Each year, it seems that vegan handbags grow in popularity, particularly among the environmentally-friendly fashion-forward set. But what makes a vegan handbag vegan?
How do they differ from “regular” handbags? And are there any drawbacks to buying a vegan leather handbag?
This quick guide answers the question: What is a vegan handbag? It also discusses some of the pros and cons that come with them, and how they stack up against other handbags.
A Basic Definition of Vegan Leather
As you might have guessed, vegan handbags come from vegan leather, and it’s not just handbags that come in vegan versions. All sorts of clothing get the vegan treatment these days.
But what exactly is vegan leather, anyway? Vegan leather is a material that looks and feels similar to leather made from animal hides. However, no animals have to lose their lives for you to carry around a vegan handbag. Vegan leather fashion falls into the cruelty-free fashion category. It’s both eco-friendly and fashionable.
Vegan handbags and other vegan leather products help to bridge the gap between traditional leathers and their cruelty-free counterparts.
This is a good thing. Many people find it hard to completely eliminate leather from their wardrobe. (The same can be said about other animal products such as wool and silk, both of which are used in some handbags and shoes.)
Thankfully, vegan leather handbags offer options to those who want to avoid using animal products in their fashion choices. Many people choose this option, even if they don’t consider themselves strict vegans.
What is Vegan Leather Made of?
Vegan leathers come from a few types of materials. These include leathers that are made from biological materials, like cork, bamboo, fruit leather, and even mushrooms. Even cactus is fair game when it comes to creating a cruelty-free leather alternative, according to PETA.
However, not all vegan leather handbags come from biological materials. For example, one popular type of vegan leather is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Polyurethane (PU) also counts among the materials that manufacturers use to make vegan leather.
People consider these materials vegan because they don’t require animal hides to make the leather. However, they’re not without their drawbacks, which we discuss a bit later in the post.
Will My Vegan Handbag Last? How Durable Is Vegan Leather?
Given the materials that vegan leather is made from, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s less durable than animal leather. This isn’t the case.
A handbag made from traditional materials, like animal leather, linen, and cotton, may last many years.
However, you may also find that your trendy designer vegan handbag lasts nearly as long as one made from real leather. What is a vegan handbag – a durable fashion accessory that lasts many years in the right hands. It all depends on the care you give it.
A vegan leather handbag’s durability comes down to a few factors. It depends on the materials used to construct the bag. It may also depend on the designer who made the bag.
Suffice it to say that improvements to vegan leather have made these bags sturdier than ever before. Most of the time, you won’t worry about carting your belongings around in your favorite cruelty-free bag.
It should last long enough for you to enjoy it for a number of years, provided that you care for it properly.
Is Vegan Leather Waterproof?
Like their animal-hide counterparts, vegan leather handbags get treated with some waterproofing, and are generally considered to be waterproof. That said, some of these fashion accessories adapt to water better than others.
Your cruelty-free jacket may come with more waterproofing, so it may weather the weather – so to speak – better than your vegan handbag.
That said, most leathers, regardless of what they’re made from, don’t do well in heavy amounts of water. If the weatherman says that copious amounts of rain will fall from the sky, then leave your vegan handbag at home.
However, if you do get caught in a rainstorm with your vegan leather handbag, be sure to baby it when you get home. Air dry it for the best results.
What Fashion Brands Make Vegan Leather Handbags?
Because of the advances that have been made in vegan leather, many designers, like Rebecca Minkoff, have started to produce vegan handbags! However, Minkoff isn’t the only designer who creates these bags, according to Vogue.
If the thought of the cactus leather handbag intrigued you, then you may want to take a look at the Santos bag. This triangle-shaped, duo-toned vegan handbag is by Monica Agave, and would work well with business or evening wear.
Designer Jules Kae also makes a vegan leather handbag, called the Luna Bag. Its materials have even been given the nod by none other than PETA itself.
Stella McCartney created the Falabella vegan bag. Its cross-body design and elegant chain strap make this bag suitable for evening wear, or anytime you need a small, delicate bag to go with an outfit.
These handbags and designers only represent a small sampling of the choices you have if you go with a cruelty-free bag.
Drawbacks to Buying Vegan Leather Handbags
In addition to being a cruelty-free fashion option, vegan leather handbags are also better for the environment. However, they’re not without some drawbacks.
Vegan leathers that come from plastics, even recycled plastics, take a long time to break down once they’re thrown out. This means that they remain in landfills long after their function has worn out.
Many strict vegans also have a passion for the environment. For them, cruelty-free goes beyond not killing animals. It’s also about caring for the earth and everyone on it. For them, it’s best to avoid plastic-based vegan bags altogether.
Final Thoughts on Vegan Handbags
When you buy a vegan handbag, you can feel good about your fashion sense and about being cruelty-free. The best vegan leather handbags mimic the characteristics of real leather, without the cruelty factor.
In fact, if you ask the question – What is a vegan handbag – the answer is, it’s a handbag that’s gorgeous that has a conscience to boot.