By Diane Small
Animals are so beautiful. From the complex patterns of the python and the rough toughness of the crocodile to the gentle softness of fur, it’s no wonder that humans have coveted the skins of other living creatures to adorn their bodies and decorate their homes. However, for us, killing an animal for simply aesthetic reasons is far from ethical.
Luckily, there are plenty of eco-friendly synthetic materials that mimic the natural beauty of animals–including some of the bags made by these three brands, which emphasise just how sexy vegan handbags can be.
“When I set out to become a designer I knew I wanted to have a unique fashion perspective and a positive influence. So many things in fashion are done with little regard for the environment so I decided to use my name and brand to bring about fashionable change. Jess Rizzuti handbags are made with integrity and purpose and when consumers support Rizzuti handbags they make the choice to invest in something that means something.”
So says the designer of cork and velvet handbags that would look perfect at any Parisian soiree. Rizzuti develops each pattern by hand in her studio and custom dyes and embosses materials to create an unparalleled richness that has become the Jess Rizzuti signature completing each design with a complementary lining.
Jess is conscious of environmental impact and believes in exercising ethical practices. She earned a nomination three years in a row for her creations in cork as Best Green Handbag in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards sponsored by InStyle. The eco-friendly designs utilised water-based dyes and glue, heat-transferred patterns, renewable resources and waste-reducing concepts.
Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence and Eva Longoria are but a few of the A-listers who adore Jill Milan’s high end luxury vegan handbags. Made in Italy by highly trained and talented artisans using locally sourced materials, Milan’s bags put compassion for animals and an emphasis on style before eco-friendliness–Jill Milan doesn’t use PVC, but their ‘faux leather’ isn’t exactly kind to the earth. The brand does claim that the metals used in their Art Deco clutches is recyclable at least. But if, for you, kindness to animals and sensual accessories are the top priorities, then you can’t do better than a Jill Milan bag: the brand even donates a percentage of profits to animal charities.
Gunas is perhaps the most well known of sexy vegan handbag brands, thanks to a strong celebrity following, including Jenny McCarthy and Anne Hathaway, as well as a strong endorsement by PETA. The brand claims to be eco-friendly too, as it uses only water based, vegan adhesives and the most earth-friendly leather alternatives it can find to replicate real leather–however, we’d love the brand more if it tried less to imitate skin with synthetic petrochemical based fabrics, and instead focused on truly eco-friendly materials like wicker or cork to make excellent, stylish bags.