Eco Friendly Purses Ethically Made to Carry Around in Style

Eco and ethical fashion also mean stylish fashion! At Puratium, we are convinced that living a more sustainable, low waste lifestyle is about choices, not sacrifices.

This article will detail each of the ten brands in terms of packaging and materials, social and environmental practices, as well as style and price range. We will also clearly flag the vegan-friendly purses in our summary graph.

It is essential to recommend purses and bag brands committed to ethically made products, including transparent business practices and charitable work.

The below list of brands comprises some of our personal favorites, mainly due to their originality. And, style (guilty here!).

Let’s now look at each brand per location: as usually encouraged on Puratium, try to order from the one closer to home.

Elvis & Kresse
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Elvis & Kresse
  • Best recycled material
  • Sustainable packaging
Corkor
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Corkor
  • Best raw natural material
  • Local sourcing & manufacturing
Nisolo
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Nisolo
  • Best Non Vegan
  • Transparency on supply chain

Gunas - New York, USA

Materials & Packaging

The brand is committed to being 100% cruelty-free, advocating that animals have no place in the fashion industry.

No use of leather, fur, wool, silk, or any other animal-derived products and adhesives.

We recommend this brand for its innovative approach.

Namely, their 100% PVC and plastic-free Mulbtex developed in 2018. As strong as silk, it is an authentic Korean material made from the Mulberry plant leaf pulp.

We particularly like that their lining fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles or cotton twills that were up-cycled.

And their 24-carat Gold plated custom logo hardware is made from recycled materials.

Unfortunately, we could not retrieve any information on the type of packaging used.

Social & Environmental Practices

GUNAS clearly indicates the place of manufacture for each item they sell. They work with small-scale manufacturers mainly from India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, and Hong Kong using non-toxic methods for the environment (neither PVC nor Vinyl).

And, they are sweatshop-free guaranteed. This means that they advocate against unacceptable working conditions and trade oppression often associated with cheap fashion goods.

Lastly, they regularly donate a part of their profits to animal charities and other organizations striving for ecological welfare.

In 2012, GUNAS was awarded the Ethical Fashion Award in London. The first award of many!

Style & Price

Probably one of the most famous vegan purse brands with fair trade standards in the US, and for a good reason. We are huge fans of their Meghan collection’s shoulder bags.

While 300 USD for a purse may seem like a significant investment, you will be assured to wear an ethically made purse with superior vegan materials, inspired by the Duchess of Sussex herself! In terms of vegan brand purses, this is a great endorsement.

Additionally, it is good to mention that a Gunas’ vegan handbag will cost you between 125 and 295 USD.

Additionally, they offer functional, durable men’s bags that are 100% plastic-free and silicone-based Mulbtex vegan leather.

eco friendly purses brands: Gunas NY Canva
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Nisolo - Nashville, USA

Nisolo Lori Tote Eco Friendly Purse
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Image by Nisolo

Materials & Packaging 

Each of their products is handcrafted. They offer vegetable tanned leather bags, i.e., natural oils from bark or plant tannins, and therefore free of harmful chemicals. And they are committed to high-quality sourcing materials.

Most of the tanneries they use are certified through the Leather Working Group.

We particularly like this eco friendly brand as well for its Shoe Reclamation Program: Nisolo is committed to a circular fashion model, and therefore, you can return old shoes that will be repaired and recycled appropriately, in collaboration with Soles4Souls.

Bear in mind that the Nashville based fair trade brand does not ship internationally.

And in all honesty (and in an ideal low carbon footprint world – granted), this should be the standard!

Never lose sight of how you can help protect the planet: the 5Rs of Zero Waste, but also an eco-approach to life so close to our heart at Puratium.

Unfortunately, we could not retrieve any information on the type of packaging used.

Rosewood Eco friendly purse
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Image by Nisolo

Social & Environmental Practices

We appreciate Nisolo’s transparency regarding its supply chain. For in-depth analysis lovers, their impact report is available here.

70% of the manufacturing process occurs in Peru, while the rest is produced in Mexico or Kenya.

All factories must comply with their Code of Conduct and are regularly visited by the Nisolo crew to ensure standards are met (artisans are above 18, receive healthcare benefits, among other things, to name a few).

It is important to mention that they have been a Certified B Corporation since 2017 and scored 94 out of 100: “B Corp certification is similar to fair trade, but determines environmental and social impact beyond product attributes or production processes’.

Nisolo acknowledges the issues around wages in the fashion industry and how we, as customers, can help make things right by demanding fair living wages and decent working conditions.

As a matter of fact, they have strived to pay a LIVING wage to their workers by determining such countries’ minimum pay requirements.

On average, their producers in Peru earn 33% above fair trade wages.

We commend Nisolo for their vision and humility in learning what went wrong in the first place.

On the donation side, their major contribution goes to help protect forests in the Amazon Basin. Concretely, an offset of 1,221 metrics tons of CO2! In other words, similar to taking 264 cars off the road for a year.

Lastly, another great best practice from Nisolo is their Ethical Marketplace.

Why? By handpicking a few of their favorite eco friendly products from other like-minded brands, they want to make sustainable shopping – even – easier.

Style & Price 

This review focuses on eco friendly purses responsibly made by fashion brands worldwide. However, we could not recommend Nisolo only for their accessories!

Their shoes and boots are stylish, easy to wear, and come in easily ‘matchable’ colors.

Their waterproof leather Dari Boots are our favorite thanks to their refined shape with a snug fit.

As for their bags, Totes start at 80 USD, while their elegant cotton Canvas weekender is at 200 USD.

All in all, we appreciate Nisolo for their variety of simple yet beautiful and ethically made accessories, shoes, bags, jewelry, and the like, for both men and women.

And, starting at a reasonable price range (90 USD for sneakers, 15 USD for socks, etc.)

eco friendly purses nisolo
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Cuyana - San Francisco, USA

Materials & Packaging 

Cuyana undoubtedly favors quality over quantity by selecting the finest materials that will last longer and thus crafted to stand the test of time. To name just a few:

  • Silk from China: each part of the process is closely monitored, allowing a significant reduction of harmful waste creation.
  • Recycled cashmere(if you want to find out more information about cashmere read this article) from Italy: this regenerative process is handled by a family-run mill founded in 1890 in Bologna.
  • Responsibly made leather from Italy and Argentina: their tanneries are Gold Certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG). Moreover, resource optimization and waste production in the design process are of core importance.

Unfortunately, we could not retrieve any information on the type of packaging used.

Social & Environmental Practices

When it comes to environmental practices and certifications, Cuyana is at the top! They currently manage to use 95% of product sustainability and are ethically made and intend to reach 100% by 2022.

This includes several environmental certifications, such as GOTS (organic cotton, free of harmful chemicals) or GRS (Global Recycling Standard). Plus, their LWG certification gives us further peace of mind.

It promotes sustainable business practices in the leather industry regarding traceability, energy and water consumption, waste management, and the like.

Reducing their carbon footprint is at the heart of this eco friendly brand’s business model.

Even though they produce and manufacture in various countries, they endeavor to select factories close to their source material, such as their Pima Cotton, grown and made in Peru.

All their factories are independently audited for social compliance.

We also believe that their commitment to producing in line with market demands shows their long term engagement against fast fashion. Unlike conventional brands selling about 60 to 70% of their production, Cuyana reached 90% in 2019.

Plus, the ‘afterlife’ of your purse is secure: they offer an excellent repair service beyond the 2-year warranty and partner with thredUP for their Resale program.

On the donation side, this eco friendly brand has a takeback program so that their customers may pass along their used yet high-quality items to women who suffered from abusive situations (HEART, i.e., Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma).

Style & Price 

Beautifully elegant is what first comes to mind when looking at Cuyana’s purses. We appreciate the variety of this reliable sustainable brand: bags, jewelry, and accessories such as hats and scarves.

Design-wise, the fact that these purses are timeless, functional, and versatile handbags make them a lifelong item in your wardrobe (let’s keep you inspired!).

Our preferred (and super classy!) choice and LWG Silver certified go to the Carryall Tote. Large enough to carry a 15-inch laptop, the Argentinian leather made purse costs 245 USD.

We also appreciate the price range; from 95 USD for a travel case to 395 USD for a Trapeze Satchel.

eco friendly purses CUYANA
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Angela Roi - New York, USA

Materials & Packaging 

Angela Roi handbags are exquisitely designed and carefully crafted by artisans using EPUL (Exquisite Polyurethane Leather), a durable thread and quality fabric.

Each of their products is hand-constructed using high quality and animal-free materials. They are PETA certified.

Moreover, in 2020, Angela Roi launched an AR home collection using the wasted materials from their beloved bag collections.

This has enabled them to craft everyday home products such as coaster sets.

Unfortunately, we could not retrieve any information on the type of packaging Angela Roi uses.

And, we found it a pity that they do not opt for recycled materials, even for smaller pieces like metal items. These reasons explain the lower rating for Angela Roi.

Social & Environmental Practices

We like this eco friendly brand’s educational videos detailing each step of the manufacturing process.

Each Angela Roi handbag is designed in NY and manufactured in reliable factories in South Korea.

Angela Roi committed to providing fair wages and working conditions and avoiding the traditional pitfalls of sweatshop partnership.

Thanks to quarterly on-site visits, they ensure a fair manufacturing process.

We could not find any information on an Angela Roi giving back program or charitable causes support.

Style & Price 

A timeless look is what best defined one of the most renowned vegan bag designers in New York. We also recommend this eco friendly brand for its affordability.

On the budget side, it starts at 55 USD for the Zuri Card Pouch and can go up to 255 USD.

Lastly, if you are looking for a stylish 100% organic hemp made tote, Angela Roi is the place to look for. Please note that they do not offer shipping outside of the US for the moment.

eco friendly purses angela roi
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Elvis & Kresse - Kent, UK

Materials & Packaging 

Rescue, transform, and donate have been Elvis & Kresse’s three pillars since their beginning in 2005.

Starting with the idea that they wanted to save London’s fire hoses from ending in landfills, this eco friendly brand has developed an obsession for waste reduction!

We recommend this brand for its attention to detail and its willingness to opt for sustainable/recycled materials for each part of their products. To name a few:

  • Decommissioned fire-hoses turned into an alternative robust (and mainly red!) textile.
  • Unwanted shoe boxes that they repurpose for their packaging and labels.
  • Tea sacks: typically not recyclable, Elvis & Kresse have managed to reuse these layers for packaging or printing their brochures.
  • Reclaimed printing blanket that they re-engineer to create a new vintage material.

Bear in mind that their collections are not entirely vegan. They have partnered with the Burberry Foundation to decrease the amount of leather waste produced yearly (35,000 tons!) by the European luxury industry (2). Hopefully, that will lead to more vegan handbag availability.

Social & Environmental Practices

They are part of the Certified B Corporations. All their products are manufactured in their workshop in Kent or in Istanbul, Turkey. Fairness in pay and respect in the workplace is part of their DNA.

A strict quality control along the entire supply chain process allows the best chance for the longest possible life. Thus, they offer lifetime repairs for any of their products.

Moreover, we particularly appreciate their commitment regarding their pricing: it is based strictly on the labor costs involved in producing their goods. They refuse to do sales or discounts in the same vein as they are not ‘a fast-moving consumer goods brand.’

Also worth mentioning, they are fully powered by renewable energy!

Lastly, for their charitable work, this eco friendly brand is again excelling: they donate 50% of their profits to projects and charities directly related to their unique materials that they reclaim.

Style & Price 

If you are looking for a super original and unique eco friendly bag, this is the shop to check out!

We particularly like their classic Tote Bag available in red hose, yellow hose, or black printing blanket that are ideal shoulder bags.

Made from genuine decommissioned fire-hose, we recommend it for its size, easy cleaning, and robustness.

They offer a variety of reliable, eco friendly bags, wallets, belts, or even pencil cases that will be appreciated by both men and women.

Price-wise, you can get a Fire & Hide Cosmetics case for 100 GBP and go up to 375 GBP for their weekend bag collection.

eco friendly purses elvis & kresse
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Mashu - London, UK

Materials & Packaging 

Mashu’s bags feature vegan, recyclable, and sustainable materials. Their criteria for sourcing these materials are not random: organic and plant-based, but also allowing enhanced conservation of natural resources.

Typically, they opt for materials like Pinatex, hemp, and Dinamica; no harmful chemical substances are used in any of these options.

They also strive for better reuse of wooden offcuts. Additionally, their vegan leather is made from water-based PU (Polyurethane Surface).

Lastly, their FSC certified packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials. They use vegan glue and biodegradable tape.

We give Mashu the maximum score for this category and invite you to read further on this topic.

As a matter of fact, transparency and constant improvement are only a few of their core eco-values.

Social & Environmental Practices

We commend Mashu for producing and sourcing their entire collections in Europe! Local manufacture not only helps to reduce your carbon footprint but also helps build a healthier economy while supporting traditional craftsmanship.

They closely collaborate with their artisans in Athens, Greece, to continuously innovate and minimize waste in parallel.

They regularly review everyone involved in the supply chain’s production methods, ensuring fair and ethical business practices.

We particularly appreciate their willingness to share their sustainability strategy openly.

It is important to note that zero waste and using 100% of circular or recycled materials are among their first goals for the future.

Lastly, we hope their giving back program to animal and environmental causes will soon be up and running.

Style & Price 

A day-to-night style is what distinguishes this eco friendly handbag brand. We are fond of their Amaryllis collection for its simple yet perfectly sized dimensions.

High five as well to the vegan leather Sophia Sage bags made of Pinatex and their 106cm Nickel Free chains.

Mashu is an exclusive, luxurious cruelty-free brand. Budget-wise, expect a range from 200 to 355 GBP.

eco friendly purses MASHU
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BEEN - London, UK

Ridley Gold Purse
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Materials & Packaging 

We like BEEN for their motto: “Imagination can dream up a second life for used materials.” They source their materials destined for landfills and turn them into fashionable items.

Hence, they are committed to using sustainable materials like recycled leather, sourcing it from tannery offcuts, and trimmings that are otherwise thrown away.

Moreover, they use recycled cotton, recycled felt, and Piñatex (a natural leather alternative from pineapple leaves and PETA certified).

Their zips are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Lastly, we are fans of this brand for their approach to recycling and repairing. Whenever a part of the bag is no longer repairable, they constantly innovate to find recycling solutions.

Unfortunately, we could not retrieve any information on the type of packaging used.

BEEN LONDON-GOLD-01_V2