I realize I don’t talk about fashion that frequently, but the truth is I’m a closeted wannabe-fashionista. Though I try to keep my wardrobe limited to second hand stores (which is also my biggest hobby — thrifting), I also like to support vegan companies whenever my wallet allows.
So you can imagine how elated I was to hear from the lovely folks at Handbag Heaven, an online vegan handbag store, after they read the Why? section of our website that specifically pertains to clothing (fur, leather, and wool). When they gave me the skinny on Handbag Heaven, my immediate reaction was HOW THE HECK DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS ALREADY?! All of their bags are extremely affordably-priced (everything is between $10 and $85) and most importantly, free of animal products. They’ve also managed to penetrate some major mainstream magazines, including being featured in People Style Watch, O! Magazine, Everday with Rachel Ray, Redbook, and Woman’s World.
In the interest of supporting vegan companies, let me share my handbag insight with you, since Handbag Heaven might be just what you’re looking for — even if you didn’t realize you were looking. On your next handbag shopping spree, you could go the “patent leatherette” route (like my winter bag of choice), or, for those of you who are into more natural fibers, Handbag Heaven offers bags in hemp as well as cotton. The bag that I was lucky enough to receive from Handbag Heaven is the Echo Messenger Bag in orange/red (pictured to the left), and according to the tag, it was “handmade by village women” in Nepal. As soon as I got this fantastic present, I immediately switched over my more wintery fake leather bag for this more summery, bright one. I love it. It’s light, has a pocket on the inside and — my favorite functional feature — a zipper to close it. Most messenger bags like this tend to be wide open, with just a flimsy flap to keep the thieves away. This one is much smarter than that, and even though it’s fun and funky, it’s not so over-the-top that my early-30’s self is mistaken, once again, for a college student.
There’s so many other cute ones, too. There’s clutches (like the Caroline Lace Clutch pictured on the right) and evening bags, shoulder bags and satchels, totes, oversized handbags (which is ideal if you want to ditch that backpack for something more stylish), and even a nice wallet selection.
When I questioned the wonderful marketing guru, Danielle, over at Handbag Heaven, regarding the vegan-ness of their products, here was her response:
“Our products fall into three categories. The first is those that are vegan and come with certification detailing that fact at purchase. All of our Urban Expression handbags fall into this category. The second category are our cotton/hemp handbags, which are also vegan but do not come with certification… The third category are bags that are made with animal friendly materials, but which contain a small amount of glue. We’ve contacted our suppliers to confirm that this glue is vegan, and while they believe that it is, we cannot confirm it with certainty. For that reason, we classify those bags as vegetarian friendly. Our tech department is currently working on separating our handbags into the above categories in our navigation menu so that our visitors can easily find what they are looking for and be reassured that they are getting a product that is line with their personal beliefs. We hope to have it in place shortly.”
Sounds groovy to me, Handbag Heaven! I’m a big fan of the efforts they are going to to ensure that the products are vegan, and I also appreciate the navigation menu that will make this process easy-peasy.
And now, you too can have your own bag from Handbag Heaven! Since we are such big fans of for-profit activism (companies that offer products that reflect vegan values), we would love to hear from you about some of your favorite for-profit vegan companies, and what, specifically, you like about them. It can be that you love Food Fight Grocery because they are unabashedly hardcore animal rights activists. It can be that you just adore MooShoes because you got your favorite stiletto or winter boots there, and every time you visit their store you are inspired — both fashion-wise and activism-wise. Or perhaps your favorite for-profit vegan company is a food establishment, or maybe even something else entirely. There are so many amazing companies that cater to cruelty-free living. What are yours, and why? Tell us in the comment section below!
In one week, on Friday, July 22 at midnight EST, we will use a random number generator to pick the winner, and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Handbag Heaven. The winner will be notified the following week. Only one entry per person. We look forward to hearing about your faves!