Go Karma-Free With Faux Leather Handbags

By Shawna Trujillo

You may have experienced the problem that your beautiful handbag made of fabric just doesn't last with everything you carry in it. After all, you not only need to carry your wallet, phone and keys with you, but also other things like lipstick, tampons or even a clean pair of underwear just in case. Getting a bag made of hide can be a solution, since it is strong and lasts much longer. However, this can be problematic if you're an animal lover or out of pocket. This is why faux leather handbags are a great solution.

In the past, no fashionista worth her salt would be caught dead with a bag made of faux leather. It looked cheap and artificial, after all. These days, however, it is much easier to get away with fake, not only because it is easier to justify ethically and economically, but also because manufacturers are producing more realistic looking and feeling materials.

As more people are opting for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, the demand for leather alternatives is growing as well. In addition, some types of hide, especially snakeskin, are harvested in a very inhumane way. Growing consumer awareness of where the products they buy actually come from has also made it more socially acceptable to sport artificial hide instead of the real thing.

Consumers don't only think with their conscience, however. They also think with their pocket. This is why many consumers opt for synthetic products. These cost less to manufacture and cleaning and caring for them are usually much cheaper too.

Artificial hide can be made of a variety of materials, usually plastic based. Polyurethane, PVC and acrylic are particularly popular choices. Some manufacturers also use a natural fiber, for instance cotton, and then cover it with a layer of PVC or a similar synthetic.

Synthetic materials can be bad for the environment, however. Since most of them are plastic based, they depend on the petrochemical industry, which has an enormously negative environmental impact. In addition, they break down over a very long time period compared to the time it takes natural materials to degrade.

However, whereas real animal hides degrade over time, artificial ones last much longer. They are easy to recycle too. Furthermore, an increasing number of these products are being made from recycled materials in the first place. That plastic cup that you had your yogurt from yesterday just might be part of tomorrow's baguette bag instead of ending up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

There are more environmentally friendly materials that are karma-free yet have the appearance and texture of real hide. Cork is used to make a product called cork leather, for instance, while kelp is the main source of so-called ocean leather. Finding these products can be difficult though. They can also be prohibitively expensive.

If you do decide to go for faux leather handbags, you will find that there is an endless variety of styles and types of bag to choose from. These range from a carry-all tote to an elegant clutch. All you need is a pair of killer heels to go with it.

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