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Whether you’re building a ‘sustainable bag’ wardrobe or just searching for a specific bag style for an upcoming occasion, we’ve got you covered with this list of ethical and sustainable bag labels producing some of the most stylish bag collections.
[Note: We recommend you shop second-hand first. Check out this post for great places to seek out preloved bags online.]
The structured tote bag, shopper bag and shoulder bags are ideal styles for everyday use due to their practical size and functionality.
Where to buy ethically-made tote bags:
- Nisolo produce a classic range of tote bags handmade in an ethical factory owned by the brand. Our pick is the Lori Tote a stylish everyday bag made of soft and sturdy leather and big enough to carry all your essentials. It comes in several colours including black, brown, sand (pictured below) and two-toned colours.
- Elvis & Kresse, a British brand and certified B Corporation producing sustainable luxury bags and accessories by rescuing materials and upcycling them. The brand’s over-the-shoulder tote bag is made from genuine decommissioned fire-hose and lined with a rescued textile. The brand also donates a percentage of profits to charities.
- Parker Clay produces a range of classic bags (that also make great office bags) made from premium leather and made in Ethiopia by artisans receiving fair and living wages. The brand’s Merkato Signature Tote is a versatile everyday bag that features interior zip pocket and fits a 15″ laptop. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Where to buy ethically-made shopper bags:
- Baggu‘s super affordable reusable and washable bags are ideal for groceries and shopping. The Horizontal Duck Bag made from recycled cotton canvas features adjustable straps and fits a 15″ MacBook and is priced at just US$34. Available in a range of colours and prints including black, white, brown, eucalyptus green, grid and brown cow.
Where to buy ethically-made shoulder bags:
- HYER GOODS crafts bags and accessories from upcycled and salvaged materials. Its Hobo Shoulder Bag in Black Lizard is made of leather scraps from the cutting room floor. The brand also donates 1% of monthly net proceeds to charities that address social issues like food insecurity and healthcare.
If you’ve got an event and need an evening bag to match your outfit, clutch bags and wristlets are the way to go.
Where to buy ethically-made clutch bags:
- AITCH AITCH is the first luxury brand to feature a complete collection using salmon leather. Its Ella Clutch bag (available in Midnight, Nude, Stone and Teal) has matte salmon skin, interior is patent leather salmon skin and is handcrafted in London by master artisans.
Where to buy ethically-made wristlet bags:
- HOZEN, a sustainable PETA-approved vegan bag label producing its products at a fair-wage factory in LA, makes its collections from recycled materials including traceable recycled plastic ‘leather’ from Italy. Its Zipper Pouch Wristlet Clutch comes in a variety of colours including black, rouge, lemon and roseate (pictured below) and makes the ideal bag to take for a glam night out.
The messenger bag, backpack and weekender/overnight bags make the ideal bags for weekend activities as they’re comfortable enough to throw over the shoulder and they’re large enough to carry bulk items.
Where to buy ethically-made messenger bags:
- Bellroy is an Australian certified B Corporation that produces streamlined bags and accessories that are minimalist in design. Its Systems Messenger Bag is made from water-resistant nylon fabric chosen for its durability and comes with a removable padded shoulder strap. All Bellroy products are ethically manufactured under high labor standards and come with a three-year warranty.
Where to buy ethically-made weekender and overnight bags:
- Lovia, a luxury brand known for its handcrafted high-end bags made by skilled Italian artisans, produces the stylish Karelia Weekender, an overnight bag made from excess leather materials salvaged from a furniture factory in Finland and featuring a handwoven detail. All products come with a “DNA code” inside that customers can use to learn more about the brand’s supply chain and production. This ethically-made bag is ideal for weekend getaways and comes in black, brown, dark brown and mid-brown (pictured below).
Where to buy sustainable backpacks:
- QWSTION manufactures a range of bags, fanny packs and backpacks using sustainable and innovative materials such as organic cotton, organic cotton canvas and Bananatex®. The Daypack (pictured below) comes in a variety of trendy colours and a versatile design that allows it to be used as a tote bag, shopper, or backpack.
Disclosure: Details are correct at time of publishing. Opinions are that of the writer’s. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. You can also check out online tools and apps that provide product reviews and brand ratings here. Click here to read more about our policies. Cover image via QWSTION.