Following a vegan lifestyle shouldn’t mean that you need to sacrifice style. You can keep your accessory game cruelty free AND chic. Because I personally hold firm principles doesn’t mean that I ever want to purchase cheap-looking, depressing, unchic items. I do not compromise! In our ever-changing world, so many designers are offering leather and suede alternatives that are just a chic as real leather options.
We are all aware of the cruelty that exists within the fur industry, and it seems that the majority of fashionistas go faux with their fur because of that awareness. However, leather has become such a normal part of the marketplace all over the world that many boycott fur because the industry is cruel, while they’re carrying their leather bag and wearing leather shoes…which is basically fur without the hair. Leather has become synonymous with ‘luxury’ that we don’t stop to think about how it was made or where it came from, and who or what was sacrificed to produce it.
Why is leather such a problem? Many people excuse the fact that they buy leather because they think that it is a byproduct of the meat industry and that the two go hand in hand, but the reality is that millions of animals are being slaughtered just for all of the ‘luxury’ items we’re buying. Cows, pigs, sheep, and even cats and dogs are slaughtered for both their meat and skin. That soft calf skin bag? Yes, it’s made from a baby cow’s skin, many times before the baby is even born (the baby is cut out from its mother for its soft skin). I won’t get any more graphic, but if you want to do more research on the leather industry, see here, here, here, and here. Leather is not usually labeled, so many times, you do not really know whose skin you’re wearing or carrying.
It has become a fun challenge to find beautiful bags that are sustainable and responsibly made. At first, it bummed me out that I couldn’t own a Chanel bag, most Dior bags, or really most big-time luxury handbags. But now, the thought of putting my things inside of dead flesh really is not appealing.
Thankfully non-leather items are becoming more and more mainstream. You can walk into Target, Zara, Forever 21, the list goes on for affordable cruelty free handbags and clothing items. I wanted to highlight some higher-end brands here who produce sustainable, responsible designs with a higher price tag.
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Givenchy: Givenchy is known for their leather bags, but they are appealing to vegans with the faux-leather Antigona bag. And it’s very popular – there is a waitlist to buy the bag via Saks (link above).
Stella McCartney: Stella McCartney is probably the most popular luxury vegan designer. She grew up as a vegetarian, and refuses to use animal products when producing her handbags. How gorgeous is that black & crystal bag above?! Need.
Matt & Nat: Matt & Nat bags are so chic, designed with clean lines and beautiful colors. They use recycled products to produce their bags, such as cork, nylon, and rubber.
Gunas: Gunas was launched in 2009 by Sugandh Agrawal, whose mission is strong and clear: animals are NOT meant to be a part of fashion. Gunas has every style of handbag available from totes, wallets, hobos, clutches, and backpacks.
More of my favorite vegan leather bags