No matter what the season, these vegan tote bags will be a welcome addition to your wardrobe!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Having a few vegan tote bags in your closet is essential for the organised fashionista. They’re roomy, stylish, and endlessly versatile. Bigger than your average purse, they should be able to fit in everything from a laptop to an extra pair of shoes.
For summer, an easy-to-fold cotton option might be the best option to take to the beach or market. But for travelling, you may want something sturdier, like a Piñatex model. Moms will want something washable or in black, so food stains don’t show up, while women who spend a lot of time at the office will want to sport something that screams ‘professional.’
Why you need a vegan tote bag
Sure, clutches are sweet, and backpacks are practical. But a clutch can only fit in so much, and backpacks are great for the gym. But frankly, it can be a pain to access your stuff in them, and I find they tend to scrunch up the back of my shirt – not a good look at the office!
If you’ve ever been on your way out the door with full hands, wondering how you’re going to juggle all your stuff from the front door to the bus or car, then a vegan tote bag is for you. With their spacious insides, zipped pockets and sturdy handles, there’s nothing they can’t fit.
What are vegan tote bags made of?
There are plenty of materials that vegan totes can be made of.
One of the most common is PU. Otherwise known as polyurethane, this is a much more eco-friendly material than it’s plasticky, toxic cousin, PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Both are derived from fossil fuels. But before you start thinking leather is a better choice for bags, know this: most leathers are coated in PU anyway. That’s done because it makes cheap leather look glossier and more expensive.
There’s good news, though! More and more vegan tote bags are being constructed from recycled materials. These include fishing nets, plastics rescued from the oceans, and even old polyester fabrics.
In addition, there are many plant based leathers, such as those made from pineapple, cactus or mushrooms. Though these are also coated in a film of PU, like leather, the percentage of PU in these plant-based hand bags is relatively low.
Any time, any wear
So, where can you wear your tote bag? The answer is pretty much anywhere. Love working out? Take yours to the gym with a change of clothes inside. Frequent flyer? Your tote can hold your passport, laptop, phone and snacks, with room for much more besides. Got kids? A vegan tote is the perfect way to keep you prepped for any surprises that may arise throughout the day.
Whether you’re looking for a natural canvas tote to haul your gear to and from the gym, or a designer tote bag made from upcycled plastics, there’s a bag out there to suit your style and ethics.
Ready to find yourself the newest and best vegan tote bags, ever? Keep calm and carry on with the best vegan totes of the year, below!
Totes Adorbs! 10 Of The Best Vegan Tote Bags
Made from recycled ocean-bound marine plastic, this stunning reversible Essential tote bag by Rothy’s (also pictured above) comes in a variety of shades and prints. The bag is 3D knitted by machines, which means not only are they eco-friendly because they’re made of recycled plastic, but also because they use zero waste techniques.
On Rothy’s site, there’s a wee video showing you just how much you can pack into this baby, too. Let’s put it this way: you can fit so much into the Essential tote, it could be too heavy to carry!
Made from: Recycled ocean plastics
Best for: Moms, all the time. Since this is reversible, if it gets dirty, just turn it inside out!
2. Cult Gaia
Creative, eco-friendly bags have never been so stylish! The Banu Beach Bag by Cult Gaia is the kind of vegan tote bag that will make you feel like a true sophisticate, thanks to the grandeur that it possesses in terms of size and style! This natural raffia and bamboo bag easily fits a towel, sunscreen and a change of clothes for later.
Made from: Raffia and bamboo
Best for: I’d say this is one of the best vegan tote bags for making a huge summer statement!
This Montreal based brand brings a chic urban vibe to the many styles of vegan accessories they produce. One of our favourites is the ABBI LG, one of the most spacious, sturdy and sophisticated vegan tote bags around.
It comes with a two-way metal zip closure at the top and a removable and adjustable crossbody strap. Inside the interior, which is made of 100% recycled nylon, you’ll find a zipped pocket, a patch pocket, and a smartphone pocket, meaning this is the perfect bag for organising all your essentials.
Made from: Recycled nylon
Best for: Definitely one of the best vegan tote bags for taking on long trips, any time of the year
4. Tote & Carry
When we did a giveaway for this brand, it just EXPLODED! Show us, of course, that our readers think these are some of the best vegan tote bags around.
The brand loves embossing its bags with animal prints, such as alligator and snakeskin textures. And they’re sustainable because you have to pre-order your bag. No waste from these guys! They only sell what there’s a demand for.
Made from: PU leather
Best for: Travelling. These totes are designed to fit perfectly on top of the brand’s vegan suitcases.
Stella McCartney’s iconic ‘Falabella’ bag is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic vegan tote bags ever! This one is especially covetable, as it’s completely reversible! Choose from a black exterior, or flip it around inside-out and transform it to a cream coloured bag instead.
With its whipstitched chains, sturdy faux-leather and detachable pouch for securing valuable essentials, it’s perfect for everyday use or long haul flights, and is spacious enough for a book, tablet and even a change of shoes. No wonder it’s such a hit with celebs like JLo and Charlize Theron!
Made from: Recycled plastics, PU leather, cork and other materials, depending on the model
Best for: Timeless urban chic, for all seasons, for decades to come!
6. JW Pei
This Los Angeles based vegan handbag brand was founded by a husband and wife duo. They decided that fashion accessories should be cruelty-free, effortless and empowering. As a result, they created a line of vegan bags that includes a wide range of styles, all made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic bottles and cotton canvas.
We love their two-toned vegan tote bags, which come with an attached vegan wallet inside, too! Though this bag is designed to be open, since the wallet is literally attached to the bag, your cash and cards will be secure.
Made from: PU leather
Best for: Holding larger objects, like shoes and shopping.
This stylish, London based vegan bag brand makes their totes with recycled materials, and the Interiors are made from reclaimed plastic bottles. Besides tote bags, LaBante also makes hobo, clutch, crossbody and shoulder bags, all of which come in an array of chic colours chosen to match any outfit.
Made from: Recycled plastics and other recycled materials
Best for: LaBante’s tote is perfect for looking professional at the office.
This big baby not only holds pretty much all you need when outside your home, but it looks absolutely awesome paired with everything from work outfits to faded jeans.
And most interestingly? This vegan tote could hold a ‘dirty’ little secret. Yep, that’s right: if you choose to buy the bag with the ‘sinner’ option, it will come with an erotic story inside. Oh la la!
Made from: Cactus leather, recycled PET, recycled nylon web straps
Best for: Wearing with denims and streetwear
9. The GOT Bag
Made from recycled plastic bottles, this is one of those vegan tote bags that every woman should own! The GOT Weekender bag has been carefully and consciously constructed to be 2 bags in one! Just switch around the handles and roll the top up or down to create a tote bag, duffel bag, or, of course, a weekender. The tote is big enough to hold your laptop, gym clothes, spare shoes, as well as everyday essentials like makeup, phone, keys, books and more.
Of course, the brand only works with socially compliant factories that treat their employees with respect, by providing a safe and healthy workplace, reasonable working hours, and fair treatment.
Made from: Recycled plastics
Best for: A versatile, gender-neutral vegan tote bag.
10. ACE Totes
More than just a pretty bag, the ACE Tote is designed to hold everything for your active day. From the gym to the office, to business trips or weekend getaways – this bag is the perfect companion. It has plenty of room, plus a padded laptop compartment, a secure interior zipper pocket, 4 interior mesh pockets and a bottle holder. It really was designed to everything!
But that’s not all. This brand is hela-sustainable! ACE works alongside Healthy Seas to rescue abandoned fishing nets, one of the biggest polluters of our oceans. The circular fashion brand then turns them into bags, via the creation of a premium quality regenerated nylon called ECONYL. And get this: when the bag reaches the end of its life, simply send it back to ACE and they’ll recycle it for you. They will redesign the bag into new products, ensuring they close the fashion loop.
Made from: Recycled plastics
Best for: Literally everything. The sporty design is perfect for the gym, weekends away, and even the office.
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