Ethically-Made Handbags & Purses
As consumers we're passionate about knowing whether the people that make our clothes and accessories have fair wages and environmentally safe working conditions. Below we've compiled a list of our favorite brands ethically producing gorgeous and functional totes, handbags and weekenders for everyday use, summer travels and beyond.
Among this list are American-made, upcyled, vegan and artisan made bags from companies dedicated to both social and environmental good. From travel to work, or a night out, these 16 brands make it easier to fill your closet with ethical, high quality staples for every occasion.
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan made
Best For | Weekender bags
Price Range | $138 - $350
Tribe Alive works to alleviate poverty among women, through fashion and responsible commerce. By providing their employees with fair trade wages, safe working conditions, and training, they are able to provide opportunities for disadvantaged and impoverished women around the world. Each of their handbags are handmade, and represent the culture of the woman who created it - with styles from Guatemala and Haiti, there is truly a look for everyone. Plus, they love customer feedback and use suggestions for their upcoming looks! Hope is their message, and fashion is their medium.
Matt & Nat
Ethics | Vegan, recycled/upcycled materials, fair trade
Best For | Wide selection of handbags (satchels, diaper bags, yoga bags, crossbodies)
Price Range | $50 - $250
You might think Matt & Nat stands for two people, but the name actually represents Mat(t)erial and Nature. Born out of Montreal, Canada in 1995, Matt & Nat believes in living beautifully and appreciating humanity and the world around us. Committed to being sustainable and eco-friendly, all of their bags are made with vegan materials only, including recycled bicycle tires and rubber. In fact, their handbag linings are made with 100% recycled plastic bottles! They also have deep partnerships with the factories who create their beautiful products, and hold them to the highest safety standards. With over 20 different categories for bags, ranging from bowling bags, to men’s shoulder bags, made with beautiful, vivid colors, the opportunities are endless.
Ethics | Artisan made, empowerment of women
Best For | Premium leather
Price Range | $120 - $400
Parker Clay’s values center around being good to one another, creating economic and social empowerment, and making the best products possible. After Ian and Brittany Bentley saw living conditions in Ethiopia for disadvantaged women while adopting their child Selah, they were inspired to do more - Parker Clay’s name comes from their two biological children Parker and Clayton. Today, they work to get women out of the commercial sex industry, and partner with the nonprofit Women At Risk to provide rehabilitation, training, and job opportunities to those in need. Now living in Ethiopia, the Parker Clay duo make this possible by using premium leather to create timeless, professional styles for the public. Their signature totes are sure to be your go-to bag, perfect for a visit to the farmer’s market or day trips to the beach.
Genesis Fair Trade
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan made
Best For | Wallets & pouches
Price Range | $32 - $150
Genesis Fair Trade is a social enterprise dedicated to empowering creative women and men around the globe. They empower small-scale, indigenous artisans around the world to create high-quality handmade products from all-natural materials and dyes. The company reinvests net profits back into their artisans' communities to improve quality of life through their mission to empower women, educate children and support the elderly. Additionally, a portion of proceeds is used to provide water filters, stoves, food and other items to communities in need.
Slate + Salt
Ethics | Artisan made
Best For | Messenger bags
Price Range | $44+
Everything we own has a story. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where our products came from and that they were made with love in a sustainable way? Slate + Salt has embodied this vision, bringing a curated collection of luxe, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and bags while preserving traditional techniques and supporting the Fair Trade movement. The brand works closely with small social enterprises to facilitate dignified working opportunities in areas of extreme poverty. Slate + Salt’s products are handmade and hand-dyed each piece is one of a kind.
Ethics | Fair trade, USA made, 5% give back
Best For | Coin purses & clutches
Price Range | $9 - $64
Casa Verde is dedicated to beautiful, wonderful, curious, quirky, and soulful things that are made ethically and responsibly. The curated online shop supports ethical working conditions by sourcing product from small-batch, handmade artisans in the U.S. and fair-trade craft collectives globally. Their handbags, jewelry and decor are colorful, global and conscious of both people and planet. Additionally, 5% of profits are donated to organizations making a difference in local and global communities focusing on social and environmental change.
Purse & Clutch
Ethics | Artisan made
Best For | Wallets
Price Range | $38+
The online-based boutique partners with artisans in developing countries who create their products with an emphasis on both design and quality. Purse & Clutch has a mission to help support sustainable, long-term employment for men and women with limited opportunities by connections to international markets. Their handbags are made with high quality, handwoven cotton fabrics, vegetable dyed & tanned leather as well as recycled materials when possible.
Krochet Kids intl.
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan made, vegan leather
Best For | Unique styles, knowing who made your product
Price Range | $65 - $125
Nonprofit social enterprise Krochet Kids intl. grew from the idea that a hobby as simple as crocheting could be used to change lives for the better. Started by Travis, Kohl, and Stewart back in 2008, this trio has empowered women in Uganda and Peru to get out of poverty through jobs, mentorship, and life skills training. Today, over 150 women have been a part of the movement for sustainable employment and opportunity, most of whom are featured individually on their website. Each of their pieces come signed by the woman who made it, and you can even go to their website to send a personalized thank you to them! What better way to get to know who made your product?
Future Glory Co
Ethics | American made, upcycled leather, empowerment of women
Best For | Minimalist style, monogramming
Price Range | $65 - $625
Future Glory Co was started by women, for women, in an effort to support women. Based out of San Francisco, they believe that business is a means for social change, and therefore donate to local organizations dedicated to rebuilding the lives of women. The Future Glory Co team also has an Apprenticeship program that trains women who’ve been through hardships, teaching them business basics and sewing production. They are proud contributors of the American-made movement, and purchase most raw materials domestically as well - plus, the leather they use is a by-product of the food industry with the remaining scraps donated to nonprofits and schools in the area. Their styles are perfect for an elegant night out, or for the chic fashionista who works in the business world.
Stone & Cloth
Ethics | American made
Best For | All-in-one bags, bags with ChargeVents for laptops
Price Range | $95 - $195
Stone & Cloth believes that all children have the right to an education; that’s why each of their well-crafted and durable bags provide at least 25 hours of classroom learning with every purchase. The team partners with the Knock Foundation that also provides scholarships to children in Tanzania, enabling youth to reach their full potential. Their bags range from large rucksacks to bucket bags, all of which come in 4 staple colors (black, English tan, chambray, and waxed canvas). Some even include a ChargeVent so you can safely charge your laptop while you’re on the go - you’ll be the most prepared person in your network.
Ethics | Sustainably and ethically made
Best For | Men’s selections
Price Range | $35 - $365
Everlane believes you should know your factories and your true price - so they provide 100% transparency with all of their products, including how much the product cost to make and exactly where they’re made. In addition to their staple products, they also have a “pay what you want” section where they donate proceeds to local nonprofits. There are dozens of styles for both men and women, and a price range suited to every consumer.
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan made
Best For | Leather styles, classic essentials
Price Range | $128 - $178
Nisolo hopes for a world where consumers know where their products were made and by whom - and they are changing the game. They provide international market access, fair trade wages, safe working conditions and more to their team around the world, who in turn create beautiful, timeless pieces that are longtime staples in your closet. Their line of women’s handmade leather totes are crafted in Peru, and are both stylish and sturdy. With handbags lined with artisanal Peruvian fabrics, you’re sure to stand out wherever you carry your bag.
Freedom Of Animals
Ethics | Animal-free, environmentally-friendly facilities, American made
Best For | Animal lovers, eco-friendly
Price Range | $100 - $260
You can probably guess that Freedom Of Animals’ bags are animal-free, but did you know that their products are proudly all made in the US? Based out of New York, the FOA team believes in using eco-friendly material, green facilities, and local production for all of their pieces, marrying together form, function, and style. Most of their goods are named after elephants cared for by the Sheldrick Foundation in Kenya, while a portion of their proceeds benefit the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. Their latest partnership is with Nikki Reed, actress and humanitarian, who has created a lovely line of clutches and satchels ideal for a night on the town. A new handbag never felt so good.
Alicia San Marcos
Ethics | Artisan made, fair trade, eco-friendly materials
Best For | Bold, colorful styles, free shipping on US orders
Price Range | $165 - $275
Alicia San Marcos aims to provide access to quality education for children in Guatemala - proceeds from each of their ethically-made accessories go towards buying school supplies for underserved communities. Each product is handcrafted and ethically made using longtime Mayan traditions by indigenous women in safe working conditions, and their sales have allowed them to donate over 32,000 pieces of supplies to Guatemalan orphanages and schools. Their take on classic handbags comes with bold colors, gorgeous recycled textiles, and plenty of space for whatever you need - think the Michael Kors Nylon bag, with a vibrant twist!
Ethics | Recycled and upcycled materials
Best For | Elegant styles, free shipping, monogramming
Price Range | $110 - $375
Cuyana lives by a simple mantra: “Fewer, better.” They believe that style is more important than fashion, and quality over quantity - and it shows in all of their gorgeously designed bags. Cuyana, which translates to “love” in Quechca, creates leather bags for the modern woman, with soft neutral colors and enough space for just what you need. They also believe in one of our favorite concepts: the lean closet. They provide a reusable bag with each order, which you can fill with clothes you no longer need that will then be donated and you’ll receive a $10 credit per donation. Let’s all look to be more intentional, sustainable, and live by “fewer, better”.
Raven & Lily
Ethics | Fair trade, organic materials, sustainable employment
Best For | Eco-friendly, minimalist designs
Price Range | $64 - $242
Raven & Lily is a certified B-Corporation passionate about empowering formerly marginalized women from around the globe. They provide fair-trade wages, sustainable employment, healthcare, and other benefits to help break the cycle of poverty, and create women’s handbag essentials in the process using organic cotton or locally-sourced leather. To date, they employ over 1,500 women and are committed to handcrafting the very best in products. Each of their products includes information about who made it, where, and what it can hold. Their designs crafted in the “slate” style are exquisite, and one of the most lovely colors we’ve seen in a long time.