When I shop for footwear I’m usually hunting for leather styles due to durability and luxurious way it softens and breaks in. I’m definitely a second-hand shopper these days to keep things even more sustainable (both for the planet and my wallet), and it’s not too difficult to find the things I need with a little hunting. However, I understand the needs and different lifestyles of others, and I am always interested in finding stylish and durable alternatives to anything that involve animal products. It can be tough with vegan leather since there is so much out there that falls apart easily and also ventures into the not-so-sustainable route with the use of plastics. Two of the vegan leather brands that I always trust are BLANKNYC and Matt & Nat. I have several pieces from both, but for this post I’m focusing on the latter, from which I own a wallet as well as a clutch which I use all the time and it’s held up for many many years. I believe this brand is best known by their eco-friendly vegan handbags, but I wanted to share some of their vegan footwear with my readers as well!
One thing I notice when out doing my usual sustainable shopping online and perusing topics to share here on my blog is the lack of any kind of guide integrated within your usual shopping sites to find those brands. There are so many these days who have taken the initiative to clean up their act when it comes to their manufacturing processes, and most major retailers online do carry their goods. However, it still takes a bit of research to find them if you’re a shopper with a conscience, and I know as well as you do that many of us just don’t have that kind of time. Sustainable shopping can be extremely time consuming! This is why I’m stoked to see that one household name retailer has taken action. Last month, Zappos introduced their Goods for Good initiative for those seeking to shop brands that care for the environment or give back in some way, and I’m really hoping other brands follow suit real soon, as more and more shoppers have become more aware of sustainable shopping (hear that, Revolve and Shopbop?)!
When it comes to handbags and footwear, usually I go for leather. This is mostly for the durability factor, but also because it also ages so beautifully, and it is a byproduct that otherwise would be discarded. Also, I buy most of my stuff secondhand nowadays, so since I understand the problem of the meat industry being so terrible for our environment, this helps me feel a bit better. However, I’ve noticed the animal friendly, vegan community really making incredible strides in their manufacturing practices, with vegan leather being just about as strong, if not as strong, as the real thing. Matt & Nat has been an amazing vegan handbag brand on my radar for quite some time now, and I’ve carried a few of their products for awhile and they’ve held up quite well!
I’ve had a lot of favorite online shopping destinations throughout the years, but lately I’ve made a conscious effort to shop primarily through independent Etsy artists or sustainable brands I discover through my digging around for quality posts to share with all of you. I don’t really frequent many of the popular powerhouses, like Tobi, ASOS, H&M or Zara (I definitely stay away from fast fashion). However, it’s been nice to hear lately that H&M has actually been working towards more sustainable practices, and Zara released a sustainable collection last year. Just recently, while researching the next cool item to write about, I realized that all this time, ASOS has had their own eco-friendly collection as well, along with a fair-trade line. How on earth did I miss this?
Vegan Handbags and Footwear from Matt & Nat
I honestly kneel down to anyone who has perfected the vegan lifestyle…I am not sure I’d be able to do it. It’s tough enough to just avoid cheese, bread and meat (which I do as often as I can as an almost-vegetarian and slightly lactose/wheat intolerant) wherever I go. Applying this lifestyle to other consumables and products across the home and wardrobe, I have a ton of respect for. It’s kind of an awkward topic; it’s not like I’m trying to be vegan, but I do like to support vegan products as often as I can. I do like a supple leather handbag or shoes, usually because they tend to last longer. Over the years though, some brands like BLANKNYC, MeDusa and Matt & Nat have relaxed that belief of mine with their super high quality, attractive vegan leather products. I own a few products from each, and they all have held up just as well as my real leather pieces (and of course, leaves me feeling just a bit more animal friendly). Fauxgerty and Angela Roi are two others on my radar that I hope to try out soon! I absolutely love watching this market expand.