The best, sustainable vegan leather bags and purses you can buy online
Have you heard? Animal leather is out. Plant leather is in. And when it comes to fashionable vegan-friendly purses, here's everything you need to know about the emerging sustainable materials being used, plus some stylish and sustainable bag brand recommendations.
I have been on a quest to find a high-quality, sustainable vegan leather purse company. You could easily search on Amazon for “vegan leather” but what you’ll typically find are purses and bags made overseas, many using PVC, which is one of the most common but least sustainable “vegan leather” materials out there.
With new leather alternatives coming onto the market, you can ditch the low-quality and plastic-based, highly-processed-with-chemicals vegan leathers (like PVC), and support brands making products from plant-based materials like cactus, mushrooms, apple skins, pineapple leaf fibers, recycled materials, cork and more—all wise and more environmentally sound choices.
Before I get to my favorite, sustainable brands making vegan leather purses, here are the new and up and coming materials that need to be on your radar—some more common, and some that are just starting to be used:
Cork: Cork is considered one of the most eco-friendly materials. It’s harvested from the outer bark of the tree that grows back naturally.
Mushrooms: Both the caps of mushrooms and the roots of mushrooms (mycelium) are now being used to create textiles and other materials. Mylo has products from adidas, lululemon, and Stella McCartney.
Apples: Cores and peels from apple processing yields organic materials to be saved from waste and make vegan leather bags, shoes and more!
Coffee: Recycled coffee grounds have been used to make shoes and bags.
Mulberry pulp: Paper pulp from the leaves of mulberry trees are being used by NY-based bag brand GUNAS. The material called MulbTex TM is being used to make select bags made from the material.
Pineapple: Made from pineapple leaves left over from harvesting the fruit, Piñatex® is the pineapple-based material that is licensed and used by various brands like LA-based Svala.
Grapes: Wine production produces a lot of grape byproducts such as skins and seeds.
The Best Vegan Leather Brands I am Buying
As a freelance journalist covering plant-based and vegan lifestyle, I sample a lot of products, talk to founders of these companies, and do lots of research. Both of my top picks for vegan bags are mission-driven companies using innovative, sustainable materials—and of course creating stylish and on-trend bags. And, while bags and purses from vegan powerhouse designer Stella McCartney may be out of reach in terms of cost, these below brands have bag options at an accessible price point.
Best Pineapple Leather Purses: Svala
I recently discovered Svala, an LA-based company that is making quality—and super cute—purses. I like them because not only are they made with sustainability at the forefront, they are innovative; they recently started using pineapple leather from Piñatex. Svala designs also have a timeless and versatile style. They are also made locally in LA. Check out their beautiful bag lineup HERE.
My Svala pick: Didi Clutch Mini - Metallic Gold Piñatex® (pictured on me in action below)
Best High-Fashion Vegan Leather Purses: GUNAS
GUNAS is a New York-based purse company that uses a number of vegan materials to make a wide selection of seriously cute bags. GUNAS commits to “not use[ing] any PVC or Vinyl due to their harmful effects on our environment,” the company says. Also, all their lining fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles or up-cycled cotton twills. They use their MulbTex material to make some bags, like the fashionable “About Last Night” vegan clutch. Mulberry Leather, or MulbTex ™, has been used for centuries in Korea to make traditional artifacts, lampshades and more. View GUNAS' many fashionable purse and bag options HERE.
My GUNAS pick: About Last Night - Black Vegan Clutch
I sometimes use affiliate links in my post. All brands I talk about, link to, and feature are brands I genuinely like and are in line with my personal values.