Ethical and Sustainable Handbags For Your Every Need

Image: Osier

Finding a handbag that fulfils our practical needs, doesn’t compromise on style and is made with the planet and its people in mind is essential in building a capsule wardrobe. 

Finding a bag to meet all of your needs – big enough to stash any impromtu groceries, our laptops, beautiful enough to accessorise our outfits and with enough compartments and pockets for organisation – can be hard at the best of times, in addition to wanting to prioritise the planet in your decision making. When searching for a new handbag, unlike that of a plain white t-shirt or a staple pair of jeans, requires finding a bag that is classic enough to be worn with almost every outfit in your wardrobe. 

We’ve highlighted a few of our favourite handbag brands with ethical and environmental credentials to help guide you towards the bag of your dreams that will last you a lifetime. 

Messenger Bag, OSIER £257

Osier is on a mission to revolutionise the fashion industry with a focus on sustainable practices, transparency and quality. Its luxury bags are made from innovative materials such as apple waste biomaterial that gives the feeling of faux leather. Not only does Osier manufacture solely in Europe owing to its CO2 compensation pledge, but its bags are made using green wind energy too. 

Jute Macrame Shopping Bag, Maison Bengal £35

Maison Bengal founder Sheenagh Day was inspired by the traditional weaving and basket making culture she came across in the poorest areas of Bangladesh. The Jute Macrame shopping bag, along with the brand’s exemplary collection of bags and baskets are individually woven using locally grown natural materials and hand dyed to produce stunning colours. Plus, the March sisters in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women are fans – we need no more convincing!

Stella Logo Shoulder Bag, Stella McCartney £545

Stella McCartney is committed to operating a modern and responsible business. Focusing on materials and innovation, social sustainability and measuring its impact, Stella McCartney is defining the future of fashion through the pioneering new alternative materials and exciting technologies. The Stella Logo Shoulder bag is Made in Italy from non-leather materials as part of its cruelty-free ethos. 

Cross-Body Messenger, Ministry of Tomorrow £231

Ministry of Tomorrow is a luxury eco-fashion house that supports important environmental and social developments around the world. Among a variety of unisex bags, the cross-body messenger is ideal for carrying around tablets and laptops with an external back slip, secret pockets and an adjustable strap for suit your carrying needs. 

Ethical Leather Foldable Bag, Faldan £495

Faldan is a revelation for all the busy bodies out there with the idea is that you only need one bag for any occasion. Made from ethically-sourced materials such as ECONYL® and recycled nylon that diverts waste from landfill, these bags collapse and extend from the perfect purse or phone carrier to a bag that fits your weekly shop. 

Lua Clutch, Nannacay £164.99

Nannacay celebrates the best of Brazilian craftsmanship. Each bag eflects the tribal roots and the colourful, vibrant life of the country. The Lua Clutch is individually handcrafted and adorned with Peruvian wool feathers making each one unique to the owner. 

Lua Clutch, Nannacay £164.99

Nannacay celebrates the best of Brazilian craftsmanship. Each bag eflects the tribal roots and the colourful, vibrant life of the country. The Lua Clutch is individually handcrafted and adorned with Peruvian wool feathers making each one unique to the owner. 

The Glory Bag, humour.noir £2131.31

The Glory bag from humour.noir is exemplary of its mission to show the brand’s skilled work and Italian craftsmanship through luxury and stylish designs. Fitted with a large main compartment and held with two shoulder straps made from smooth cork and a 24ct gold-plated chain, The Glory bag transitions beautifully from day to day chic to evening glamour. 

Green Carpet Bag by Chloē Sevingy, Chopard £1,820

Award-winning actress Chloe Sevigny’s collaboration with Chopard created a Green Carpet Collection bag with a sustainable story. Chopard has been on a journey to sustainable luxury, working intensely on the supply chain of gold, diamonds, opals, emeralds and Paraiba tourmalines and now leather. This uniquely designed bag is made from responsibly-sourced and traceable leather and recycled components with beautiful contrasting colours that will see you standing out in the crowd.   

The Maitama Mini, Shekudo via Akojo Market £177

Available on Akojo Market, Sydney founded Shekudo celebrates local artisans and their cultural heritage in the crafting of its luxury accessories and footwear. The Maitama is the ‘Mary Poppins’ bag of ethical fashion with a deep interior for all of your bits and bobs. The leather used to make Shekudo bags is either left over leather or a biproduct of the meat industry. 

Bleu de Chauffe Mini Postier Java bag, TOAST £240

Craftsmanship, longevity, the planet and people are at the heart of TOAST. Creating womenswear, accessories and homewear, it collaborates with its mills and dyers to explore the most sustainable practices. The Bleu De Chauffe Java bag is a classic staple adding an element of understated luxury to any outfit. TOAST believes in the importance of making garments to last, so offer a free repair service in its stores and operate TOAST Circle to encourage customers to shop and exchange garments and accessories. 

Handbag Rental

Image: Lucy Thomson for Hurr Collective

If handbags are your thing, and committing to just one staple bag feels too much like an impossible decision, rental platforms have got you covered. Be it a tiny occassion clutch bag or a holiday tote, renting handbags are not only a great way to figure out what is (and isn’t) practical but also offers the chance to tailor your accessories perfectly to your ocassion and outfit. 

Learn more about the debate around real vs faux leather.

Discover more of our favourite wardrobe classics, from winter boots to staple layers.

See our full list of recommended brands