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Go Green With These Eco-Friendly Handbag Makers

Sustainable fashion is here to stay and all who care are quick to make the shift. BagsLounge heartily supports eco-friendly alternatives and here is a round-up of some cool brands making stunning bags that could give fast fashion a run for its money. Just proves there is no dearth of alternatives if only one looks hard enough. Kudos to all these designers and entrepreneurs!

  1. The Initiative
    The Initiative
    Founded in 2013 by Arushi Aggarwal, The Initiative has been into handcrafted products and providing livelihoods to the artisans. Their product portfolio and designs are a class apart and reflect the rich cultural traditions of India. Showcased here is from a range of tote bags made from leftovers during garment production that are hand quilted into bags, similar to the quilted blankets. At under INR 2,000, they create value at every stage of their production, from enriching the lives of their makers to giftng intrinsic heirloom heritage to the buyer.
  2. Corkiza

    It takes the vision and spirit of entrepreneurs like Saurabh Kadyan to commit to the cause of sustainable living and lead the way to a greener planet. Cork is soft yet scratch resistant and waterproof which is why it finds a wide application in bottle stoppers. It’s lightweight and anti fungal as well. All the makings of perfect handbag material!! And had I not seen the range of bags at @corkiza , I’d never have known that such beautiful colors (colors are oh-so-important to me! 😁) are possible with the otherwise dull and humble cork. Add to it the specialized skill of the local artisans that are nurtured and who are in turn supported by this venture…a really wholesome package!! So indulge guilt free in luxurious, sustainable fashion!
  3. Zwende Design
    Zwende Design

    There’s another brand that includes cork in their material arsenal, but takes it a step further. Zwende lets the buyer customize the design of the bag from scratch through an aided user interface. And not just cork, there’s even leather and vegan leather; not just bags, they have even other lifestyle products! It’s the age where even Netflix content is tailor made, why not bags?! 😀
    So if you always had loads of creative ideas but didn’t know how to manifest them or if you simply want to tickle your creative side and bask in the glory of watching your designs come alive, you know where to hop over right now! While you’re there, do check our the story of how a simple table set off the chain of events leading Innu and Sujay to create Zwende as it is today. It makes for an interesting read.
  4. Riti India
    Riti India

    It’s not even a year since its inception, yet Riti India by Arati Krishna is making noteworthy strides in the world of ethical fashion. She works with a plethora of materials such as plant based, upcycled, organic fabrics, cruelty-free leather, hemp, jute sacks and even tyre rubber. The minimalistic yet functional and elegant bags are made by locally skilled artisans, which I believe is a truly symbiotic way to give back to the society. Her ceaseless passion for an ecofriendly lifestyle is so evident in the research on alternate materials she occasionally educates her readers about…be it muskin, a leather alternative or the fabric made from pineapple leaf. Riti is making its presence felt in international markets as well, even though it is still in nascency. Just goes to show that the world is waking up to the tremendous potential of responsible luxury. .
  5. Aarohana Ecosocial
    Aarohana Ecosocial

    So far we’ve mostly seen brands using sustainable, natural materials. There’s another breed of brands that reuse, repurpose unsustainable materials into lifestyle products thus reducing the quantum of such material from the face of the planet. Both kinds are equally pivotal in creating a lasting impact on our environment. Aarohana Ecosocial weaves plastic strips into fabric that is then used to create bags. The result is a rainbow-colored, shimmering surface of the bags. I wish I could show you the true glitter effect but I didn’t get the right pictures from the brand’s website. I love how something as mundane as discarded plastic can be upcycled into a product with a stunning appeal!! One such bag as shown in the pic uses up 50 plastic carry bags!! Truly incredible!
  6. Bottle Toppers
    Bottle Toppers
    Creativity spurs great invention. It is limited only by the lengths of one’s imagination. So prove the folks at BottleToppers who have made captivating bags out of upcycled aluminium bottle pulls, the rings over cans, salvaged from the waste lying in the environment. It started out as a design collaboration with Mulberry and has its famed leather as the inner lining of the bags. At first glance one can hardly realize what the exterior is made of; a closer look will make one gaze in wonder! The thousands of rings are woven into a material by local Brazilian women and artisans. They are trained in this specialized skill by the company. Needless to say the venture supports and provides for their livelihoods. These are not too expensive compared to other luxury bags.
  7. Elvis & Kresse
    Elvis & Kresse
    Yet another heart-warming tale of waste materials retrieved from the environment and metamorphosed into responsible, ethical luxury. In 2005, upon learning that London Fire Brigade’s damaged, decommissioned hose pipes were headed straight to the landfills, @elvisandkresse embarked on a mission to repurpose the waste hoses into lifestyle products. And to date they have reclaimed around 200 tons of hose pipes! Stupendous! They even went on to have a five-year partnership with Burberry in 2017, in which they expect to save around 120 tons of leather! What’s more they donate 50% of their profits to social causes. The bag in the pic is made of discarded hose pipe, leather cut-offs and failed parachute silk. Setting new benchmarks indeed. And you see how pretty and trendy it is?!
  8. Ecoregain
  9. Clothes cause one of the biggest clutters at homes. Sometimes the garment is in good shape but we’re plain bored of it. One solution is to give it for donation to the needy. Another is to give it to Ecoregain in exchange for good discounts on their lifestyle products, which are repurposed from the clothes they receive. Such a simple, elegant and straightforward way to help homes declutter, reduce waste and give them a new spin altogether! The result is also that the products are cheaper than the brand new ones. A win-win in all aspects. And all this from the comfort of your home… they’ll pick the old clothes and of course deliver what you purchase. I’d really like to see them cash in on this cool idea and introduce more product categories… like cushion covers, curtains, coasters, etc. I’m sure there’s immense potential when a process involves all the R’s of refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose!

We’re truly blessed to have such creative minds in our midst, as we’ve been seeing in this post. The rest of us should contribute in whatever little ways we can and I’m sure the earth has nothing to worry about!

About Vidya Gupta

Mother to three lovely boys and wife of a banking professional, I am extremely passionate about a host of topics, bags being one of them. For the record, the others are - makeup, travel, photography, in no particular order. Here I share my perspective on the Indian as well as the international bag-scene. As a youngster I would spend most of my money on bags and carry one according to my outfit. It is this love that I express through this blog. Needless to say, any suggestions for improvement, even healthy criticisms, are highly encouraged. Hope you enjoy your stay here and find something useful to help you on your next bag purchase!

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