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Lend a Helping Handbag: eco-friendly finds that fuse fashion with philanthropy

In the past, when you’ve thought about helping the environment, things like recycling, using rechargeable batteries, cutting back on your power and water usage, and carpooling or bicycling to reduce pollution probably leapt to mind. 

I doubt that carrying a chic, designer bag topped your list. 

But with all of the eco-minded designers popping up, using alternative materials to craft high-end, contemporary creations worthy of a runway romp, you can do your part to save the planet, and look stylish doing it.

Here is a list of the must-have sleek and sustainable haute couture handbags available for the eco-savvy shopper:

AGaiN NYC – 

As socially conscious as they are fashionable, these handbags and accessories are made from rescued or recycled materials.  In addition, a portion of the profits are donated to various environmental charities.

Becky City

This NYC-based company takes an avant-garde approach to reused materials, constructing one-of-a-kind bags out of old skateboards. Yes, skateboards. But you’d never guess that these creations once heel-flipped and ollied down city streets as designer, Beck Hickey, juxtaposes the materials with luxurious fabrics. The result is a unique find that will have you whirling as if you’re on wheels.


Owner and lead designer, Larry Olmstead, built entermodal on the philosophy that innovative design can be the force for positive and meaningful change.  Their diverse collection of form-meets-function fare results in premium products that are built to be sustainable, withstanding decades yet easily disassemble to repurpose for next generation creations.

Mad imports

Using fashion accessories from Madagascar and Kenya, this socially responsible handbag purveyor is committed to enabling families to gain economic independence and fostering environmental conservation. Each sale of their original clutches, totes and shoulder bags serves to forward those important initiatives, and they use only 100% renewable raw materials.


The most inventive of the bunch, this eco-trailblazer of trends makes hand-made purses out of candy wrappers, gum wrappers and soda bottle labels, factory rejects that Nahuiollin saves from being dumped into landfills that pollute the earth. Not only does their process sustain the  environment, it also yields creatively-fresh, durable products that are sure to grab attention.


But being an eco-fashionista doesn’t have to break the bank.  A quick search for ‘eco-friendly handbags’ at artisan craft sites like Etsy and This Next revealed a plethora of posh purses like these and these.  So, you can find your signature style derived from any number of environmentally-friendly materials — and on any budget.  Then, every time you sling your latest accessory over your shoulder, you can take pride in knowing that you looking good is helping the earth to feel good.  And what could be better than that?

Special thanks to Minjae Ormes, Fashion Consultant and Designer Handbag Conoisseur

Written by Gennefer Gross

Gennefer Gross is a food and style-obsessed television comedy writer in Los Angeles. She is currently co-founder of Blox Toppling Productions, an independent production company she runs with her husband and writing partner, David Gross. When she’s not covering the fashion beat, she can be found sharing mouthwatering morsels on her blog Tasty Beautiful or on a quest for the world's best burger.

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