By Arwa Lodhi
Environmentally friendly fashion is now a global phenomenon. From the depths of remote Africa to the bustling cities of Europe, designers are recognising the importance of making their works eco-friendly.
Here, we’ve scoped three continents and five completely different designers to select 5 eco bag brands for every day use, all of which are as unique and as enchanting as the countries they were born in.
Our journey starts on the high slopes of Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Tanzania, with the creators of the ethical boutique Kauli, Shiv and Krupa Patel and Jared Jessup. Their exquisite bags are made with traditional, hand-made materials with a touch of contemporary flair, with the aim of promoting artisans who produce African textiles and encouraging ethical business practices. To further aid local society, the Patels established the TEACH program (Time to Empower Africa’s Children), which is an organisation committed to the social and economic empowerment of youth in the Kilimanjaro Region.
Moving north from Tanzania to Morocco, we find Andrea Kolb’s Abury, a brand that is working to preserve the old Berber artisanal techniques by producing boho-chic bags. These beautiful accessories have a very noble social mission: to restore the training from one generation of sewers to the next, thus giving more possibilities for long-term employment, especially to the women in the surroundings of the exotic city of Marrakesh. These Berber Bags are also strongly eco-friendly, as they use vegetable tanning in their leather, and cactus silk in their threading.
Constance Roe Bags: Australia
As we leave sunny Africa and approach the Oceanic New World, we come across the Constance Roe Bags, designed by Belle Stewart. The young fashion designer named her brand after her grandmother, a Melbourne style icon of the 30s and 40s. Belle’s ancestor has given her a keen eye for beauty, but she also has a kind heart, since she is adamant about choosing an ethical and sustainable process to manufacture her luxurious bags. The result is gorgeously crafted accessories made from 100% salvaged leather and butter-soft nappa.
Our journey moves on to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave with Envirosax, the American brand that designs reusable shopping bags to spread an eco-friendly message with style. The convenient and water resistant bags are a chic and ecological alternative to plastic shopping bags, but they can be used as everyday totes as well. This philosophy is embodied in the brand’s logo: the leaf represents the flora and the fragile butterfly represents the fauna whose habitats are conserved through the eradication of plastic bags. As if that weren’t enough, Environsax donates a percentage of its sales to charities and non-profit organisations like the Surfrider Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of the environment.
Kasia Dietz: France
Finally, we return home, to superchic Paris and the bags of Kasia Dietz. The prolific blogger/bag designer moved to the French capital when she found her One True Love. Since then, she’s been crafting bags out of vintage fabrics that are so stylish, they’ve become a smash hit with the Ladies Who Lunch in Paris–and beyond. Her reversible totes sport hand-painted graphic designs, inspired by her mom’s prints, created in the 1970’s, meaning Kasia recycles not only fabrics, but good design too!