If you're familiar with vegan fashion, you know Matt and Nat. They make beautiful vegan bags of excellent quality, created with fashion, compassion, and the environment in mind. From their website:
Matt & Nat products have never used animal by-products. That said, the brand is more than just vegan. It has always been a trailblazer in the environmental movement. Each product contains at least one recycled element and on average 21 plastic bottles are recycled to make linings for our bags. Matt & Nat has always been a pioneer in eco-fashion.
Now, I don't pretend that these are the MOST eco-friendly bags. Those are probably made out of hemp or raffia or something. But these bags are freaking gorgeous. Just like Olsen Haus are my absolute favorite vegan shoes, Matt & Nat are my favorite vegan bags.
I bought a Matt and Nat Samsara bag on sale almost two years ago and I'm so in love with it.
Isn't it gorgeous? If it looks familiar, it's because it was on the floor when I was trying on shoes at Buffalo Exchange a couple weeks ago.
I've carried this bag a TON since buying it and I'll admit, I'm not one of those people who takes super great care of my bags. It does go on the floor and gets crammed with stuff. But it's so well-made, it isn't showing its age at all. The stitching is strong, the faux leather doesn't flake or fade at all. The hardware is solid and hasn't tarnished. I love that there's a strong zipper as well as a magnetic snap that hold it closed. And it has feet to stand up straight.
Yes, it's a little bit dirty. My fault. I'm totally going to clean it now... which I should have done before taking the pictures, but oh well. I'll admit, I've never cleaned it.
The faux leather is incredible. I know some vegans don't like the idea of faux leather, and don't think we should be propagating the idea that leather is attractive. I totally get that. But... I don't really feel the need. I'm not going to pretend that leather looks bad, because it doesn't. It looks great. It's just horribly cruel. (If you aren't convinced of this, do a little research or listen to the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast episode on leather. It's not an "innocent byproduct." In fact, many cows and horses are slaughtered just for their skin and are usually emaciated because they aren't being used for their flesh.) But anyway, back to the texture. Matt and Nat has totally spoiled me and now plastic-y faux leather drives me crazy. I know it can be done well!
Whenever I'm carrying this bag and somebody makes a comment either about it or about veganism, I tell them that this bag isn't real leather and it blows their minds. Kabloom.
I took a couple pictures in the sunshine so you could see the color.
Yes, that's my hand shadow in the corner. I am not an excellent photographer.
I think I got this bag for about $80. So no, it isn't cheap. But I would also say that's a pretty excellent deal for such a well-made bag that will last for years.
Here are some others I saw on the Matt and Nat website that I like:
The Pharaoh. Normally $285, now on sale for $142.50. I saw it in red for $114 on Amazon.
Laroux, normally $185, on sale for $92.50. 100% recycled pink faux suede interior.
It's pretty obvious I have an affinity for studs and shiny things, isn't it?
The Vania satchel. $165 with free shipping on Amazon. Comes in orange (shown), green, cream, and black.
I could keep going for a long time. Plus, Matt and Nat recently started making belts, as well. Maybe they'll try their hand at shoes someday...
If you look at sample sale sites, keep an eye out - I've seen Matt and Nat on sale several times. I'm pretty sure that's where I bought mine, but I don't remember because it was so long ago. There are also lots on Amazon and on eBay, where you can find ones way below list price. Even though I seriously love Matt & Nat, I would never pay list price. There are just too many places where you can get them on sale.
OK, I'll stop now. I might have to re-visit this brand on a future Fashion Friday, though. I'm too in love.
I have some exciting news - soon I'll be a contributor on Chic Vegan! I'm working on my first article now and I'll let you know once it's up. But I love Chic Vegan anyway, so you should check it out just because it's a great site.
I have an audition tomorrow, and that's about it for weekend plans. I've been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing and it feels great. What a weirdo I am.
What do you think of the Matt & Nat bags? Do you like them? What kind of bags do you like? I'm kind of picky - and I require that they can be worn over the shoulder. I'm not into impractical bags and I hate clutches. I'm all about hands-free.