Where to Buy Ethical and Sustainable Handbags and Purses

Whether you love handbags as a fashion accessory, or simply use them as a necessity, there is no doubt that they are important and useful. Most of us rarely leave home without a bag or at least a purse so it’s important that we have at least one good quality bag and purse to see us through our daily activities.

Bags are intertwined with fashion. Like clothes and shoes, many are produced in sweat shop environments, are made from materials that negatively impact our environment, and are designed to change with the fashion trends. On a positive note, there are an increasing number of sustainable options that are ethical and functional without compromising on style. Whether you need one all-purpose handbag or a few that serve a variety of functions there is no shortage of ethical options. We’ve compiled a collection of just a few of the gorgeous ethical and sustainable bags and purses available including some vegan options. Many of the styles here are available in a variety of colours so you are sure to find something that suits both the function you need and your individual style.

Where to buy ethical and sustainable handbags and purses

(Just a heads up that Sseko and FashionABLE are affiliate partners of this blog. If you click the link and choose to purchase, we will recieve a small commission. The price is the same for you. We only choose products and brands that strcitly comply with our ethics. Thanks for your support)

1. Caramel Wallet (Fairtrade handcrafted leather, chromium-free) by Sseko

2. Cross Body Bag (Fairtrade handcrafted sheep skin leather chromium-free) by Sseko

3. Safari Leather Bucket Bag (Fairtrade handcrafted from Ethiopian oil-tanned leather, chrome-free) by Sseko

4. Tigist Crossbody Bag (Fairtrade handcrafted Ethiopian leather, chromium-free) by FashionABLE

5. Tigist Clutch (Fairtrade handcrafted Ethiopian leather, chormium-free) by FashionABLE

6. Geometric Leather Clutch (Fairtrade, cotton and recycled leather) by Fair Anita

7. Cork Wallet (Eco-friendly PETA approved vegan ) by Corkor

8. Men’s Cork Wallet (Eco-friendly PETA approved vegan ) by Corkor

9. Cork Tote (Sustainably harvested cork, vegetable tanned leather, made to order in the USA) by Spicer Bags

10. Black Diamond Bag (Fairtrade vegan friendly) by Fair Anita

Do you have a favourite sustainable bag or purse? Let us know if we’ve missed any great brands.

Photo By: photo credit: _MG_8920 via photopin (license)
  • Great read, accessories are amazing to add your own personal style to any outfit and finding sustainable ones is key!

    Scandinavian Slow Fashion coming soon at http://www.byem.com
    Our Conscious Journal at http://www.epitomeofnow.byem.com

  • Anne

    Another brilliant brand is http://issara.co/. They create beautiful bags that are made to last, but also have incredible knowledge and care of their full supply chain, to ensure everything right from the farms is done as ethically and sustainably as possible (yes, not vegan, but they create bags that are supposed to last a lifetime to minimise impact on ecosystems overall).

    • Thanks for the tip Anne. I will check them out. Personally I do like vege-tanned leather, simply because it lasts for so much longer than vegan options, and is more repairable. But you only need to own one or two leather bags, and they may well last you more than a decade or longer. Many of my readers are vegan though, so I like to provide vegan options too. Organic cotton canvas totes are a great vegan option.

    • Actually, further to my earlier comment: I had a look at the brand you mentioned. They seem fairly good, however they still use some chromium tanning in their leather. This is a toxic process and I don’t recommend buying chromium tanned leather unless you are buying it secondhand. The brand does use some vege-tanned leather too. To be sustainable, it is important to try to seek out vege-tanned leather over chromium tanned leather. There are other brands that do not include any chromium tanning- they are the better sustainable option.

    • Anne

      Good to know. Thanks Summer! Interestingly, I decided to go down the non-leather route and the bag wore through and broke so quickly, it just felt wasteful so I decided to go looking back to square one… And yes, second hand is another great way to buy! Mine lasted for years.

      • I generally prefer to buy for life, when I can. I bought a lovely jute handbag last year, but it has already started to wear out. I use it when I’m out with my children, but it far to scruffy for times when I need to look more formal, like when I’m meeting with clients/business contacts, or when I just want to look more presentable!

        • Anne

          Indeed! It can be tough finding things that truly last can’t it. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on other brands too!! (Maiyet is another one I have often wondered about? they seem to use only vegetable tanning) Although I am a big fan of Sseko, in particular the shoes!

  • shannon south

    Great list – but I wish you’d have included my company! We make relaxed luxury leather bags from pre-consumer waste from the leather industry.