Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been into handbags. Every time there’s a holiday gathering, my mom always loves to recount my childhood story of how I used to smear her lipstick on my face, steal her heels, and strut around with her oversized purse.
I guess I’ve always been a bit of a diva!
Today, I’m a little bit more practical about things. However, I still love my purses. In fact, I have several different purses that I’ll use in a given week, depending on what I’m doing.
I’ve got small clutches for going out, large totes I take out while shopping, and convenient crossbody purses for when I’ve got a lot of walking planned for the day.
Although the fashion industry has traditionally been steeped in animal cruelty and leather obsession, a growing number of brands are offering vegan leather handbags purses.
So, in today’s post, I’m going to show you the best vegan handbag brands and purses that I own!
- Everyday lightweight purse
- A long day, overnight stays
- A long day walking around the city
Animal Cruelty & Designer Handbags
If you ever visit a genuine Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Prada store, then you’ll quickly realize that high fashion is obsessed with leather, ivory, silk, cashmere wool, and other animal products.
Designer brands have found cruel and creative ways of turning snakes into purses, alligators into shoes, baby cows into clutches, and everything in between. The rarer and more endangered the animal, the higher the value of the product.
Pretty messed up, right?
If you want to learn more, check out vegan vlogger Earthing Ed’s hot take on animals in fashion:
The use of leather and animal products in fashion and clothing is nothing new. For thousands of years, humanity has found innovative ways of using the skins leftover after using an animal for its meat.
Our ancient ancestors were just doing what they had to in order to survive. For the most part, animals were eaten and killed in a responsible manner. Today, though, it’s simply unnecessary.
Not only are there plenty of alternatives to meat but there are also plenty of synthetic and natural materials that can be used to make comfortable, protective, and durable clothing.
Synthetic leather, plant-based leather, and other plant-based threads are just as strong and durable as leather and wool.
What Name Brand Purses Are Vegan?
Some of the top name brand designer purse brands on the market are:
- Stella McCartney
- Watson & Wolfe
- Angela Roi
- Ashoka Paris
Does Louis Vuitton Make Vegan Handbags?
Louis Vuitton makes some of the world’s most expensive and coveted purses and handbags. Unfortunately, none of Louis Vuitton’s handbags are vegan.
In fact, Louis V. is pretty much the opposite of vegan-friendly. All of their purses and bags are made using some type of animal leather.
Their most “basic” products are made using cowhide while their “rare” or “high-end” products are made using boa skin, camel skin, calfskin, lamb’s skin, and even endangered animal skins.
What Are Vegan Leather Handbags Made Out Of?
On the surface, vegan leather handbags don’t look or feel all that different from those made with animal leather. In fact, the only real difference you’ll notice is that vegan leather smells a little different.
Here’s a quick visual outlining some of the most common materials that vegan leather purses are made of:
|Vegan Leather Handbag Materials||Where It Comes From|
|Plant-Based Leather||Some companies are turning apples, cacti, mangos, and avocados into leather by turning them into pulp and adding a hardening agent. These materials are organic, great for the environment, and upcycle fruits and veggies that would otherwise be thrown away.|
|Synthetic Leather||Made by layering thermoplastic, nylon, and synthetic wax to create a leather-like material. It’s not eco-friendly, but it is cruelty-free and affordable.|
|Cork Leather||Some companies are turning sustainably harvested cork tree bark into the leather by processing it and adding a protective wax layer. Very eco-friendly and relatively affordable.|
Style + Function: The Best Vegan Handbag Brands & Purses
Whether you’re looking for something stylish to wear out on your next date night or you need something functional and practical to haul your gear around, I’ve got you covered!
Over the past few years, I’ve purchased and been gifted a number of great vegan leather purses, which I’ve reviewed below. In my opinion, these are the best vegan handbag brands on the market!
1) Corkor Cork Vegan Crossbody Purse (link)
- Best For: Everyday lightweight purse
Corkor is the first company in the world to manufacture plant-based vegan leather out of cork tree bark.
The company grows and harvests its own cork trees, gently removing excess cork bark, and then processing the bark and turning it into a durable leather-like material. The process is very similar to how wineries turn cork trees into wine bottle corks!
Corkor is FSC-certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means that they follow a strict protocol of ethics when it comes to their tree farming process.
Everything is done sustainably and responsibly. Workers are paid well and treated fairly, and the quality of the products themselves is outstanding.
Recently, I reviewed some of Corkor’s vegan leather belts. The Corkor Cork Vegan Crossbody Purse is one of my favorite everyday lightweight handbags.
It has a simple style that goes great with anything. The cork leather is a natural tan/beige shade that can be dressed down with jeans and a tee-shirt or dressed up with a cute summer dress.
The quality of the stitching is top-notch, as well. After using my Corkor purse for nearly two years, I still don’t see any loose threads. The material is also very durable and abrasion-resistant. Since the purse isn’t dyed, scratches or scuffs are nearly impossible to see.
There’s a good bit of space in the bag as well, which is more than enough to store my wallet, phone, notebook, and a few odds and ends I need to get me through the day!
It features two large pockets separated by a center divider and also has a small built-in zipper pocket in case there are any valuables that you don’t want to lose track of.
What I Like About It:
- Made with innovative, eco-friendly cork leather.
- Durable, scuff-resistant, and water-resistant.
- Versatile style that goes well with anything.
- High-quality stitching.
- Decent amount of space.
- It’s on the more expensive side.
2) Bromen Women’s Vegan Leather Shoulder Bag (link)
- Best For: A long day, overnight stays
Bromen Women’s Vegan Leather Shoulder Bag is a great all-day or overnight bag that has more than enough space for anything that you may need throughout your day.
Personally, I use it as an overnight bag if I’m staying over at a friend’s house or as a stylish, convenient carry-on when I’m flying out of town.
The shoulder strap is made from durable nylon and has a cool-looking criss-cross design that gives it a nice flair.
The strap can be shortened, allowing you to use the purse as a handbag, or stretched to full length, turning it into a full-size shoulder bag.
Bromen offers their vegan leather shoulder bag in twenty-nine different colors and patterns that range from neutral earth tones to bright colors like red, blue, and green. My boyfriend gifted me the yellow one last Christmas and I’ve been using it every week since!
The purse closes with a large magnetic latch on the inside lip that does a good job of holding it together (unless you stuff it all the way to the top).
It features a large main compartment that can easily hold a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, and even a laptop (or all three). There are also a couple of small slip pockets and a zipper pocket for your phone or wallet.
What I Like About It:
- Large and spacious.
- Available in a number of different colors and strap patterns.
- Magnetic latch.
- The dyed vegan leather scratches easily, so be careful not to scuff it.
3) ECOSUSI Tote Bag + Convertible Backpack With Vegan Leather (link)
- Best For: A long day walking around the city
These days, I’m all about practicality. Sure, I love a sexy, stylish purse… but if I’m going to be walking around the city all day, then I need something that’s a little bit more comfortable.
You can only walk around with a shoulder bag or handbag for so long until your arms and wrist start to get sore!
For days when I know, I’ll be doing a lot of walking around, the Ecosusi Tote Bag + Convertible Backpack is an absolute lifesaver.
On the surface, it looks like a plain old-fashioned synthetic leather tote/shoulder bag. However, you can combine the straps and suddenly it turns into a small, lightweight backpack!
It’s big enough to fit a small 14-inch laptop, a tablet, a few notebooks, and other essentials. It even features a padded laptop sleeve so you don’t have to worry about your expensive laptop getting dinged up or damaged.
Apart from the main laptop sleeve, this bag features two other large pockets, several small slip pockets built into the lining, and a hidden zipper pocket for any valuable or loose change that you don’t want to lose track of.
It’s available in three different colors: red, black, and caramel brown. I have the caramel brown one and I find it goes well with a bunch of different outfits and different styles.
What I Like About It:
- Looks great as a shoulder bag or crossbody bag.
- Converts into a slim backpack.
- Features a padded laptop sleeve.
- Durable, scuff-resistant vegan leather.
- It’s a slim design, so it’s better suited to notebooks or laptops instead of bulky items.
4) Stella McCartney Vegan Leather Shoulder Bag, Viola (link)
- Best For: Fashionable purse for a night out
Most of my vegan friends refer to Stella McCartney as the “Louis V” of vegan purses. Stella McCartney is a Parisian designer brand that’s committed to being 100% vegan.
Everything from their purses to their jackets and accessories are made with sustainably-sourced, cruelty-free materials.
The Stella McCartney Vegan Leather Shoulder Bag is made using a unique type of plant leather that’s made from apples.
The manufacturer takes old apples that would otherwise be thrown out and turn them into a leather pulp that’s later hardened and baked to create a durable, organic, high-quality leather material.
Every single detail on this bag is of top-notch quality. The stitching, the zippers, the depth of the beautiful viola dye, and the strap are made with supreme attention to detail. With a price tag of over $600, though, this is to be expected.
Stella McCartney definitely has some of the most expensive, high-quality vegan products on the market. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, this is it.
It was a rather costly investment for me, so I typically only wear my Stella McCartney bag when I’m going out or attending a fancy event.
What I Like About It:
- It’s made by a 100% designer vegan company.
- Made with genuine plant-based leather from apples.
- Beautiful viola-colored dye.
- Immaculate stitching quality.
- It’s a designer brand, so it’s very expensive.
5) Steve Madden Nikki Crossbody Clutch (link)
- Best For: Stylish clutch for a night out.
When I’m wearing heels and a sexy dress on my way to the club, the last thing that I want to worry about is a bulky bag full of things.
Steve Madden’s “Nikki” Crossbody Clutch is my go-to when I just need to take the essentials with me. It’s just enough space to fit my wallet, phone, some spare cash, and a few of my vegan makeup essentials.
It’s made with high-quality vegan leather, has a durable 24-inch strap, and a sturdy magnetic clasp that keeps things from falling out.
Overall, it’s an affordable vegan handbag from a designer brand! Sometimes, the best things in life are also the simplest.
What I Like About It:
- Small and lightweight.
- Perfect for carrying small items and valuables.
- Good stitch quality.
- Strong magnetic clasp.
- Not a lot of space.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Leather Purse?
Of all of my vegan leather purses, I’d say that the best vegan handbag is my Corkor Crossbody Handbag. It’s lightweight, has a decent amount of space, and is sustainably sourced without any synthetic leather or animal leather!
If you’re a vegan who loves fashion, be sure to check out my post on the best vegan wallets next!