How to choose a sustainable and fashionable bag for any occasion
With so much talk of fast fashion in the media and sustainable fashion choices, it's hard to know where to begin. One wardrobe staple you can easily change while embracing conscious consumerism is your handbag.
In this guide we'll explain how to pick the best vegan handbag. Whether you're looking for a new tote, crossbody, bowler, or business bag – we've got you covered!
What does vegan and sustainable fashion mean?
Sustainable fashion considers the way an item is made. What kind of footprint will the production leave? How are consumers likely to interact with it?
It's the opposite of fast or faster-than-fast fashion, which sees consumers buying low-cost fashion, quickly and easily. The impact of rapidly creating clothing is that it becomes throwaway and quickly loses value.
What makes a handbag sustainable?
To be truly sustainable, a handbag or purse should be made from eco-friendly recycled or upcycled materials. But more than that, environmental issues and ethics including fair compensation for workers should be embraced.
Which bag materials are sustainable?
The materials used to make a handbag can increase (or decrease) its sustainability. Using natural, recycled, and upcycled fibres for the outer material and lining can boost the eco-friendliness of a product.
Of course, it would be impossible to talk about this without discussing vegan leather…
Is vegan leather better than real leather?
Vegan leather can be eco-friendly, but it depends on what it's made from. Polyurethane is vegan and arguably better than PVC, but it's made from petroleum (not environmentally friendly).
As a brand, we focus on upcycling materials that offer the same quality as leather, but without the environmental impact.
Animal leather vs artificial leather – what's the difference?
This is a question many people (understandably) ask. The biggest difference is the fact that animal leather is made from animal skin, while artificial leather is made from different materials.
What is vegan leather made from and is it sustainable?
Vegan leather can be made from materials including cork, recycled plastic, and rubber. For instance, recycled truck tyre inner tubes make a great alternative because of the textures, patterns, and durability. Find out more about vegan leather by reading our guide.
Why vegan leather?
If you want to commit to a sustainable lifestyle, vegan leather is one of the easiest swaps you can make. You won't notice the difference in quality or style, but you'll make a positive difference to the environment.
How to choose the best vegan handbag
You might ask, 'how do I choose a handbag for everyday use?', 'how do I choose a handbag: size, colour, style, and more', 'what is the most versatile handbag colour?' - and you're not alone.
Buying a handbag is a big deal, so we're going to answer as many of your questions as possible.
We offer eco-handbag designs to suit all styles. Every woman should own the handbags of their dreams, regardless of whether you want something practical or a cute weekend purse!
Tote bags are great! Our Anna Recycled Rubber Vegan Tote Bag is ideal for everyday use. You can use it every day as your work bag, you can stuff your gym kit in it, or use it for shopping.
As well as being big, Totes are durable - if you look after your bag, it should last for years. The handmade Anna Recycled Vegan Rubber Tote Bag is made from reclaimed inner bike tubes, find out more here.
If you are hoping to go to lots of events this summer, you may be interested in our Maggie Inner Tube Vegan Bag crossbody.
It is lightweight yet practical and ideal for storing your festival essentials. Each compartment features a zip for added security, which means you have peace of mind and can enjoy your favourite band without worrying about losing your valuables. View the full range of colour options here.
Our Reina Black Vegan Handbag is a super cute crossbody or one shoulder handbag. Simple yet elegant in design, you can carry everything you need, whether you're out for the night or having brunch with the girls.
It's easy to clean and as every bag is handmade from reclaimed materials, each is unique in design. Find out more about the Reina here.
Our version of the Bowler bag offers a twist on the classic as it's made from upcycled seatbelts. The Penyau Upcycled Vegan Seatbelt Bowler Bag is compact in design yet spacious. It features two handles and a detachable crossbody strap adding a touch of elegance to any outfit.
It is easy to keep your valuables safe while you are out, as there is an inside pocket. View Paguro's Bowler Bag here.
Alternatively, if you need a smart business bag with eco credentials, our Slimline Inner Tube Padded Vegan Laptop Bag is ideal. It's suitable for a 13 inch laptop or A4 notebook and is padded for extra protection.
How to care for your faux leather handbag
Cleaning your vegan leather is simple, just empty your bag and use a damp cloth to wipe it. The inner tube material is completely waterproof, so you can use water and dish soap to clean it. Remove any soapy residue before leaving it to air dry.
As for the lining of your bag, you can keep that clean by emptying your bag and wiping with a damp cloth. If it's detachable, you can deep clean it to remove makeup or pen marks.
Either way, make sure your lining dries quickly and thoroughly by leaving it on a radiator.
To maximise the life of your bag – don't hang it! Store it on a shelf! When you hang it, you will distort the handles. If your bag is taller than your shelf, lie it flat to prevent it from being squashed.
General handbag FAQs
How many handbags does the average woman own?
What is a shoulder handbag?
A purse or bag carried with at least one strap attached.
How do you carry a shoulder bag?
The strap should sit comfortably on your shoulder.
What is the difference between a handbag and a shoulder bag?
A handbag has two handles to make it easy to carry, while a shoulder bag has a strap making it hands-free.
What is the difference between a tote and a handbag?
A tote bag does not have pockets, whereas a handbag is smaller and has different compartments.
Is a tote bag a handbag?
Which is better: backpack or shoulder bag?
It depends on your needs. For instance, a backpack is good for weight distribution, whereas a shoulder bag is ideal for quickly retrieving items.
Is it rude to put your purse on the table?
Yes (and unhygienic!)
Do you wear or carry handbags?
You carry them.
How long should a shoulder bag be?
This depends on where you want your bag to sit - close to your arm or near your hip.
What does hobo bag mean?
A hobo bag is crescent shaped with long straps to give it a slouchy look.
What is considered a small handbag?
6-12 inches wide.
What's your favourite handbag?
For a limited time, our handbags are on sale here.
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