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Plant based isn’t just about food any more ~ it’s about fashion too! Plant based leather bags and accessories are some of my favorite new innovations in sustainable design.
Over the past several months I’ve been working on leather sustainability research and reporting for the Material Innovation Initiative, a nonprofit helping to grow the next gen and plant-based materials industry. I have a huge love of design, so it’s been so much fun learning about all the gorgeous plant based leather alternatives to animal products that are being developed for fashion, interiors, cars, and more! Luxury brands such as Stella McCartney are starting to make collections out of these more sustainable vegan materials. The fashion industry has a long way to go in its journey to more sustainable practices, but progress is being made.
Next gen materials include alternatives to silk, leather, and wool that replace animal materials. These may be grown in a lab, manufactured in a factory, or even fermented.
Some of my favorite plant based leather bags and accessories are made out of cactus leather, grape leather, pineapple leather, corn leather, and cork leather. These leathers are cruelty-free and more sustainable materials than animal leathers, on top of being unique, high quality, and beautiful.
Here is a roundup of my favorite eco friendly bags and accessories made out of these new plant based leather materials. These also make great eco-friendly gifts!
20 Plant Based Leather Bags and Accessories
1. Kantala Handbags
Kantala merges everything you want in a handbag: style, eco-friendly and vegan materials, and a price that won’t drain your bank account. Kantala handbags use a variety of natural materials as well as artisan manufacturing to make them Earth-friendly, and the brand creates everything from wallets to totes.
2. Eve Cork Bags
You’ve heard of cork in artwork and even flooring, but now there’s cork leather? Eve Cork makes beautiful handbags from the bark of the cork oak tree. Harvesting this bark is actually healthy for the tree, so you get a stunning, plant-based handbag while helping cork oak trees live longer.
3. Colibries Backpacks
If you have a lot to carry on your commute, why put all the weight onto one shoulder when you could use a more comfortable and back-friendly backpack? Colibries allows you to do precisely that while protecting the planet with plant-based materials.
Colibries uses a unique plant-based washable paper that looks, feels, and acts much like leather. As beautiful as their backpacks are, the brand also makes a variety of other types of bags, as well as baskets and other home décor accessories.
4. Nae Vegan Shoes
When you want sustainable footwear, you have more options than just hemp sandals, and Nae Vegan Shoes is proof of that. This brand specializes in vegan leather and other beautiful vegan materials.
In addition to vegan leather materials such as Pinatex, Nae uses natural cork, rubber, organic cotton, and coconut fibers to give their designers the freedom to make a range of styles and looks. Their show-stopping shoes run the gamut from hiking boots to stylish heels.
5. Happy Genie Handbags
Have you ever been enjoying a delicious apple and thought to yourself, “I wish I could wear this apple for a handbag?” You probably haven’t, but you will after you see the collection of Happy Genie handbags. These plant-based leather bags are made from apples, making them natural and more sustainable products than animal leather products, with the feel of pure luxury.
6. EVEANDADIS Handbags
EVEANDADIS is a German brand with a range of beautiful handbags, purses, and backpacks. The EVEANDADIS shop is a perfect place to find all their beautiful products.
The brand uses a variety of natural materials to make different types of bags. Some are made with plant-based leather while others are made with cotton canvas, cork, or even Piñatex, a material made from pineapple leaf waste fibers.
7. Veerah Appeel Shoes and Accessories
Most brands that make plant-based leathers don’t specify which plants they use. With Veerah Appeel, though, you know exactly what you’re getting: plant based leather shoes made from apple peels. These peels come from apple skins that have been used to make apple juice, and typically, they would have been discarded. Veerah Appeel crafts them into gorgeous shoes and accessories.
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8. Bark & Leaf Handbags
Leaves have been used in beautiful artwork for centuries, and even today, people flock to certain areas to watch the leaves change color in the fall. It’s only natural that someone would use leaves to make stylish handbags too.
Bark & Leaf crafts handbags with a variety of leaves and materials including lotus leaves, jute, banana bark, rain-tree leaves, and bamboo tree leaves. Their plant based leather bags also come in as many patterns, styles, and sizes as you can imagine, so there’s a look for everyone.
9. Hozen Sustainable Bags
Hozen is all about conservation, and in fact, their name is Japanese for “conservation.” They use a variety of materials for their bags. Some bags are made from a grain-based leather, others from grain-based suede, the amazing Piñatex made from pineapple leaves, recycled plastics, organic cotton, or other options.
The company’s Piñatex bags in particular offer a wide variety of looks, sizes, and purposes. There’s a look for everyone, from metallic glam to a classic black-and-white combo.
Plants aren’t the only parts of nature that can make gorgeous leather. Even their byproducts have potential if you know how to use them.
If you’re looking for a vegan purse EthicaLiving makes a range of beautiful vegan leather purses, wallets and handbags made from cork and coconut paper leather. The bags are 100% vegan, lightweight, recyclable or compostable. The brand really goes the extra mile when it comes to sustainability. Even the mailing bags they use to ship out their bags are compostable!
11. Maison Peaux Neuves
Maison Peaux Neuves offers creatively made plant based leather bags from innovative grape leather. The leather is made of 90% plant elements leftover from wine production. This raw material is called grape marc, composed of skins, seeds, and stems. It’s collected after the wine season, then turned into grape leather in Italy. The result is a shockingly-leather like material.
12. Watson and Wolfe
Watson and Wolfe makes low-impact, premium-quality bags with corn leather and recycled linings. While many vegan bags are made entirely of petroleum-based PU, Watson and Wolfe’s vegan leather uses 30% to 45% corn. The corn itself is a non-food grade crop, so it doesn’t divert from our food resources. Plus, it’s carbon neutral and non-GMO. The material itself is sourced from Italy, where it’s made in a solar-powered facility.
13. Luxtra London
Luxtra uses a variety of innovative plant-based materials to make its vegan bags. This includes:
- Pinatex: Made of pineapple leaf fiber, a natural byproduct of pineapple farming
- Desserto: Made of cactus leaves and free of PVC, phthalates, and toxic chemicals
- AppleSkin: A bio-based leather made of 20% to 30% apple
- e-Ultra: A bio-based leather made of up to 69% corn
Inuiki creates bold, modern shoes and accessories from banana and grape leather. Bananatex is the world’s first fabric made from banana plants. It’s durable and waterproof, as well as sustainable and chemical-free. Inuikii’s grape leather comes from grape marc leftover at Italian wineries.
Qwstion is a Swiss backpack brand that combines functionality with design. They make hip packs, laptop cases, tote bags, backpacks, and more from Bananatex. The mineral comes from sustainably grown banana plant fibers and is both durable and waterproof. It’s also Cradle to Cradle Certified, which signifies that it’s circular, responsibly made, and safe.
16. Alexandra K
Alexandra K is a Polish brand that makes modern, chic handbags that also happen to be vegan and environmentally friendly. They use corn leather which is 47% to 77% corn pulp. The brand also uses grape leather, which includes up to 75% grape biomass. Plus, Alexandra K utilizes plastic-free, recycled paper packaging.
17. Lucky Nelly
Lucky Nelly is a high-end luxury handbag brand that uses a wide variety of innovative materials. Each of its plant based leather bags is handmade in Germany. The brand’s founder, Christine Rochlitz, actually developed several vegan types of leather, including Citrustex (made from citrus peels), Berriestex (made from berries), and Cabbtex, made from cabbage. Other materials include cork, sewable wood, sewable slate stone, coconut leather, mango leather, Pinatex, and more.
Bohema’s bags, accessories, and shoes are contemporary but timeless. The brand calls itself plant avant-garde, noting the importance of style expression and clever material choices. The plant based leather bags are made from Pinatex pineapple leather, cactus leather, apple leather, and Vegea grape leather.
Noah is a German brand that makes classic handbags and shoes from grape leather. The brand refers to this plant based leather as wine leather, as the grape marc it’s made of comes from Italian wineries. There are no heavy metals, toxic solvents, or hazardous substances used in the making of Noah’s products.
20. Minuit Sur Terre
Minuit Sur Terre creates stylish, high-quality plant based leather bags and shoes with ethics in mind. The brand uses both grape and apple bio-based leathers. It also uses recycled bottles as well as corn and wheat cereal to make its unique inner lining material. Plus, it offers a recycling program for its used shoes, so nothing goes to waste.