Haute Couture Vegan Handbags

I want to start off by saying, there are a number of lovely vegan handbags on the market. In fact, I plan to feature many of them on this blog. However, I also want to address the issue of high-end designer vegan bags.

If you’re a vegan with a passion for fashion, it is entirely likely that your two biggest challenges in going beyond dietary veganisim are shoes and handbags.

There are lovely vegan shoes and bags. No question. I love Olsen Haus, Stella McCartney and Matt &Nat. But it’s rare to find established high-end designers like Louis Vuitton, Hermes & the like manufacturing vegan handbags. I would love to buy vegan Louboutins or Monolos, but these designers aren’t even attempting to provide vegan products.

One designer seems to have made more of an effort than the others: in spring 2015, Givenchy took the historic step of offering its classic medium Antigona satchel in black vegan leather. It was a limited edition, and by the time I found out about it, the bag was no longer available for sale (I even went to eBay to see if I could find anyone selling it second-hand – but no luck). Still, I’m thrilled that at least one designer has made the effort to test the waters of vegan fashion.

According to most surveys, strict vegans comprise just 1% of the population, but the number is growing. Also, as consumers become more aware of the environmental damage caused by the leather industry, it is likely that many will seek out better alternatives.

Designers can either be ahead of this trend, or lag behind it. As a lark, I decided to check out what I could find at Louis Vuitton that was vegan. The lovely Trunkies Stole was about all I could find (that and a beach towel). So, if you are addicted to high-end fashion, you’ll pretty much be limited to Stella McCartney.

Since I haven’t been able to find the vegan Givenchy Antigona, I think I might get the Issey Miyake Bao Bao bag instead. I’ve had it on my mind for years, and I think it may be time to take the plunge. The Bao Bao is modern, geometric, vegan, and just plain cool.


I’m a little boring, so I still want to get my hands on a classic vegan bag, but I might have to wait a while to get one. Do you think Hermes will ever make a vegan Birkin?

By the way, if you want a vegan Givenchy handbag, send Saks a note and let them know you’d like them to bring it back! (And send a letter to all your other favourite designers, too!). Who knows. It’s all about demand. If there are enough vegans who want these companies to start making vegan shoes and bags, then they will. Don’t underestimate the power of your voice as a consumer!

4 Responses to “Haute Couture Vegan Handbags

  • I’m so relieved to know there are other vegans other there like me, who love animals and fashion.

    I recently considered buying a Burberry coat. I found a coat that was made of cotton with a nylon lining – only to realise that the buttons were made of Buffalo horn!
    Needless to say I did not purchase this coat. But I did email Burberry and ask them to consider a Vegan option. It would be really easy for them to do (all they have to do was change the buttons and I offered to pay extra for this). The response I got from Burberry (I’ve copied it below) was less than satisfactory, but I would encourage all Vegan Fashionistas to email these companies so they know we have a voice.

    Dear Nicole ,

    Thank you for contacting Burberry Customer Service and your interest in our collection.

    As you may be aware, Burberry is an international luxury brand with a strong outerwear heritage, producing apparel and accessories with a distinct British sensibility for over 150 years. While there have been, and will continue to be, occasions where consumer tastes demand the use of natural products, we would like to express to you that Burberry will not use natural products if there is any concern that they have been produced using unacceptable treatment of animals.

    We source natural products very carefully in our efforts to safeguard the correct ethical standards and traceability. Specifically, our policy prescribes our sourcing of fur from suppliers that are governed by high animal welfare standards, which limits the types and origins of furs used in our collections.

    Burberry believes in the accurate labelling of all garments containing fur, to clearly inform consumers about the product prior to their purchase. As a result, Burberry complies with the US government’s Truth In Fur Labelling Act.

    We hope you have found this information useful and thank you again for taking the time to write to us with your feedback, and for giving us the opportunity to reply.

    Sincerely,

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Nicole! I had heard that Burberry uses animal horn in their buttons, but I haven’t actually taken the time to email the company. I have written to Louis Vuitton to ask them if they’d consider making at least one vegan option in their handbag line (since the canvas is already vegan, they’d just need to give the bags vegan trim). It looks like you got a pretty comprehensive reply from Burberry, even if it’s not too satisfying. This is definitely something that every vegan should be doing! Good work, and I hope more people will follow your example!

  • I love this article! I really wish more companies would make non-leather versions of classic pieces. I am a former designer leather handbag lover, and since going vegan I’ve bought a Matt and Nat and two bags from Stella McCartney, which I absolutely love and have received so many compliments on the chain detailing. I still have my old leather bags, but as time goes on I find myself wanting to use them less. Did you buy the Bao Bao?

    • I haven’t bought the Bao Bao yet, but I will be as soon as I can! I just love that bag (well actually all of the bags from that collection). I have contacted Louis Vuitton to ask them to offer a vegan version of one of their best-selling canvas bags. Since the bags are fully vegan aside from the leather details, it seems like they would be pretty easy to veganize.

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