By Lora O’Brien
We all love a chic vegan bag for summer – they’re the perfect accessory to the perfect outfit, can carry all your seasonal stuff, like a good organic SPF and some stylish wooden sunglasses – and no matter how bloated you feel, they’ll never lose their fit!
What defines a great bag this summer? Well, colour, for one. Black is just so…winter! We want something colourful for the season; anything from soft pink to nearly-neon, so long as it’s not dreary. Another factor is fabric. Forget about plastic or worse, PVC – there are tons of eco-friendly options that vegan bag brands are using, especially in summer: think organic cotton, raffia, straw and ECONYL.
Cruelty-free fashion has never been so chic. Whether you’ve got a wedding scheduled this summer, are planning a big girl’s night out, or if you’re just looking to upgrade your work bag, you’ll love these vegan bag brands we’ve found to complement your summer wardrobe.
Chic Vegan Bag Brands for Summer
1. Matt & Nat
Living by the simplistic motto “Live beautifully,” Matt & Nat determine this to mean appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found it all of us. The brand is strongly inspired by the textures and hues found in nature, and it was a natural progression to stay committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in any of their designs.
Over the years, Matt & Nat have experimented with different forms of recycled material, including nylon, cardboard, rubber and cork, and since 2007, the company have been committed to using linings made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Recently, even recycled bicycle tires have found their way into their collection.
Matt & Nat is very slowly expanding around the world and can now be found in boutiques across Canada, the United States, the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia, as well as online, of course.
Kayu is a Californian based label founded by Jamie Lim, who grew up in South East Asia surrounded by artisanal crafts. Lim began to notice that the traditional arts she was surrounded by as a child were slowly disappearing, and through a desire to preserve and cultivate these traditional techniques, Kayu was born.
Today, Kayu works with artisans in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and provides jobs to those that need them the most. Kayu products aren’t created in soulless factories where items are mass-produced, but instead works in smaller groups with mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, giving a real family vibe to the brand.
Of course, Kayu is entirely sustainable and vegan friendly, two words we love to hear. All of their creations are made with natural materials like straw, shell and wood. As Kayu’s creations are rendered entirely by hand, you’ll find their products come in limited batches, making them all the more rare and unique.
3. Cult Gaia
Prepare to fall in love! Cult Gaia’s bamboo, straw and acrylic bags are favourites with influencers and celebrities alike – Beyonce and Rihanna are but two A-listers who have been seen sporting these easy, breezy bags. The brand’s biggest seller by far is the Ark bag (pictured in the middle), whose perfect, clean minimalism matches any outfit.
Of all the vegan bag brands, the one you probably know the best is Stella McCartney, and with good reason. Thanks to her mother, the late Linda McCartney, Stella has been a lifelong vegetarian and works to bring fashionable style to the industry without any use of leather or fur in her designs.
Stella’s collections are always innovative and fresh, and we love her unique ability to create luxury fashion that remains super-conscious. Her latest collection is more eco-friendly than ever: it features light, elegant vegan bags made from materials like organic cotton (middle pic), rattan, and ECONYL, essentially recycled plastic (third pic).
When Coco and Johnny Mannix came to New York from Berlin in 2014, they had nothing except for a suitcase of clothes and a few keepsakes – so they started creating the things they wanted and needed, and that’s how their label, Catzorange was born. Their bags are all hand woven from simple, durable cotton and are perfectly sized to fit all your summer essentials. Also, they come in monochrome shades only, which is great because no toxic dyes are used on the cotton, and they’ll pretty much match everything in your wardrobe.
The fabulous Muzungu Sisters are going all out to bring us a fab collection of vibrant, ethnic influenced bags that fit all things and match outfits. Think of being in India, walking along the market stalls and spotting an array of beautiful material, full of colour and exquisite embroidery. Now imagine bags being made from exactly that fabric, by two designers with a keen eye for Western trends.
This is a brand that is always exploring the vast and vivid cultures of the world to bring exquisite crafts that echo of glorious traditions, reviving folk crafts to suit contemporary lifestyles, which in turn are helping the craftsmen to keep their art alive and ensuring the joy of a decent livelihood.
Whether your style is more bohemian babe than city girl, or if you’re just looking for a funky new festival bag, we think you’ll fall for these beautiful boho bags.
In a world where we’re surrounded by same-ish corporate shops, it’s great to know that those looking for leather alternatives are being given lots of options. Brought to life by a mother and daughter’s shared dream, LuLu’s is an online fashion shop that carries quite a few amazing vegan bag brands for summer.
They’re always switching up their style by bringing in various different designers, and they only buy limited stock, ensuring that if you buy a vegan bag from Lulu’s this summer, you surely won’t bump into someone carrying the same one, ever. And the best part is that everything Lulu’s carries is super luxe looking, yet super-affordable, too.
8. Wilby Clutch
Hooray! Wilby designs are not only certified as being free of animal products, but they’re also eco sensitive and environmentally aware. The aim of Wilby was, and more importantly still is, to create a fashion brand that is ethical whilst being fashionable for the consumer, who can be safe in the knowledge when shopping at Wilby that every purchase helps the environment in some way. And the brand has gotten off to a powerful start, having all of their bags approved by animal rights group, PETA.
Organic cotton, recycled textiles and cork leather are just some of the non-animal based materials they use. If we’re totally honest, the bags are so well made that you really wouldn’t ever guess they weren’t made from real leather, though. When vegan fashion looks this good, it’s hard to shop elsewhere.
Our fave? The Citibag is a design that will carry you from the day into night. With a detachable alloy chain, you can jazz up this bag and either carry it, or let it hang stylishly from your shoulder. Either way, the colours are beautiful, and it just happens to be the perfect work bag that you can take along with you for a few after work cocktails. Perfection!
Way back in 2008, designer Sugandh G. Agrawal quit her seven year corporate career and launched her own high fashion label. And as a fellow animal lover, Sugandh wanted to bring a range of fully cruelty-free fashion to New York. The result is Gunas, a pioneering brand in vegan fashion.
Sugandh spent a year researching the best fabrics, the best leather alternatives, and the most ethical manufacturing processes before creating her products. Whether you’re a glamorous diva, an angel at heart, have a rebellious attitude or consider yourself an explorer, Gunas has a style for you. With these beautiful designs packed full of beautiful materials and bursting with colour, there really is reason to opt out of vegan fashion.
The earthy tones in the Melrose design are perfect for someone not that keen on standing out. This bag is perfect for commuting back and forth to work, and is big enough to hold all those essential handbag items.
All images: Gunas via Pinterest
10. LaBante London
After years of fruitlessly searching for luxury handbags that were also cruelty free, the founder of LaBante London decided to found her own company to fill a gap she knew would grow in popularity in the fashion market.
Today, each bag that LaBante produces is not only vegan, but is also environmentally friendly, and ethically produced. As Vanita says: “We want to give consumers the experience of luxury, of the finest craftsmanship, of a timeless aesthetic, while respecting the world we live in.” What we love best about this elegant brand is that despite the fact that they’re extremely well made, from the highest quality materials, they’re still highly affordable!
11. Doshi Vegan Bags
We all have to work, even in the summer, so thank heavens for Doshi. Doshi is a vegan bag and accessories brand aimed at ethically conscious individuals – both men and women. From sleek, professional briefcases, to on-trend handbags and fashionable, travel oriented backpacks, Doshi has your daily carriage needs covered with their quality first, cruelty-free collection.
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