turquoise, hot pink, and natural
This vegan shoulder bag is made with 100% natural Himalayan hemp. It has an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap for wearing over your shoulder. Or, it can be worn attached to your belt through webbing loop. Hemp is another superstar sustainable material because it grows easily without pesticides, yet it’s durable enough to withstand your many travel adventures!
You’ve got to love Dime Bag’s name, which references buying a $10 bag of pot! But whether you choose to inhale or not, hemp accessories are for everyone because they’re gentle on the planet and animals.
Available colors: black, brown, hot pink, white, lavender, and natural
Sakroots creates colorful vegan bags with uncoated canvas and polyester fabric. They have a variety of colors, patterns, and styles to choose from.
These colorful, boho chic bags are made with 100% cotton that is hand-loomed and they’re accented with delicate handiwork, including tassels and embroidery.
Woven with cotton and natural, eco-friendly jute, these casual shoulder bags are fun, functional, and boho chic. A socially-conscious company, Hey Jute donates a portion of their sales to human rights organizations that put a special emphasis on protecting children.
Recycled Vegan Handbags and Purses
Before I started UniGuide, I worked for years as a marketing consultant in the online automotive industry. The auto industry can be rather formal, and I’d often have to wear suits to business meetings. At that time, it was actually hard to find designer vegan handbags. Then, I discovered a Harvey’s seat belt bag.
As silly as it might seem, this purse, made with upcycled seat belts, somehow made me feel balanced working in the car industry. There I was, a vegetarian tree hugger (these were the years before I became a full-fledged vegan) working in the car industry. And while to anyone else my purse looked like another well-designed handbag, to me, it straddled the two worlds I was living in. And now, this handbag represents a world I left behind, and the world I live in now.
I reached out to Harvey’s to find out where they source all of their seat belt materials these days because I can’t imagine some of the colors I see are from actual reclaimed car seat belts. They haven’t replied yet, but at least these bags are not made with leather!
One tip I wanted to mention: these bags have great re-sale value! I sold two of my Harvey’s on eBay. (I’m embarrassed to admit that at one point, I had three Harvey’s, so I needed to downsize!) I listed the two bags on eBay for what I thought was too high a price and both sold within a couple of hours. So, if you want to hop on over to eBay and check out their pre-owned Harvey’s, I won’t be offended. I’m all for buying used goods.
One of my favorite upcycling product designers, Upcycling by Milo creates unique and colorful accessories from an array of reclaimed materials, such as vinyl records, billboards, and candy wrappers. You can see more of their one-of-a-kind designs in my posts on eco-friendly laptop cases and iPad mini covers.
Sea Bags creates sweet, one-of-a-kind bags from sail cloth. Every bag is handmade in their workshop in Portland, Maine.
These unique bags are handmade from upcycled cement bags in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And they’re lined with used inner tube tires, making them extra durable and water-resistant.
These eco-friendly burlap bags are made from upcycled imported Fair Trade certified coffee bags. And they’re lined with upcycled fabric that’s donated from local upholstery and furniture shops in North Carolina.
Haiku creates colorful, casual purses and other bags that are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Every Haiku bag keeps at least five plastic bottles out of the landfill or from polluting our oceans.
Alchemy Goods turns upcycled bicycle inner tubes into cool bags and accessories. To date, they’ve kept over 500,000 bicycle inner tubes out of the landfill. All of their products are produced in their workshop in Seattle, Washington.
This special bag is made with upcycled truck tire inner tubes by artisans in rural Thailand. Even the tassels are made from inner tubes! Visit Tube Bags Thailand’s Etsy store to see more of their recycled tire accessories.
AfriEco Designs creates colorful, one-of-a-kind vegan bags from recycled, upcycled, and natural materials. The bags are made in different countries throughout Africa. The company’s founders, who are based in Germany, are focused on supporting craftspeople and manufacturing jobs in Africa under fair trade conditions.
Vaho Up reuses discarded advertising banners and signs and turns them into these unique handbags and other cool, upcycled accessories. Meant to be eye catching in their original form, vinyl banners also make cool, attention-getting vegan bags.
To see more great vegan and recycled accessories, check out: