Veganologie Makes Leather and Suede Handbags From Recycled Materials

vegan leather handbag with plastic in background

Veganologie, a Dubai-based accessories company, has released a range of vegan leather and faux suede handbags made entirely of recycled materials. Varieties of crossbody purses, wallets and cardholders, are available in various colors.

The handbags, wallets, and cardholders are constructed entirely of GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified recycled materials, including the PU leather and faux suede lining, created from plastic bottles.

Discarded plastic bottles are collected and cleaned, then broken into flakes and melted to create the materials. They are either pressed to produce PU leather or spun into polyester yarn and knitted into a suede-like fabric. Using recycled suede saves energy usage and CO2 emissions by 80% when compared to typical animal-derived suede manufacture, according to Veganologie.

Veganologie’s crossbody bags are made up of 11 recycled plastic bottles, four recycled plastic bottles for the wallets, and two recycled plastic bottles for the cardholders. Even the hardware is made of zinc alloy, which is 100% recyclable. Each dust bag is constructed from ten recycled plastic bottles. Furthermore, the complete packaging of the company is 100 percent recycled and totally recyclable.

Sustainable Vegan Leather

Angana Maheshwari, the founder and CEO of Veganologie, has long been concerned about disposable clothes ending up in landfills, as well as the environmental issues and harsh practices of the leather industry, so she decided to start her own line.

“Veganologie was born during the pandemic lockdowns. Like everyone, I had a lot of time on my hands and started researching sustainable fashion online—specifically handbags… It occurred to me that I wasn’t alone in wanting a cruelty-free but chic bag, which is when the entrepreneur in me took over. After many months of research, and putting together a business model, I met Sara Basar, who then joined me as Veganologie’s Executive Director and Designer. When she brought to life the designs that were in my head, we were off,” said Maheshwari.

Maheshwari was concerned that the handbags be well-crafted, useful, and affordable, as well as being created entirely of recycled and vegan materials. “Critical to me was that the bags be both practical and affordable, with everything priced under $175 USD… Plus, we offer free international shipping, so while we are based in Dubai, anyone anywhere in the world can be a part of the Veganologie story,” stated Maheshwari.

Currently, the new brand is only available on the Veganologie website, with free global delivery, but Maheshwari is thinking about putting the handbags in a few chosen retailers to help promote the business.

Sustainable Fashion

As customers become more eco-conscious, firms have been exploring for ways to incorporate sustainable materials and processes in recent years. Matt + Nat, a long-running vegan handbag company, has strived to be cruelty-free and environmentally conscious since 1995.

Though the company has always used handbag linings made from recycled plastic bottles, in 2020 it launched a collection made entirely of PVB made from 100 percent recycled windshield glass resin to transition away from PVC—which is environmentally harmful because its production releases toxic, chlorine-based chemicals—and instead use PVB made from 100 percent recycled windshield glass resin. Matt + Nat’s Women’s Dwell line was entirely migrated to PVB in 2021, and the brand just introduced their Studio 901 Apple Skin collection, which is produced from waste reclaimed from the apple juice industry.

Handbags produced from new vegan leathers derived from mushrooms, pineapple, and cactus are also being used by other manufacturers. Last year, fashion label Fossil debuted Kier Cactus Leather Totes, a range of handbags manufactured from the award-winning Desserto, a vegan leather created from nopal (prickly pear cactus) leaves by Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez.

In 2021, Hermès teamed up with biomaterials firm MycoWorks to create a new version of their Victoria handbag made from Sylvania, a mushroom-based vegan leather. In 2020, Arsayo, a French vegan business, will debut its new Exotic Cork Skin range of backpacks made from oak tree bark.




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