What Are Vegan Bags?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Faux suede is a vegan alternative to real suede.
Faux suede is a vegan alternative to real suede.

Vegan bags are handbags, tote bag or purses made from materials that are not derived from animals. The types of materials used in vegan bags varies, and may in some cases be recycled materials, making such vegan bags "green" as well as vegan. Handbags and fashion accessories are sometimes made from animal products, such as leather, silk or wool, presenting an ethical dilemma for those who hold to an ethical vegan worldview. By creating vegan accessories, manufacturers and designers offer vegans the opportunity to be fashionable while staying true to their principles.

Some vegan bags use faux crocodile skin rather than harming a real animal.
Some vegan bags use faux crocodile skin rather than harming a real animal.

Veganism is a way of eating and often an ethical worldview. Vegans do not consume animal products, including meats, dairy or eggs. Many vegans also refrain from the consumption of honey, as it is produced by insects. While some vegans eat this way for health reasons or as a matter of personal preference, some vegans have a more holistic worldview in which they apply their veganism to other uses of animals. For example, some vegans oppose the use of animals for entertainment purposes, keeping them as pets or using animal products in clothing or accessories. These vegans generally eschew the use of leather, silk or fur in the clothing and accessories that they wear.

Vegan bags are often made out of faux leather.
Vegan bags are often made out of faux leather.

In some cases, vegan bags are made out of materials designed to look like animal-based counterparts. For example, bags may be made from faux suede or leather. In some cases, a bag may be imprinted or texturized to make it seem like a particular type of animal skin or hide. Faux crocodile and alligator bags, made from synthetic materials, are popular with both vegans and non-vegans alike as they provide an attractive, but low-cost alternative to bags made out of genuine hides. On the other hand, many vegans do not want to even give the appearance of carrying a bag made from animal skin, so will choose bags that do not resemble leather or any other type of animal product.

Vegan leather is made without animal ingredients.
Vegan leather is made without animal ingredients.

Some vegans will also seek out vegan bags and accessories that are made, in whole or in part, from recycled materials. Given that the synthetic materials used to make some vegan bags are made from petroleum products, some individuals are concerned that these vegan bags are not ecologically responsible. Sellers of vegan accessories often note whether an item is made from recycled or repurposed materials, as this is of interest to many vegans.

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    • Faux suede is a vegan alternative to real suede.
      By: PRILL Mediendesign
      Faux suede is a vegan alternative to real suede.
    • Some vegan bags use faux crocodile skin rather than harming a real animal.
      By: gijssmulders
      Some vegan bags use faux crocodile skin rather than harming a real animal.
    • Vegan bags are often made out of faux leather.
      By: Andrey Bandurenko
      Vegan bags are often made out of faux leather.
    • Vegan leather is made without animal ingredients.
      By: Eky Chan
      Vegan leather is made without animal ingredients.