Darlings and gentledarlings, prepare to get your ethical on with some slow fashion bags! Of all the clothings, I think that bags have the best ability to last through the generations. (That is, unless I’m the owner; I make bags work for their keep.)
I’ve collected a bunch of great bag options that are good to people and the planet. I’ve even included some vegan brands for you PETA-types. I’m actually kind of skeptical of vegan leather and faux fur (surely biodegradable natural materials are better than petroleum byproducts?), but it turns out that there are some pretty cool ways to recycle things like old tires and get a beautiful purse out of it.
Wilby / Vegan leather bags that are legit PETA-approved! The bags are made in the UK and they use organic and eco-friendly materials “when possible.”
Matt & Nat / I’m unintentionally developing quite the collection of these (I think I’m at 3 now). Though I would love real leather bags, Matt & Nat is still a bit more affordable. Anyways, Matt & Nat are soooo cool. They make their vegan bags from recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork—and even old bike tires! And their linings are made out of recycled plastic bottles. Their factory standards aren’t completely clear, but one of their factories meets some sort of guideline for human rights. Yay?
Sseko / Sseko employs a team of 50 women in Uganda. The goal is to provide women the means to go to university, or stable employment for women who have left the commercial sex industry. Gah, reading up on Sseko makes me really love them. They also make shoes!
Cru / Made by artisans in Portugal out of leather that will last and last and last.
Uppdoo / Leather bags handmade in a studio in Toronto, Canada.
Le Souque / The two women behind Le Souque source independent designers from all over the world. Some vegan products, some leather.
Tribe Alive / Ack, these bags are beautiful! Tribe Alive products are created in developing countries by marginalized women who receive fair trade wages, a safe workplace, and the independence that comes with that. They weave their own fabrics in amazing (amazing) prints and mix in some leather for good measure.
H. & Clark / A 150-year-old family business handmaking leather bags in Kentucky.
Erin Templeton / Erin makes her bags by hand in Vancouver, Canada, out of recycled leather, imported cowhides, and locally tanned elks and bison.
Cambridge Satchel Co. / You’ve probably heard of these guys! Made in Leicester, UK out of real live (okay, dead) leather.
Barbara and Cecile / Their bags are handmade in Winnipeg, Canada (my town!). They gain extra cool points because the lining is created all special with watercolours and digital collage.
Wild Tussah / These guys work out of Vietnam finding local weaving villages where it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the weaving biz and provide a market for their work. Right now a lot of their bags are out of stock…I hope that’s not a permanent thing? They also sell some gorgeous fabrics!
Finding good sewing patterns for bags is hard, you guys! I mean, there are a few awesome ones (I’ve been sitting on that leather tote for awhile), but the best ones are more in the backpack/tote/weekender category. But I am determined to provide you with some resources, so off you go to make your totes and backpacks.