Murmali handbags has taken a humble, cruelty-free material and transformed it into a highly coveted luxury eco-textile
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
There are plenty of vegan bag brands out there. Formal and informal. Luxurious, and everyday. Small, and well known. But amongst these, Murmali really stands out.
Why? Because this chic brand manages to transform the humble bark of trees into magnificently chic, luxurious handbags that will last for a lifetime.
The Beauty of Cork In Murmali Handbags
Cork is as durable as leather, as smooth as silk, and just like the best animal leathers, it develops a beautiful patina through time. But that’s not all: it’s as light, waterproof and pliable as synthetic textiles. But unlike those, cork biodegrades.
It’s naturally harvested in the cork oak forests located in the Iberian Peninsula. There, the cork is peeled off the bark of the tree, without harming or killing the plant. Another important point is that the more people buy this material, the more the cork industry will need to plant oak trees, hence creating a virtuous cycle where nature is replenished.
In fact, Murmali itself contributes on a yearly basis to the planting of cork oaks in the South of Spain and Portugal. So, not only are they helping you to look super stylish, but they’re also creating carbon sinks for the planet!
Europe is well known for producing some of the most coveted handbag brands on the planet. Think: Hermes, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior, for example.
But as consumers become more conscious, they’re leaning away from these brands for several reasons. First of all, they’re as far from cruelty free as you can get. In fact, several of the brands mentioned above have been embroiled in controversy for skinning some reptiles alive for their bags!
Additionally, though these labels have a ‘European’ reputation, some, such as Louis Vuitton, have actually moved most of their production to China to save money. Which means traditional artisans in Europe are losing jobs.
Murmali, on the other hand, only employs local artisans to make each of their pieces. These European masters boast such skills, that their work can easily compare with legendary brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton for the attention to detail. In fact, some Murmali bags require nearly four hours of manufacturing and eighty assembly steps. As with the most iconic handbags, these all come with a serial number to verify authenticity. But unlike the international luxury brands mentioned above, the colouring used for Murmali’s bags is guaranteed to be non-toxic and non-tested on animals.
The diamond cut, gold plated brass hardware, high-quality threads and stitching, and quality linen and cotton blend lining are what make these handbags so exclusive. Every detail is minutely developed, including the laser-engraved Murmali logo on the front of each bag.
We love their bucket bags, as well as their other minimalist, geometric shapes and bold, classic colours that match any outfit.
For The Planet….And People
Murmali’s collections are designed in London, and are made in a family workshop located in the district of Portalegre in Alentejo, Portugal. They ensure the working environment for their artisans is safe and healthy by visiting the factory diligently. The brand also boasts a strong relationship with the owners of their factories and their employees.
But don’t take their word for it. To assure the public their brand is as ethical as possible, their manufacturing process operates by the ISO 14001, which certifies sustainable management of any accredited company.
While some may associate luxury handbags with exotic skins like crocodile or snake, Murmali handbags is now proving beyond a doubt that cork is the newest, greenest, and most refined material for luxury accessories.