Earlier in the year, as a newly-born vegetarian, there was a delayed reaction time before I realised I couldn't buy leather anymore. It'd be a bit hypocritical to wear dead animal skins but not eat them, surely?
Well, if truth be told, I still wear leather (gasp!). The catch is, that I already owned the few leather garments before changing my views on the meat (and hence leather, fur, and any other animal by-product that is secondary to the meat industry) - it'd seem rather wasteful to throw them away, and with the exception of my leather jacket, which I'm going to sell, my scuffed black boots and partially torn belt aren't going to be investments anyone else will want to make.
When it came down to buying myself a new handbag, however, vegan was definitely my preference. And here is how I ended up with the beautiful Orwell by Matt & Nat.
The company, based in Canada, stands for "Material & Natural", meaning their bags are 100% plant-based or made of recycled goods. They also share a lot of views close to my heart, as their motto, Live Beautifully, represents "appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.
The bag itself is wonderful. Light, yet tough like leather, with five integrated pockets (two of which have zips) that allow me to store my notepad, Kindle, beauty products and tote bag on top of my regular handbag items. The inner lining is made from recycled plastic bottles and is easy to clean, plus I really adore the style of it, like a sophisticated satchel bag. All in all, the bag cost £100 with free shipping, and after three months of daily use, it looks and feels as good as new.
My views on Matt & Nat are somewhat mixed; they're seemingly a small enterprise with some gorgeous, classic products and a great ethical outlook. However, they still use factories in China to make their goods (which, overlooking the low pay rate and conditions for factory workers, means a lot of shipping is involved in the production process) and their customer service wasn't great, as there was a month-long delay in shipping.
- Quality: High, although in relation to the price, is to be expected
- Materials: PU, PVC, recycled nylon, cork, rubber and plastic bottles
- Production: Factories in China
- Shipping: Global, with local outlet stores in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, UK and US
Overall, I'd definitely suggest going to Matt & Nat if you're interested in high-end vegan maroquinerie, but a consultation of your personal ethical compass is recommended!