For most people, veganism starts with an awareness of the food they’re putting in their mouths. However, in my experience, once you start to become sympathetic to the plight and suffering of animals, it becomes an all-encompassing lifestyle choice that makes you reevaluate everything you choose to purchase, use and consume.
From boots to bags, coats to car interiors… leather is a fairly innocuous material that is basically everywhere you look.
If you’re no longer comfortable with the thought of wearing the skins of animals (yep, it’s a horrible thought), then I’d love to introduce you to some of my favourite innovative, cruelty-free bag brands that are paving the way with alternative vegan leather.
Despite my initial misgivings, you can definitely still purchase high-quality, super-soft handbags that will last you for years! And, what’s even better? It’ll be a choice that feels as good on the inside as it looks on the outside.
- Best personalised: Johnny Loves Rosie | Skip to brand
- Best luxury: Mashu | Skip to brand
- Best traditional: Watson & Wolfe | Skip to brand
- Best cork leather: Corkor | Skip to brand
- Best minimalist: The Morph Bag | Skip to brand
- Best fruit materials: Labante | Skip to brand
- Best nature-inspired: Fable England | Skip to brand
- Best rescued fabrics: Elvis & Kresse | Skip to brand
- Best crossbody bag: Shaker | Skip to brand
- Best one-of-a-kind: Thamon | Skip to brand
Here are the best affordable yet super stylish UK vegan bag brands
I’ve talked more about the leather industry and what to look out for in vegan fabrics (scroll further down this post for further reading). But for now, let’s take a look at my go-to cruelty-free handbag brands that use zero animal products. Whether you’re looking for a classic tote or a go-to evening clutch, I’m sure that you’ll find plenty of inspiration in the list below!
Oh, and whilst I’ve included some designer vegan bag brands, I’ve tried to keep my suggestions as affordable as possible whilst never skimping on quality.
1. Johnny Loves Rosie
Our mission is to use Award Winning Vegan Leather that is sustainably sourced and hand personalised to create meaningful and aspirational handbags and accessories.
- Styles: Crossbody bags, handbags, purses
- Price: ££
With a mission to use vegan leather that is sustainably sourced and uniquely tailored to you, Johnny Loves Rosie is your one-stop destination for all things personalised! It’s all about the little details: firstly, pick your bag, then add your initials, select your strap, and finally, pick your keyring.
These luxury cruelty-free bags look and feel just like leather, whilst having an environmental impact that is up to 24 times lower than their animal-derived alternatives. They have more recently been sampling fruit and plant fibres to expand their sustainable collections even further – so watch this space!
We believe a good product is judged not only by its looks but equally through the way it was created.
- Styles: Baguette bags, crossbody bags, evening bags, mini bags, tote bags
- Price range: £££
You might need to save up your pennies for a Mashu bag, but I promise you, it will be SO worth it! Art Deco-inspired Mashu are on a mission to create beautiful handbags without harming planet, animals or people. Their 100% vegan fabrics are consciously low impact and prioritise innovative fruit leathers such as apple, pineapple, grape and corn, as well as organic, recycled and repurposed materials.
To buy less and better, Mashu offer a complimentary repair service for life. They’ve also partnered with Renoon to share transparent, evidence-based credentials for each product. With carbon neutral shipping and an OEKO-Tex certified cotton dustbag, 5 trees are planted for every bag purchased via TreeApp.
3. Watson & Wolfe
In a world where fashion is the second biggest polluter of our planet, we are committed to change.
- Styles: Crossbody bags, handbags, tote bags, purses (plus loads of lovely men’s bags, wallets & accessories)
- Price: ££
For Watson & Wolfe, it was working in the leather goods industry for 10 years and seeing the problems first-hand that actually changed the brand trajectory – shaping the compassionate and eco-conscious values that underpin their ethos today.
Their products are made using innovative future leathers like corn, cork, and cactus, with linings composed of recycled polyester. They also importantly provide information about their supply chain. Whilst they only have a small selection, it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for classic designs that will never go out of fashion.
By changing practices, the fashion industry can stop its negative impact.
- Styles: Backpacks, crossbody bags, tote bags, briefcases, clutches, wallets, travel, belts, accessories
- Price: ££
Cork is a fantastic leather alternative that is natural, renewable, and regenerative (did you know that harvesting cork trees actually stimulates their growth?!). Corkor is headed up Natália and Vítor, a Portuguese couple whose deep appreciation for this material stems from their European upbringing surrounded by native cork trees.
Owning their own workshop means that from design to shipment – they oversee the entire production process. Each certified Corkor product has been lovingly handmade by local artisans, combining small production runs with traditional craftsmanship, which results in their high quality yet always affordable price tags.
5. The Morph Bag
As a working mother, I always felt challenged with the limitations when choosing a traditional everyday bag. Being a multi-tasker in a single day, I needed versatility of use as well as styling.
- Styles: Clutches, crossbody bags, tote bags, handbag sets
- Price: ££
As an aspiring minimalist, I adore the concept of London-based label The Morph Bag. Not only do they promote conscious consumption through PETA-approved, 100% vegan products, but they only sell three styles that are designed with ultimate versatility in mind: a clutch, a crossbody and a shoulder bag tote (there’s even the option to purchase as a set).
It’s an innovative concept that means you can build your capsule wardrobe around just a few staple products, which will complement any outfit or occasion. All their bags use recycled PU leather, with linings made from recycled water bottles. Plus, they plant 3 trees in the Amazon for every order placed.
I believed there was a gap in the fashion industry to make high quality products that were not only beautiful and vied for, but were also cruelty free and sustainable.
- Styles: Backpacks, clutches, crossbody bags, laptop bags, tote bags, purses
- Price: ££
Labante London’s philosophy is ‘Fashion with Respect’ – born out of a combined love of animals, fashion, and the wider planet. They make a point of never using PVC in their designs as it is non-degradable and has a much higher toxicity level than other plastics. Product manufacturing is a circular process that attempts to minimise waste at every step.
Labante is transitioning to more environmentally-friendly leathers like apple, although currently all of their bags include recycled materials. For example, exteriors are manufactured using vegetable by-products and Microfiber, whilst interiors are made from recycled plastic bottles.
7. Fable England
Timeless scenes of nature set a whimsical spin on a classic tale to amuse and delight.
- Styles: Backpacks, cross body bags, tote bags, weekend bags, phone bags, purses
- Price: £-££
For fans of illustrated prints and embroidery details, Fable has a range of cruelty-free vegan bags that possess a playful narrative charm. They work with an ethical female-owned sustainable factory in China to produce their vegan PU products, and are currently in the process of sampling natural vegetable vegan materials.
Fable’s packaging is FSC-approved and their shipping materials are made from 100% recycled paper and plastic. They have further partnered with the environmental conservation organisation Make It Wild to offset their carbon emissions through tree planting in North Yorkshire.
8. Elvis & Kresse
The future of luxury is sustainable, ethical, reclaimed, open, generous and kind.
- Styles: Backpacks, camera bags, clutches, cross body bags, tote bags, briefcases, weekend bags, wallets, purses, accessories (& even homewares)
- Price: £££
B-Corp certified Elvis & Kresse have a really unique story. Established in 2005, their mission was clear: to rescue and repurpose London’s decommissioned fire hoses (300 tonnes that would otherwise have been destined for landfill!). Rubber is naturally vegan, but Elvis & Kresse also take care not to use animal-based glues or lining materials.
It’s so inspiring to see how seemingly ‘waste’ materials can be transformed through highly-skilled, traditional craftsmanship. Their bags and homewares are now made from 15 different reclaimed materials. Moreover, a huge 50% of their profits are donated to charity, including The Fire Fighters Charity.
Shaker seeks to unpick the fashion industry’s obsession with leather, and instead shine a light on the beauty inherent in plant-based materials.
- Styles: Cross body bags – more designs coming soon!
- Price: £££
Previously known as Luxtra, this B-Corp certified brand recently rebranded as Shaker in June 2023. They relaunched with their hero product – the lovely Twist Cross Body Bag – and excitingly have designs called the Push, the Fold and the Wave in the pipeline.
Shaker ensures transparency within their supply chain and fair working conditions, whilst never compromising on quality, long-lasting products. They also use a variety of eco-friendly and plastic-free leathers made from MIRUM® and AppleSkin. Check them out for some truly beautiful and innovative products.
Each piece is handmade from fallen leaves, dyed by hand and attentively crafted by our proficient artisans so every piece is beautiful, unique and one of a kind.
- Styles: Backpacks, clutches, crossbody bags, tote bags, purses, men’s bags & wallets
- Price: ££
With each piece handmade from fallen leaves and hand-dyed by skilled artisans, you really are getting a one-of-a-kind product when you purchase a bag from Thamon! The teak leaves used in this process are durable, water-resistant, biodegradable and 30% lighter in weight than real leather. As well as being cruelty-free, the production process is reassuringly free of nasty chemicals.
I must admit that when it comes to PU alternatives, I’m not always the biggest fan of the finished product, so Thamon has done an amazing job! Oh, and for a brand that feels so high-end, I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable price tag.
Go Cruelty-Free With Style That Looks Good & Does Good
I hope that this list of conscious and innovative vegan handbag companies inspires you to make a kinder choice – helping you to feel good on the inside as well as looking ultra-stylish on the outside. Beauty is far more than your outward appearance. It’s caring about things outside of yourself – whether it’s your impact on the planet, animals, or workers producing your everyday fashion items halfway across the world.
Just because the problem is out of sight, shouldn’t mean it’s out of mind.
To shop more ethically when it comes to your beauty regime, take a look at these natural skincare and makeup brands. And on your quest to quit fast fashion and embrace slow fashion, don’t forget to support vegan clothing brands.