The Mystical Creature We'll Call Eco Vegan Handbags
The Quest For A New Ultimate Carry-all That Resembles My Fave Bag From The Spring Runways, But Not Resembling In A Counterfeit Sort Of Way, And Also Only Costs $100...Make it $50
Long story short...........I didn't find crap! Excuse my German. But really, how frustrating that I find myself to be the ultimate sale shopper, bargain bin digger, designer hunter, et al, and during mega post-winter season sales, I came home after a soothing (yes, I said soothing because shopping is a massage for me) day of shopping sprees galore empty-handed, as in no new fabulous handbag to call my own. I do indeed blame this on the fact that chain stores change their merchandise like once every lunar eclipse. Okay that's not true, maybe being unemployed, or self-employed rather (*cough* they run along the same lines no?) has had a traumatic affect on my ability to shop. You know, because I hear you need money to actually take the items out of the stores, otherwise it is know as shoplifting or something like that. Which I find laughable because Ms. Shoplift Universe was on the cover of Vogue's August cover all swathed in Vera Wang and Vuitton right after her huge scandal (I see you Winona Ryder). So maybe Anna Wintour is sending us all a message, those who steal shall be rewarded with a complimentary career booster. You heard it here first! I tease, I tease.
But truly, the real issue is not a lack of funds or high prices, its just a lack of choices period. Luckily I've noticed DSW surprisingly carrying a great selection of vegan accessory brands which I would never expect, but big box department stores that we all rely on in our local shop zones are still despicable with their racks upon racks of petroleum-laden "designer" luxury goods. Why spend your entire bonus check on something that says Italian leather (aka fancy, painted, dead animal skins), but made in China, then shipped thousands of miles on our tax dollar to the US, then raised a retail markup of 300% to then be found in your closet emitting VOCs up the yoohoo. And did I mention a child probably produced that bag? Not very ethical.
Enter the world of online shopping. Until chain stores make ethically produced cruelty-free accessories more wildly available, we'll have to settle for using only one of our senses to find that new IT BAG, instead of touch, smell, and the oohhh ahhhs that follow. The only issue is that even this can mean your research cap needs to be put on. Let's say you come across a gorgeous faux leather, which simply means its vegan because no animals were slayed to make the synthetic materials. Although polyurethane faux leathers were developed as greener, more eco-friendly alternatives to extremely toxic, dioxin-releasing PVC (vinyl) and the chemical-laden production of leathers, not all faux leathers are innocent. The polymer resins that are used to treat it can either be biodegradable or not. And there is no way to tell how much solvents were used in production as well, or if there are even recycling methods put into play that will reuse the same solvents over and over. As blinded shoppers, we can only ride our high horse so high, taking assurance in the fact that at the least, faux leather doesn't require nearly as much energy or chemicals as animal leathers or vinyl. And that's a good place to start.
Since shopping in person was a total bust, even on the thrifty vintage store front, I was happy to randomly discover the ethical handbag brand Deux Leux and their fabulous coral and turquoise raffia meets faux leather bag available at Nordstrom for a very reasonable $110. They also kill it on the snakeskin meets neon trend!