A Guide to Alternative Leather

If you've browsed our offering or walked through our store, you'll notice we completely avoid using animal leather. 

There's a myriad of reasons for this, from a design standpoint to a more general value alignment. Here, we set out our take on alternative leather, the idea of 'vegan' materials and how the way we speak about fashion matters.



All of our handbags are created from recycled polyurethane, most using post-consumer plastics that have been repurposed into textiles. We typically refer to those materials as ‘alternative leathers’, rather than ‘vegan’. 

We’ve also recently introduced Apple and Corn Leather to our index, with the goal of reducing how much polyurethane we use overall. This came after much trial and error to ensure both textiles were feasible alternatives and would last with constant use.

Apple Leather is made using leftover pomace and peel from the fruit juice industry, which is reduced to a dry powder and mixed with polyurethane to give it a waterproof finish. It’s then poured onto a canvas, giving it the integrity and flexibility we need from our everyday handbags.

Corn Leather takes on a different process, which uses non-food grade corn husks - that is, waste that doesn’t compete with human or animal food chains. The husks are fermented to extract dextrose, which is then combined with PU and coated with the same to enhance its water resistance and durability.

Bio-based textiles are becoming more readily available, which makes it easier to source fabrics or understand how it compares to straight PU or animal hide. There’s a lot of room to innovate when it comes to alternative leathers, and to trial and contribute to that evolution is really exciting.





Our materials index is the most changing aspect of our brand. We launch two seasonal collections annually, which gives us two opportunities to explore new textiles and limit our footprint as much as possible.

When we first started in 2016, we were looking for an alternative to genuine leather, which led us to alternative leather. Since then, we’ve refined our offering further and now exclusively use recycled materials. Even where animal hide is sourced as an by product of the meat industry, these aren’t spaces we want to support when there are alternatives that divert waste from landfill. 

For all collections, we only source textiles that are created using plastic waste and recycled organic cotton for the lining. We didn’t always do this, as over time we’ve learned more about the harrowing impact of fashion as both a necessity and artform. The past eight years of business have been monumental for sustainable fashion, with new revelations and data and information coming to light daily. Curiosity and adaptability will ultimately serve us in the long run.

Now, we are exploring any kind of alternative to polyurethane, while also looking at other options to keep plastic waste in circulation on a broader scale. Not all alternative leathers are created equal, but we’ll continue to reduce our footprint where we can.




The most obvious benefit of using alternative leather is that it doesn’t involve direct animal cruelty, which is important to us. 

Longevity is also something that’s often overlooked in the sustainability conversation. Mindful creation and consumption revolve around keeping any fashion items we own in use for as long as reasonably possible, so we want to create handbags that won’t wither away after a few casual wears. From both personal and professional experience, we know handbags are some of the most exhausted items in our wardrobes and they need to be able to withstand the elements. 

The textiles we choose frequently have more give, durability and water resistance than genuine leather. They’re less permeable and easier to clean, making them a go-to for even the busiest wearers.

From a visual standpoint, there’s also much more variety and we can create handbags that celebrate expression and style. While most of our offering is created according to a grayscale definition of versatility, a portion of our community uses the same handbag to elevate an outfit or add more personality to their daily uniform. We love having room to experiment with shape, texture and colour, and the feedback we receive reinforces that value.

Language is also something that we can use in a more productive way, and we're conscious of referring to any kind of fashion as ‘vegan’. The term implies a standard of conscience that most brands don’t meet, given the eyewatering impact of clothing production and marketing on both people and the planet. While the fabrics we use are vegan in the sense that they don’t directly use animal products, it has become a useful way for brands to label something as cruelty-free when that’s not the case. That said, it’s still useful for SEO while we have well-intentioned customers looking for handbags that aren’t made from animal hide. 

Since opening our first store, we've had more direct conversations with our customers which is invaluable to us. We field plenty of questions about our choice to avoid genuine leather, and have noticed various misconceptions about the comparison on both sides. For some customers, genuine leather is preferred due to its status and purity. For other customers, particular the younger demographics, anything derived from plastic is an immediate no-go.

Vegan leather or alternative leather isn’t a perfect solution, and there are other considerations we have to make as a brand. For as long as we have a space in fashion, we want to communicate the upsides and downsides and arm our community (that's you!) with as much information as possible to make decisions that align with their values.