Want to be sustainable and stylish - here's how

Want to be sustainable and stylish - here's how

A statement or designer handbag can convey a sense of confidence when we're out and about. But how can you decide on a statement that expresses the essence of you? Is it one that says “she’s so stylish and cool”, or one that says “she’s out to save the world”? My guess is that you want to be known for both. In that case, you can have it all by choosing a luxurious and well-designed bag that is sustainably made.

First up, let’s define sustainability

Following a sustainable lifestyle is about meeting your own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. When our activities use up too much of the earth’s resources, or exploit people, we are putting future generations at risk. Unfortunately, the fashion industry has a poor record on sustainability, and the fashion ecosystem won't change overnight, but we can make fashion choices that reduce our individual impact.

Handmade is sustainable

One way to embrace sustainability is to look for goods that are made by hand, which means that they are unique and special. And the ultimate handmade item is one that is made for you something that is one-of-a-kind. Imagine how amazing you will feel when you carry a shoulder bag, backpack, or handbag that has been designed and crafted just for you. Not only will it be uniquely yours, but it will be made with minimal waste and without environmental damage that comes from over-production.

One of a Kind example by Fabu Couture

Fabu Couture is an Australian business that makes purses and handbags to order. Jodie, the proprietor, is keen to use her expertise and passion to help you express your personality in a trendy and high quality handbag or backpack.

When you buy a handbag or wallet that is made by hand, you are supporting artisans and craftspeople who have honed their skills through practice. They put care, attention, and love into each item, and you can be sure these items are ethically produced.

Natural is Sustinable

Alternatively, lighten your load on the environment by choosing materials that are made from natural (i.e. not plastic) sources. Eco-conscious fashion innovators now offer us beautiful materials that are environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, and have a unique look and feel. For your next statement piece, consider cork, washable paper, or leaf leather. Yes, you read that right, leaf leather is a sustainable material made from the fallen leaves of teak trees.

Karuna Dawn, an Australian brand founded on compassion and a desire to help disadvantaged or vulnerable people, has a fabulous range of handbags made from leaf leather.

Handbags made from leaf leather

You will always be stylish with one of their styles (handbag, messenger bag, shoulder bag), and you'll carry it with pride knowing that the durable, water-resistant material has been made in a traditional manner, and the people who designed and made your bag have been paid properly for their efforts. This is what sustainability is all about consciously avoiding harm to the earth while putting people in a position where they can improve their own lives and those of their children.

Perhaps you're looking for a gift and you’d rather try something less daunting as your first foray into these alternative materials. In that case, consider a mini purse made from cork, a wallet crafted from washable paper, or a cardholder, again made from leaf leather.

Whichever you choose, you’ll see that these products are designed for purpose and impeccably made. And they look so wonderful you’ll want to keep them for years. By contrast, mass-produced bags and wallets that are not designed to last contribute to an ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal that puts our sustainability goals at risk.

Repurposed is Sustainable

Other popular sustainable materials are organic cotton, hemp, and linen. These materials are produced without the use of harmful chemicals, making them better for the environment and the people who work with them. We can take it even further with these fabrics and some less traditional ones through recycling or repurposing, which means the textiles are used more than once instead of being discarded.

O Gosh sells tote bags crafted from boat sails that have reached the end of their lives. Made in Tasmania where there is a thriving yachting culture, these bags are the perfect Australian tote bag and can be used at the beach, at the market, or for a weekend away.

Tote bag made from repurposed material

So there you have it. If you aim to be stylish and carry a fabulous bag, you can do this without compromising your efforts to embrace a sustainable lifestyle.

When you decide to purchase, take your time, consider the materials, give preference to your personal style, and choose items that you will treasure.


Use these links to browse sustainable and stylish handbags, wallets, and purses.

Fabu Couture handmade, one of a kind

Karuna Dawn sustainable handbags from an ethical enterprise

O Gosh for sustainable products made in Australia

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