Vegan alternatives to leather used to mean cheap virgin plastic, but new technologies have developed new materials that can be used to create stylish, functional accessories that are also built to last.
Many brands claim their products originate from recycled materials, particularly from recycled plastic bottles. Unfortunately these are not always the altruistic materials they appear to be. A 2020 article by the Guardian found that some companies were so desperate to label their coats ‘recycled’ they were buying plastic bottles that had never been used, and recycling them themselves in order to be able to claim their products had been recycled. Luckily, there are many far more reputable brands that are taking the circular economy far more seriously.
Our newest handbag and accessories brand HVISK use certified recycled polyester which originates from food packaging and plastic bottles and recycled polyamide which comes from ghost fishing nets that have been pulled out of the sea. They blend these materials to create beautiful handbags and accessories, with a focus on making quality products that will last for years.
We're also proud to stock Lefrik's urban backpacks and travel essentials made from recycled PET bottles.
Post Petroleum Materials
Unlike recycled polyester, Post Petroleum materials have been developed with no petroleum. Instead of oil based materials a number of other materials are used. The foam heel and upper of trainers has traditional been made from petroleum-based products including polyester, but it can now be replaced by Pebax RNew, a new material sourced from Ricinus Oil. Ricinus Oil, also known as Castor Oil is most commonly used as a laxative! The oil’s structure is manipulated into polymers which create a soft foam-like material enabling the production of the heel of trainers. This new material has enabled the production of the first non-petroleum running trainer.
Since 2018 trainer brand Veja have been developing petroleum-free vegan trainers with 100% recycled polyester uppers, heel support and logo made from Pebax RNew, the midsole is made of sugarcane and the sole is a combination of synthetic bio based latex and Amazonian rubber sourced from Veja’s own sustainably managed plantations.
It's still harder to buy ethically produced and vegan accessories, but there are some amazing new products out there, and new ones in the pipeline.