top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichelle Johnson

Handbag Companies That Use Ethically Sourced Leather

When I started on this journey of cruelty-free living more than a year ago, I didn’t realize how much I would miss leather handbags and goods. I started on my journey focused solely on cruelty free beauty and household products but that soon cascaded into reevaluating the contents of my closet and boy did that pose an ethical dilemma!

I have always been a handbag hound. Ask any of my family and friends and they will tell you I change handbags like most people change underwear. I love styling handbags with different outfits or changing it up depending on what I’m doing. For example, a quick trip to pick up my daughter from school or to Walmart doesn’t require a huge tote bag, a wallet on chain or wristlet will do. A doctor’s appointment is a different story. I like to have lots of things to keep me occupied during the endless wait to be seen. That’s the perfect occasion to use a tote bag. 

So, getting back to the topic. I have lots of handbags in my closet — leather, vegan leather, canvas, cloth, nylon — you name it, I probably have it. Honestly, I never need to buy another handbag and “shop my closet” these days. In fact, I probably have enough to open my own store. 

As I mentioned some of these bags are leather which got me agonizing over the animals who lost their lives so I could hang that beautiful purse on my arm. So, I started doing some research and I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t pretty. Some cows are raised for the sole purpose of being slaughtered for the fashion industry. Others are raised for the food and dairy industries. Some of the leftover scraps are used to make shoes, bags, and other leather goods. And the dairy cows are often slaughtered for fashion after they are no longer able to be bred and are literally milked dry. It was at this point I swore off buying leather and started looking into alternatives, like vegan leather.

But recently, I started researching companies who use ethically-sourced leather. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it is a “thing”. In the simplest terms, it’s leather that comes from the hides of animals who die from natural causes, mostly old age. The animals are first and foremost farm animals that are treated humanely by farmers who love them like pets. 

This information sent me on a quest to find companies who only use ethically-sourced leather for their goods. And I was surprised several companies follow this humane practice. Not only that, but these companies also operate with ethical labor standards. This means absolutely no sweatshops or child labor, and the artisans are paid a fair wage for their work. 

This revelation made my conflicted heart so happy! I can buy leather and support the cruelty-free movement. I just must be selective and do my research before making a purchase.

Guess what? Since I’ve already done the research, you don’t have to. I am so happy to unveil these companies to you right here on this blog. Check out my Ethical Fashion Brands page in my Ethical Brand Directory for a complete list of ethical companies that make both vegan and ethicially-sourced cow leather bags. I will continue to update as I learn of more companies jumping on the kindness train. I hope that more and more companies will realize there's a way to satisfy leather aficionados without sacrificing their principles.

While I still enjoy a well-made vegan handbag with possible plans to purchase in the future, I am thrilled that I can have the best of both worlds. A conscience and beautiful leather goods. 


Want to know when I post? Then, head over HERE to follow me by email. It takes under 5 seconds to sign up, and you will get all of my blog posts sent directly to your email inbox!

56 views1 comment

1 Comment

Ruby Anderson Henley
Mar 30

Interesting topic. I don’t have many genuine leather purses, so I had never thought about the source of the material. It’s heartening to know there are manufactures who take are ethically responsible. I like the idea of no child labor & fair wages.

Cruelty-Free Blog
Cruelty-Free Crew
bottom of page