10 Best Affordable Vegan Bags to Buy
Unless your head has been buried in sand for the last few years, you might have noticed an emerging trend for vegan handbags (and all that is vegan) in the sustainable fashion world.
So if you want to be more sustainable, ethical and animal-cruelty free and you are on a tight-ish budget, this is the right blog for you.
“Where do I start?” I hear you cry, “It’s a jungle out there full of greenwashing! How do I know which bags are environmentally friendly and animal cruelty free? What else is in these vegan fabrics!?” For more information on vegan leather fabric please click here, but today let’s focus on what’s out there for you to buy now!
If you go too affordable, let me tell you, you will not get ethical, sustainable and beautiful bags that stand the test of time. Really cheap materials cannot mean durable, ethical and sustainable. But there ARE sustainable brands out there, selling more affordable, inexpensive bags and purses which are beautiful, ethical and sustainable. Tick, tick, tick! By spending your money on brands which are trying to make a positive change, which are promoting sustainability, ethical production and ethical treatment of animals, you are making that change possible. Vote with your wallet!
A lot more younger people are making the switch to ethical fashion choices too, so it makes sense to highlight the brands which are easier on the pocket. According to Mintel, in 2020 57% of British shoppers tried to pick sustainable fashion brands. This number for 16-24-year-olds was 68%."
How to choose an affordable vegan bag.
Right, let’s get down to it. Firstly, don’t go cheap and don’t go ‘high street’. There is a reason those bags are so cheap. They are more likely to be made in non-ethical factories, from very cheap materials and done so quickly, the stitches will probably come out after a few wears. Save up and treat yourself to a great new bag that’s ethical, vegan and sustainable and doesn’t cost the earth (pardon the pun 😊). So, if you don’t have over £1000 to spend on a luxury vegan bag, but can spare anything up to a few hundred pounds, keep reading.
Follow my checklist to find a good quality, inexpensive bag:
Check the brand’s sustainability and ethical values (usually found in the “about” page on their website).
Make sure they are transparent with the vegan fabric composition. It should not just say vegan leather, It should break it down in to more detail; for example, 60% of our vegan leather material comes from grape waste, 20% is other natural materials, 20% is PU (polyurethane leather) coating. Then you can check if those credentials are satisfactory to you and match your own personal values.
Does the bag look good? Do you love it and will you wear it for years to come? This is so important. If it’s just to wear once, then you have already lost. Buy less, buy better and buy for multiple wears and occasions.
Calculate the cost per wear. How? Just think how many times you will wear this bag in a month, a year or years. Divide the full cost of the bag with the number of days you will wear it and I bet you, the cost per wear will be in pounds or even pennies. If it isn’t, then the bag is not versatile enough, so go back to google search (or scroll down to my list below) and find something better.
The best one of all. Once you have made your choice, buy the bag and wear it. And wear it a lot! Keep thinking about the cost per wear. You need to get it down to the pennies. ☺️
Does cheap mean lower vegan leather quality?
YES. When the bag is cheap, the materials used to make it will be cheap, the labour used will also be cheap and unethical. 9 out of 10 cheap vegan leather bags are made from PU, which, depending on what type it is, can be extremely toxic. So you might be saving animals, but you are definitely polluting their, and your, habitat. As mentioned in my previous blog, Greenpeace describes it as the “single most environmentally damaging type of plastic”.
The cheaper the bags are, the more PU they have. Sustainable materials such as plant-based vegan leather takes time to develop and manufacture, which of course costs money. You are paying for this research, the new technology and by spending your money wisely, you are contributing to saving our planet.
The best, most affordable vegan handbags.
Now, let’s get down to it. My choice of best vegan handbag brands. Obviously, I highly recommend Under Her Eyes vegan bags, but they are still at the prototyping stage, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few more months for those treasures. Everything we do here takes time; we do slow, and considered fashion. Sign up to our newsletter and you won’t miss our big vegan launch.
In the meantime, feast your eyes on these little beauties. They are not just animal cruelty-free, they are stylish, environmentally friendly and affordable. Lots of ticks here.
In no particular order…..
A_C bags are made from gorgeous cactus or pineapple leather, recycled polyester and deadstock fabrics. Tessa, the founder and creative director of A_C bags, describes their ethos beautifully "It is just as much the responsibility of the designer to produce goods that are kind to our planet and its inhabitants, as it is the customer’s duty to consider their consumption choices.” They don’t claim to be perfect and recognise that major change is achieved by every one of us making minor changes every day. They exist to help facilitate this change.
A_C are fully transparent with their production and material choices and they even offer an after life service in the shape of ‘take back’ and repair schemes.
Prices range from £104 to £278. A_C collection of everyday bags is so versatile, they offer ranges from little clutches, cross body bags to backpacks and big work bags.
Matt & Nat make beautiful bags that are intended to last. Not only that, they're environmentally conscious and use recycled materials where possible. They also incorporate other eco materials like recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber, cork and most recently recycled bicycle tires. How cool is that! The handbags’ linings are also made 100% from recycled bottles and in SS21 they launched a collection which is purely made from recycled PU materials (with the exception of hardware). Matt & Nat bags are not made to last just one season, but are intended to be a part of your wardrobe for many years. There’s also plenty of choice with this sustainable fashion brand.
Prices range from £33 to £200, with products ranging from little washbags, purses to weekend bags.
BEEN London have had a real, measurable impact on the fashion industry by proving that waste can become beautiful, inside and out. Through creativity and innovation, they give incredible materials a second chance whilst creating minimal carbon emissions. BEEN bags are made from tannery off-cut leather, discarded clothes, single-use plastic bottles… and even apple skins. They are high-quality, durable, sustainable, and luxurious, and sell at affordable prices. They do fabulous colours too, so you can go a bit crazy!
Prices range from £18 to £400, with products ranging from cute keyrings, purses, clutch bags to large tote bags.
Alexandra K bags are loved by Megan Markle and a host of other celebrities, and with good reason. They are stylish, versatile and animal cruelty free. This ethical brand specialises in vegan and environmentally friendly handbags and accessories. Each bag is made in Poland, from innovative fabrics that are not only vegan, but also their production is organic and safe for the planet. They use a variety of vegan materials such as apple, pineapple and corn leather. What’s so cool about Alexandra K, is that each bag is unique and has its own serial number.
Prices range from £127 to £300, with products ranging from small crossbody bags to large tote bags.
The coolest vegan bag collection if you are after a sporty, casual look. The range focuses mainly on functional crossbody bags with a few tote and shopper styles. Sustainable fashion at its trendiest; vegan and eco friendly. Distyled is a fashion brand that believes in promoting a friendship between style and our Planet. Their team loves and creates fashion that is friendly to the environment. Distyled use a selection of alternative vegan leathers, recycled straps of real leather and even rescued denim from old jeans to make their bags.
Prices range from £65 to £150.
If you are after timeless, minimal style, Denise Roobol is the sustainable vegan brand for you. When it comes to their sustainability credentials Denise Roobol is a great sustainable fashion brand. They carry the PETA-approved quality mark and work with Trees for All, where they make a donation for CO2 compensation. This vegan fashion brand invests in social reforestation projects with a broad impact.
Prices range from £110 to £150, with products ranging from small crossbody handbags to laptop bags.
Turtle Bags was established in 2002 to raise awareness of the hazards of plastic bags, and sell alternatives. They work with fair trade partners to supply environmentally friendly cotton bags. Inspired by turtles, their plastic free cotton bags are a practical reminder that plastic never goes away. It hurts sea life and damages natural food chains. If more people can use plastic free and reusable bags instead of plastic ones that get thrown away, further damage to the environment can be prevented.
These simple and versatile reusable cotton bags are easy to carry with you, as they take up very little space in your handbag or pocket. The organic cotton used to make them is sourced in a way that supports cotton farmers and gives back to their communities. They believe that every individual who makes a plastic-free purchase is making a small difference, both to the planet, and to the people behind the products themselves.
Prices range from £6 to £40, with products ranging from the most useful cotton shopping bags to large totes.
Another fantastic Aussie brand, which is all about functionality, versatility and great aesthetics. They believe there is a need for more choice in the quality fashion market - an alternative to products derived from animals. Designed with credibility and manufactured with quality. Collectable, functional, affordable and designed with love. You cannot argue with that! And they look fab too!
Prices range from £32 to £210, with products ranging from canvas shoppers to vegan leather shoulder bags and backpacks.
A great vegan handbag brand if you are a sophisticated lady looking for an everyday bag. They are functional, they come in natural colours that go with everything and they hit all the ethical and sustainable factors. Samara use plant based alternative leathers, such as waste from apple skins and pineapples and, as with many other vegan brands, they use recycled plastic bottles for their bag’s linings. I love their ethos “ Better for you, better for the world. No living thing is harmed in the process”.
Prices range from £60 to £245, with products ranging from little jewellery pouches and purses to tote bags.
Another handbag brand for the more elegant, sophisticated lady. La Bante was born of a combined love for animals, fashion and the planet. LaBante recycle plastic bottles into the polyester used for their linings. For the exterior of their bags, LaBante use vegetable-based Polyurethane (PU). This type of PU is made with a by-product of plant oils and reduces many of the chemical hazards associated with the production of PU. This type of PU is also more biodegradable than pure PU, and far safer to produce and wear than other types of plastic.
Prices range from £45 to £200, with products ranging from purses and clutch bags to large tote bags.
There you go! If you’re too impatient and cannot wait for me to launch my version of the coolest vegan bag ever, then check out one of these…