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, upcycled, vegan and artisan made bags from companies dedicated to both social and environmental good. From travel to work, or a night out, these 15 brands make it easier to fill your closet with ethical, high quality staples for every occasion.
Thank you our collaborating sponsor, The Skipping Stone!
1. Matt & Nat
Ethics | Vegan, uses recycled materials, fair trade
Best For | Wide selection of handbags (satchels, diaper bags, yoga bags, crossbodies)
Price Range | $85–$175
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, with a wide variety of colors, the opportunities are endless.
Ethics | Sustainably & ethically made, transparent supply & labor chain
Best For | Weekenders & travel bags
Price Range | $35–$330
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 | $78–$268
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.
4. HFS Collective
Ethics | USA made, recycled & low impact materials, 2% give back
Best For | Belt bags & crossbodies
Price Range | $35–$225
HFS Collective's belt bags are unique, versatile and incredibly useful for the woman-on-the-go. You can wear the chic bags in a "fanny pack" style around your waist, or convert them into a crossbody depending on your mood. HFS Collective's bags are manufactured from recycled, low-impact and deadstock materials in Los Angeles, California where workers are paid a living wage. Their vegan leather Piñatex bags are especially fantastic—they're made from a new leather alternative made from pineapples. Plus, 2% of the sale price of each bag is donated to organizations that empower women and protect the planet.
Ethics | Recycled and upcycled materials
Best For | Elegant styles, free shipping, monogramming
Price Range | $115–$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”.
6. Raven & Lily
Ethics | Fair trade, organic materials, sustainable employment
Best For | Eco-friendly, minimalist designs
Price Range | $168–$364
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.
Ethics | Ethically made in China and USA, nylon recycling program, waste-reduction practices
Best For | Long-lasting reusable market totes
Price Range | $8–$300
The original Baggu bag probably looks familiar: designed based on the standard plastic grocery bag, Baggu’s intention is to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics and opt for reusable every time. We love their thoughtful attention to the materials they use (read more here) and how the bags are produced: the bags are cut from a continuous piece of fabric, and they use the waste material to make handy carrying pouches. Baggu’s Chinese factories are audited yearly by an independent third party, ensuring safe and fair working conditions.
8. GUNAS New York
Ethics | Vegan, cruelty-free, ethical manufacturing, uses upcycled materials when possible
Best For | Bright, feminine handbags
Price Range | $120–$275
GUNAS has been creating high fashion cruelty-free, vegan handbags since 2009 with a mission of being the voice of animals in the fashion industry. They also manufacture globally in ethically-run factories that are visited and checked in-person by a member of the GUNAS team. You won’t find any PVC in their stylish bags, either: they strive to use upcycled, recycled, and vintage materials when they can, and are constantly experimenting with new materials to find what’s best. They offer a range of functional, versatile, and 100% adorable bags that are a perfect investment for everyday use.
9. The Little Market
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan-made, empowers women
Best For | Fair trade beach bags
Price Range | $40–$320
The Little Market is our go-to shop for gifts and fair trade home goods, and their bags are crafted with the same ethics and intentions as everything else they offer. The Little Market is an independent nonprofit member of the Fair Trade Federation, whose goal is to make the international marketplace available to more fairly-paid artisans around the world. Many of the women artisans they work with are able to work from home, providing a meaningful income for families while offering flexibility to working mothers. Their beach bags are perfect for summer days, and their overnighters are perfect for an adventurous weekend away.
10. Tribe Alive
Ethics | Fair trade, artisan made
Best For | Weekender bags
Price Range | $158–$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.
11. The Skipping Stone
Ethics | Artisan made
Best For | Leather lifestyle bags
Price Range | $45–$150
The Skipping Stone’s vision is to give back to local communities by employing artisans to make lifestyle goods and additionally donating proceeds to partnered non-profits that give back to women and children in vulnerable areas like Aatma Vikas. We love their new "Make A Ripple" bags, depicting a ripple or stone being cast. The Skipping Stone's name and mission is inspired by Mother’s Teresa’s words: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
12. Melie Bianco
Ethics | Vegan, fair wages, safe & healthy work environment, profit sharing
Best For | Affordable vegan bags
Price Range | $40–$80
Featured by fashion magazines and TV shows, Melie Bianco’s bags are making a big splash—and for good reason. Their affordable luxury vegan leather handbags are created with love in a cruelty-free environment using fair trade principles. Malie Bianco’s PVC-free bags are made in China by workers who get fair pay, breaks, age requirements, equal opportunities, free lunches, paid vacations and also operate under a profit sharing model so that their employees share in their success.
Ethics | Artisan-made, gives back, uses natural materials
Best For | Woven bags
Price Range | $65–220
All of our dreams about woven bags for summer are coming true: Bembien’s artisan-made bags are an instant classic wardrobe staple. Their intricate, stunning bags are handmade from natural materials by talented artisans from around the world. 10% of Bembien’s proceeds go to Nest, a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of artisans around the world through supply chain transparency, sustainable business development, and widespread industry advocacy.
14. Future Glory Co
Ethics | Made in USA, upcycled leather, empowerment of women
Best For | Minimalist style, monogramming
Price Range | $65–$675
Future Glory Co is a by women, for women, brand. 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.
15. Parker Clay
Ethics | Artisan made, empowerment of women
Best For | Premium leather
Price Range | $88–$498
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. 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.