Vegan fashion directory part 2: where to buy vegan-friendly handbags

As much as finding a pair of shoes, boots or heels is a personal choice (you can read all about my post on brands that offer vegan shoes here), as women, we like to carry stylish bags that define our personal style. So where do you go for that perfect arm candy, for work or for going out?

Hopefully this blog post will have you sorted and as with my post on vegan shoes, there will be something here to suit everyone.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I understand the struggles all too well of where to find what you need as a vegan, from shoes, handbags and other products. It can be a bit of a minefield and in my previous post (here), I’ve explained that, as a vegan lifestyle blog, I’m going to share with you everything I’ve learned through my research with you on this blog. This will be my one-stop shop of information I’ve gathered which I hope will help you as much as I hoped something like this was available to me when I made the switch.

A lot of people (myself included) will often assume that being vegan means wearing shapeless and unbecoming clothing and carrying cotton tote bags, but as we all know, this is simply not the case. It’s not just that restaurants are catching on to the demand for vegan options, fashion companies are too and there are plenty of vegan handbags to choose from as well. Below I’ve curated some of my favourite brands that are either vegan or offer vegan options and again these are clearly marked next to each brand.

If you would like to extend the life of your favourite vegan handbag and accessorise it with a trendy shoulder strap, Gabrielle by P has you covered with some pretty stylish straps with an option of choosing from gold or silver coloured hardware. I’ve been told as well to expect more exciting designs for 2018 so stay tuned for any updates!

GUNAS New York (vegan)

GUNAS has the claim of being the first 100% vegan and cruelty free handbag brand in the US. Established in 2009, winner of The Klean Kanteen Best Green Handbag in The Independent Handbag Designer Awards 2015, with clients such as Katarina van Derham (Actor and CEO of Viva Glam Magazine) and Emily Deschanel, and having been featured in various fashion magazines such as Vogue, InStyle and Marie Claire as well as The Huffington Post, VegNews and Time to name a few, PETA-approved GUNAS is making news everywhere.

The independent fashion brand was started by designer and animal lover Sugandh G Agrawal who wanted to share the ethos that you don’t need to harm living beings to be fashionable and make a statement.

Madison PE shoulder bag in charcoal grey, US$225 (approx. £163.91)

Radiance beaded clutch, US$125 (approx. £91.06)

Cottontail top handle handbag in light pink, US$189 (approx. £137.68)

MeDusa (vegan)

MeDusa was born when Israeli designers Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal searched for a way to bring innovative textiles into the fashion and accessories industry in 2009. Seamlessly blending vintage shapes with modern textures, the brand offers contemporary urban styles with a knack for the edgy details. Sculpting a compound of industrial plastic, all handbags, totes and purses are handmade, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and incredibly durable.

Sofi crossbody bag in white, US$140 (approx. £101.99)

Urban Expressions (vegan)

Founded in 2005 by two conscious entrepreneurs who wanted to revolutionize the industry with chic animal-friendly handbags that meet the needs of the everyday woman, the design team behind Urban Expressions is driven by a desire to create luxury vegan accessories that make a distinct fashion-forward statement. All of their products have been certified by and is PETA-approved.

Offering a range of small accessories from makeup bags, card holders to handbags, cross body bags and backpacks in a range of styles, this brand is bound to offer you a style that you would like.

Misty quilted chain vegan leather cross body bag in bone, US$65 (approx. £49.51)

London perforated tote bag in black, US$110 (approx. £83.78)

Raleigh hobo in metallic black, US$100 (approx. £72.85)

Arabella embroidered crossbody bag in black, US$65 (approx. £49.51)

Angela Roi (vegan)

Working with skilled artisans to craft handbags using high quality vegan leather, Angela Roi is an ethical luxury handbag brand in New York built on the foundation of kindness, values and love. Guided by Angela’s vision of modern classic designs and under Roi’s innovative approach for carving a niche for the brand, this young and cherished brand has thrived since 2013.

Angela Roi believes that the goodness of people has the calibre to alter the globe for the better. With the grandeur of luxury and within the realm of humanity, the hope is to pave a path of altruism and to promisingly transform the way of the fashion industry. It is possible to find luxurious vegan handbags and still be stylish without causing harm and Angela Roi is one of the brands to prove this is possible and a reality.

Sunday Mini top handle bag in Dusty Rose, US$165 (approx. £120.20)

Stella McCartney (vegan)

This household brand name is no stranger in the high fashion community. Well known and recognised for her commitment to offering cruelty free products under her brand, lifelong vegetarian Stella McCartney is known for not using leather or fur in any of her products. Her commitment to sustainability is also evident throughout all her collections and is part of the brand’s ethos to being a responsible, honest, and modern company.

Stella proves that it is possible to make your mark and be seen as a serious contender amongst modern and contemporary high fashion designers without compromising our ethics or morals and being kind and compassionate to all living beings while also making a fashion statement.

Limited edition Stella McCartney x Parley Falabella GO backpack for Sea Shepherd, £720 now sold out

Redwood Falabella Shiny Dotted Mini Tote in Flame, £630

Falabella Shaggy Deer Tiny Fold Over Tote in Black, £475

happy genie (vegan)

Not long ago, I wrote a post about a new revolutionary vegan brand that offers a sustainable solution to luxury handbags (see here). happy genie has found an ingenious way of reducing fruit waste from the apple juicing industry by reducing this into a flour which is then used to create the sustainable and eco-friendly vegan leather used for their products.

How the happy genie handbags are made

As a vegan who cares about not contributing to animal suffering and to make a positive impact and reduce waste and pollution to our environment, I’m a proud supporter of happy genie’s initiative to also take into account sustainable and ethical ways of producing products that we can still enjoy. All who have backed their Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns by early December have by now received a special gift in a coin purse. I showed my non-vegan colleagues the coin purse and none of them could believe this was not leather.

happy genie coin purse sent to all early backers in December

happy genie is setting a positive example for the fashion industry to follow. Not only are they making an impact on the environment, they are also reducing waste from a manufacturing but also consumer level. Often we end up buying several bags to suit our style for the day or for going out at night, but happy genie offers several styles in one bag…by allowing you to purchase different straps and clutches to change the design of your staple handbag. At the time of launching their fundraising campaigns, there were 8 designs on offer, but happy genie hope to increase their range of clutch and strap designs by the time they officially launch in March.

How to switch up your happy genie bag

There’s still 10 days left on their Indiegogo campaign (here) if you would like to get your hands on one of their bags or accessories at 40% off retail price. Bags will be shipped from March when their online store officially launches, so backers will be the first ones to receive their bags in advance of the general public.

The different styles on offer

Labante London (vegan)

When I started looking for bags to replace some of my leather handbags (there are still some that I keep and will continue to use, but there were some that I felt I could no longer comfortably continue to carry and would see more use by someone else), Labante London was one of the first brands that caught my eye. I wanted to support local businesses that offered eco-friendly materials but versatile designs that could be paired with casual and more formal wear.

Labante is a PETA-approved, environmentally as well as ethically conscious company and ensures manufacturers conform to the strictest manufacturing codes for their jewellery and handbags. They only use recycled products with production processes that respect the environment. No small detail goes unnoticed, so even the linings of their bags are made from recycled polyester. Both dust bags and swing tags use recycled materials in a conscientious effort to be sustainable throughout.

My Whitney tote in brown, I bought this last year and use it daily as my everyday bag, but this is no longer available

Vanessa cross body bag in Black, £210

Alanis cross body bag in Bordeaux, £59 on sale for £55

Ida cross body bag in Bordeaux, £59.90

88 Handbags (vegan)

88 is a movement made up by diverse women that are passionate about the environment, animals and the way their bags are produced. All bags are designed in LA with love and made from 100% cruelty free vegan leather. The company even designs their own hardware to ensure materials are best suited for the environment and ensures their suppliers are compliant with human rights and good working conditions.

Ranging from handbags to convertible bags that offer you two different styles with one bag, 88 Handbags offer a range of different styles at affordable prices by manufacturing directly for the customer.

Avis crocco mini tote bag in light pink, US$48 on sale for US$19.99 (approx. £14.56)

Allie Lurex 2-in-1 crossbody bag in midnight blue, US$58 on sale for US$24.99 (approx. £18.20)

Melie Bianco (vegan)

Another vegan brand that offers affordable yet stylish handbags is Melie Bianco who believes in quality, craftsmanship, affordable luxury and doing their part to make a difference. The brand uses polyurethane (PU) which is made from natural materials to create the look and feel of leather without the harmful effects of materials made from plastic, such as PVC.

Their handbags have been featured from magazines such as Marie Claire, Glamour, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Oprah and Vogue to TV shows like Desperate Housewives, Hart of Dixie, The Carrie Diaries, Dallas and Laguna Beach. With a range of high profile exposure under their belt, the winner of Best Animal-Friendly Accessories at the PETA UK Vegan Fashion Awards offers a range of versatile and classic chic looking bags and accessories that is sure to turn heads.

Issa ring crossbody bag in navy, pre-order for £35.54

Elle Chain handle crossbody bag in Pewter, £58.11 on sale for £43.55

Cherie mini studded crossbody bag in Bone, £50.83

Wilby (vegan)

In 2013 the founders of Wilby decided to create a UK made vegan fashion range specialising in the ‘clutch’. These were to be animal free products that are certified for legitimacy as well as being eco sensitive and environmentally aware. The aim was and still is to create a fashion brand that is both ethical and fashionable for the consumer who can be safe in the knowledge that they are helping the environment in some way with every purchase.

The brand has had an amazing start and all bags are vegan approved by PETA. Wibly use organic and eco-friendly materials when possible such as organic cotton and lining, recyclable cloth, eco-friendly backing and cork leather.

Citibag crossbody bag in black, £85 on sale for £70

Alexandra K (vegan)

Alexandra K is a newly discovered vegan brand from Poland that I absolutely love. The styles are so versatile with classic shapes that can transform from day to night and you can choose a bigger size to carry all your belongings, or you can choose a mini size if you prefer a daintier mini bag. Founder and designer Alexandra Kościkiewicz believes that consciousness of the environmental problems bring a new dimension to fashion and that this is the reason why the idea of using leather goods is no longer so desirable to the vast majority of consumers.

All of Alexandra’s designs are simple, elegant and functional and attention is paid to detail. In addition to never compromising on their vegan ethos by refusing to use any materials derived from animals, the brand also ensures skilled leather workers in Poland receive fair wages and good working conditions and focusing on collaborations with Polish companies to support their local economy. Alexandra K are constantly looking for new fabric that are recycled or from organic farming that uses less water and energy and do not use highly toxic chemical compounds such as PVC.

My mini 0.8 evening bag in Almond with gold hardware. Buy here for €129

0.8 mini evening bag in Cranberry, €129 from Alexandra K

1.4 top handle handbag in Ash, €229 from Alexandra K

Sole Society (vegan options)

Sole Society is known for selling a range of shoes, handbags and accessories, but they do also offer vegan handbags. Taking inspiration from the latest trends and timeless silhouettes, the brand designs a fresh take on fashion’s must-have looks and curate a wide assortment of our favorite brands. The bags are made from eco-friendly vegan leather with a buttery soft feel. Without breaking the bank, Sole Society offers affordable and fashionable designs.

The full range of their vegan handbags can be viewed here or by selecting the ‘Vegan Handbags’ category under the Bags menu.

Alanzo weekender bag in black, US$89.95 (approx. £65.50)

Kelsee mini quilted crossbody bag in mauve, US$49.95 (approx. £36.37)

Free People (vegan options)

Free People is another brand that offers some stylish vegan bags. Free People first started in 1970s Pennsylvania and had been renamed Urban Outfitters for a while. In 2001 however, the owners Dick Hayne and his wife Meg decided to shed its junior image and evolve into a more mature, contemporary brand. This allowed women to appreciate the line of clothing that catered to their intelligence, creativity and individuality, while keeping with its great quality and affordability.

For stylish fashion pieces, Free People offers great pieces that evoke an image of classic style with individuality. I also bought a mini tote in blush that I use sometimes as my going out bag that is quite spacious yet compact. One of the great things about Free People is that although they are based in and ship from the US, customs are paid for with the postage costs so you don’t have to worry about incurring any additional customs fees or charges when it arrives in the UK.

Covet washed hobo in Mustard, £78

Cameron midi tote in Ice, £48

Out of all the brands, I love the simple, classic yet timeless designs from Alexandra K, happy genie Labante London. The simple yet chic designs all incorporate a practical element to them (you can transform an outfit from day to night with these beauties) while the attention to detail really speak to my inner creativity. I also really like the Cameron midi tote from Free People. The design is a similar style to my blush pink mini tote, but I really like the crisp white colour (who doesn’t like the colour Ice?) with the details from the visible assembly of different pieces of the bag with the braided handles.

Are there any brands that offer vegan handbags that you feel I’ve missed and should be included? Do you have a favourite brand? What handbag do you carry with you every day?

3 thoughts on “Vegan fashion directory part 2: where to buy vegan-friendly handbags

Don't forget to leave a comment before you leave!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.