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Tag Archives: bags
I can be very specific about what I’m looking for, which doesn’t let itself well to green fashion, especially when it comes to bags.
I have canvas bags, I have not-green-at-all leather purses, an upcycled shoulder purse from The Sway that I adore, and I have a vegan, faux leather Cornelia Guest bag that is already losing rivets despite its $150 price tag.
But what I really want is a big, work-appropriate bag that can store my laptop and hits the sweet spot between super-green, well-made and “hot damn!” You know, the kind of bag you imagine your 35-year-old-editor self carrying on her way to meet a celebrity for an interview.
Actually, I found a few. roztayger.com has a carefully “curated collection” of beautiful and functional bags that murmur, “I’m holding a few contracts that will be revealed in the Wall Street Journal tomorrow. Just wait … ”
Not all are eco-friendly. But there are some that are hand-made, vegetable dyed and lined with organic cotton. Sounds good to me. My faves follow (in New Yorker black, bien sur):
Midnight Flea Bag
Fleabags strives to create products that are as green as possible while maintaining high quality and covetable design. They are made with organic and vintage materials, vegetable-tanned and re-purposed leathers, and USA-made parts. All silkscreens use water-based ink. They are fabricated in they NYC area, in Limited Edition, by hand, in small production runs.
Tote Bag by Bonastre
Handcrafted in Spain and designed by Parisian based designer Fernando Bonastre, this environmentally friendly bag is handcrafted using natural, non-treated cattle hides in accordance with ancient vegetable processes (based on oak bark and olive oil finishing, versus the commonly used but highly contaminating chromium tanning).
Large Vene Purse by Samuji
This oversized clutch is made of Italian leather and lined in organic cotton. Samuji is a women’s clothing and accessories line designed by the namesake creative studio based in Helsinki, Finland. It was founded in 2009 by Samu-Jussi Koski, the former creative director of Marimekko textile house. The Samuji accessories collection featured at roztayger is permanent and timeless and not based on seasonal fluctuations. Samuji’s ambition is to produce timeless and sustainable design that serves a purpose yet tells a story. All items are crafted from premium quality materials from European and Japanese suppliers and produced in Europe by carefully selected manufacturers who insist on the highest quality and ethicality.
I’ve been listening to this (admittedly a couple years old) mix on repeat. So good. Listen:
Rivet Book Bag by Frrry
The Rivet Book bag in the “rivet” series by Frrry is made of Italian veggie dyed leather and is designed and assembled in the Netherlands.
Last week, if you had looked closely, you would have thought I was being a huge hypocrite.
I was at my desk, eating lunch. Slung over my chair was a new, black, ladylike, vegan coat by Vaute Couture. On my feet were black, microsuede, platform booties by Crie de Coeur. And I was eating a chicken salad.
What could account for this odd sartorial/culinary dissonance? Am I a poser, buying vegan just to say I buy vegan while I contribute to the murder of poor little caged chickens with my choice of lunch?
Actually, there is a method to this madness. The chicken salad in question was from the Whole Foods prepared food bar–organic, hormone-free and humanely raised. And the outerwear and shoes in question are more than just vegan.
You see, I have no problem with eating meat as long as I know where it comes from. This is for the usual liberal guilt reasons (I happen to like my Chesapeake bay free of mounds of nitrate-rich chicken poop, thanks) but also out of concern for my own health. More than 3,000 people die each year from food poisoning, and I myself came down with a mild bout after succumbing to the siren call of Perdue chicken fingers at a Yankees game last year. Still, as long as I get my meat–pork, chicken, duck and the occasional hamburger–from a local farm, I feel OK about it. And I’m especially OK with eggs and yogurt from the Greenmarket.
So why go to the trouble and expense of buying vegan products? They’re not even going in my mouth!
Well, when it comes to beauty products, many are vegan as a sort of checkmark in a long line of conscious requirements of the modern consumer: No testing on animals–check. Organic–check. Paraben-free–check. Container made from post-consumer recycled content–check. Vegan/free of animal products–check. So I really just end up with vegan face lotion and deodorant.
But when it comes to clothing, something I’ve found to be almost universally true is that if someone takes the time to ensure their clothing and/or accessories are vegan, they’ve also taken the time to ensure their products are also sustainably and ethically made. Take, for example, these brands:
- EcoCloset shoes are vegan, plus eco-friendly, non-toxic and made in an ethical, sweatshop-free factory in China.
- Beyond Skin shoes are vegan, plus handmade in Spain.
- Olsen Haus shoes are vegan, plus fair trade and sustainably made.
- Elizabeth Detroit shoes are vegan, plus made from recycled plastic in the United States.
- Neuaura shoes are vegan, plus are made in a sustainable factory in Brazil.
- Pansy Maiden bags and accessories are vegan, plus made the U.S. of sustainable materials.
- Matt and Nat bags and accessories are vegan, plus use sustainable and upcycled materials.
- Reveal bags and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
- Vaute Couture outerwear is vegan, plus made in New York.
- Crie de Coeur shoes and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
See what I mean? Yes, I still have plenty of leather in my closet, especially the vegetable-tanned kind. But no, I don’t think it’s weird to pull money out of a vegan wallet to pay for Long Island duck breast. Do you?
I remember the first time the whole plastic bag thing clicked for me. I was around the age of 14, I think, and I remember thinking, “Hmmm plastic bags are made from oil. Didn’t they say oil is starting to run out? Maybe I should not always get a bag for everything.” A few years later, the reusable bag craze hit. Yup, I’m a visionary.
Fast forward to 9 years later. It irks me so much how bag-happy many places are still. (I’m looking at you Duane Reade.) You go up to the counter with a toothbrush, hand them your card, and take just a wee moment too see why your phone is buzzing, and they’ve stuck your toothbrush in a bag. Sneaky little suckers.
Thanks, I couldn’t carry the toothbrush home if it didn’t have handles on it. I also couldn’t have fit it in my ENORMOUS purse that could hold a yorkshire. At least some places ask you. But more often then not I find I have to be vigilant. Hand them my card, pull out my fold up bag, slap it ostentatiously down on the counter, and then, as they reach below the counter, pounce. “No bag please!” Often they look at me with confusion, and then resignation, like “Who the f is THIS girl?”
Yesterday I was in my local grocer, which in all other respects is lovely. I saw a new little sign. “Help us to stop using plastic bags! Please purchase reusable bags. Free bag with purchase over $50.” I smiled, inwardly applauding. I handed my little fold-up bag to the bagging girl. She packed it full, I took my receipt, and I started to walk away. “Wait miss!” The cashier called out. “You forgot your free bag!” I stared at her. Seriously? I obviously already had one, plus four more at home.
Some other cute little boutiques give out reusable bags now. But if every business starts giving out material-intensive bags instead of plastic ones, well that kinda defeats the point, right? Just some food for thought. The solution is to accept free reusable bags judiciously, and try to carry them with you whenever you have space in your purse.
Another first good step is to click here to sign global petition to ban plastic bags.