The discussion around sustainability and eco-friendly fashion has been reaching a crescendo off late, and rightfully so. It’s no longer a good-to-have; it’s now a must-have. We as a community, as a planet can ill afford to ignore the writing on the wall. Thankfully, India has had several pioneers in this field that bring the best of fashion in the most sustainable ways, simultaneously triggering a tidal wave of mindset change among the masses.
Bags are an essential accessory that neither men nor women can do without. Simplifying your search for trendy bags made of eco-friendly alternatives is the list below that is curated keeping in mind even the most style driven consumers. Let’s dive right in!
Helmed by Arundhati Kumar, Beej is a pioneer in bringing premium sustainable handbags to the forefront of the fashion accessories space in India. The brand uses Pinatex (pineapple pulp fabric), Cactus pulp fabric and Cork to create stunning bags. Recycled material are used for the lining and packaging.
I’d seen cork bags for a while in my tenure as a handbag blogger, but only when I saw Sakino’s bags did I become aware that cork bags can certainly go the glam way. The brand has convincingly brought together form and function, using sustainable materials and in a range of delectable colors.
Riti has been a steadfast proponent of eco-friendly bags made from Pinatex, Sabai grass, Coconut fibre and even Jute rice bags! Time and again they come up with the use of innovative materials that we wouldn’t have hitherto thought even existed. Further, as a stamp of approval for their animal-friendly initiative, the brand is PETA certified.
No surprise here – their bags are made from Cork. Their bags are quite in step with trends and functional requirements of the modern millennial. They have recently diversified into other lifestyle accessories. Their bucket bags are a personal favorite!
Xander is a zero-waste brand deeply rooted in sustainable practices. The vegan brand crafts trendy, eye-catching bags with patterns and stitch-work, using washed jute and ensures that any shred of waste fabric is completely reused in one way or the other. Anybody who harbors the opinion that jute bags can be a bore, needs to take one look at Xander bags!
The brand name is a play on Art and Nature; and as such brings together the power of both in their bags made from 100% plant based materials such as Cork and Cactus Leather. They believe less is more when taking from the environment and the minimalist designs of their bags reflect this belief. I request the reader to keep in mind that while Cactus leather is natural, it is only partially biodegradable.
Every part of their bags is made of upcycled material – be it discarded tyre tube or unused fabric. Discarded tyres pose a grave threat to the environment – they are often burnt unchecked, releasing toxic fumes and chemicals. They address this creatively and bags thus created as sturdy due to the nature of tyre rubber. The brand is also a strong supporter of local artisans and fair pay.
Animal lovers rejoice as Aulive brings to you trendy travel gear in cruelty-free, plant-based leather alternatives. They use PETA-approved artificial leather as well as Pinatex. The bags ranging from sling bags to trunks are all handcrafted in India.
Ecoright aims to make people adopt the eco-friendly route in a fun way. They invest into creative research – one such outcome is Juton, which is a fabric made of jute and cotton. The bags made of Juton are high on quality and style. Their manufacturing facilities are audited for multiple parameters of environment friendliness.
A BIG INDIAN STORY
Yet another PETA-approved brand making bags and lifestyle accessories from vegan leather and Pinatex. With greater focus on Indian handicrafts, the brand offers Kalamkari backpacks, laptops and beautiful Kutch work embroidered bags
It’s one thing to use eco-friendly materials, it’s quite remarkably another to recycle the plastic that has already ended up in the landfills or could easily find its way into the oceans. Recharkha Ecosocial does just that – upcycles waste plastic bags and wrappers into elegant, utilitarian products, including bags. These are handwoven the traditional way using charkha and handloom units by tribal women. Talk about being multi-dimensionally eco-friendly!
Similar to Recharkha, Ecokaari too upcycles waste plastic into chic, lifestyle accessories. And just as at Recharkha, each product listed on their site will tell you how many plastic bags were consumed to create it (in other words, fewer plastic bags in landfills and oceans).
Kritenya is a celebratory confluence of Indian textiles, handicraft and our dexterous artisans. The brand employs women artisans from the marginalized communities of Assam. Hemp and linen cotton fabric, paired with trendy embroidery, tassels, beads and the likes, gives way to adorable, highly utilitarian bags.
Be more involved in the entire sustainability agenda by sending in your old clothes. Rest assured Meenakshi and her team will magically turn them into exactly the bag you want (actually into just about any item). You not only breathe new life into your unused clothes but also ensure that they don’t end up in landfills. Plus the added joy of witnessing creative ways to upcycle!
Did we miss a brand you love? Let us know!