I don’t cover vegan fashion much here, but thought I’d do so today!
Disclaimer: Despite following a plant-based diet, I don’t have a vegan closet. This is primarily because I don’t love the impact of synthetic alternatives on the planet (not that leather tanning is great either), and also because I usually find myself disappointed in the quality of synthetic materials. Since lessening my consumption is my ultimate goal, and a lot of times vegan alternatives lack the quality I’m looking for, I tend to steer clear of them and choose to make my impact when it comes to my diet. I know not everyone agrees with that, but I do try to do as much good as I can, and in ways that I feel balance my concern for both animals and the environment/ over-consumption. I do a lot of research on vegan topics, though, and hope you’ll still find my perspective worthwhile.
The one vegan bag I do own is my Angela Roi Cher tote. This bag is really popular and always out of stock, so I thought some of you might be interested in learning more about it!
I’ve been carrying this bag on-and-off for nearly a year, so I have a pretty good perspective on how it holds up and the functionality.
First though, a bit more about the brand and vegan handbags in general. Angela Roi is an ethical luxury handbag brand based in New York. Their bags are made of EPUL, and the poly material is processed multiple times in order to attain the softness and smooth texture that you see. The bags are designed in New York and manufactured in South Korea, in factories that are regularly audited and by workers who are paid a fair, living wage.
It is important to note that just because a handbag is made with EPUL, it isn’t necessarily vegan. A brand may use glues or other materials that contain animal-derived products in the production. Angela Roi handbags, however, are completely free of animal products.
The Cher Tote
The inspiration behind the tote…
Named after ‘Cher’, the it girl with a rich taste of trend and the central protagonist of ‘Clueless’ this tote is an extremely attractive match to be by your side from a typical workday to a sumptuous shopping spree. Cher is the person to consult, when you’re in the need of a ‘clue’. Meticulously handcrafted by our skilled artisans Cher tote is shaped for your indulgence. As all our products, Cher Tote too is cruelty-free and sweatshop-free.
This tote is truly meant to carry all your essentials, from day-to-night to anything in between.
The positives: This tote is the perfect size for carrying, well, everything. It takes me from work, to the weekend, to overnight trips. I can fit my laptop (though usually I don’t because my laptop is just too heavy to carry with my other things – I use a boring old laptop bag), makeup, my S’well bottle, two cell phones, my wallet and more.
At the same time, this bag isn’t so large that it overwhelms – it’s understated and elegant. I get a lot of compliments on it, and people are always surprised when I say it’s vegan. I guess since vegan fashion does still, unfortunately, have a bit of a negative reputation.
The quality of this bag is wonderful. The gold-tone hardware has not tarnished despite all of the wear it’s gotten since I purchased it last year. The corners also haven’t shown any wear. I find the drop on both the crossbody strap and the handles to be the perfect length. I also like the large interior pocket, which holds a lot.
The color is also beautiful. I was searching for a long time for the perfect gray bag – not too light, not too dark, not with a brownish undertone – and was so happy when I finally found this tote.
The not-so-positives: Let’s just get this one out of the way. If you love leather bags, you might not love this bag. The material is excellent vegan leather, but ultimately, it isn’t going to have the feel of real leather. I can still tell it’s synthetic, and so will you.
But I think, as with all things vegan, it’s important to not compare it to the animal counterpart. Get leather out of your mind! This is hard for me. I do compare this to my leather bags, despite trying not to, especially since it’s referred to as vegan leather. On it’s own, without leather as a point of reference, this bag is lovely.
I think one of the things that makes it so apparent to me that this bag is synthetic is that it isn’t lined. I mean, this was absolutely fantastic when I spilled water in it and could just wipe it up, but it does affect the overall sumptuousness (? haha) of the bag.
I also don’t like how the interior pocket isn’t fully sewn to the bottom of the bag, as smaller items always get stuck in the gap there (like my headphones).
Lastly, some of the coating on the edges has started to peel off a bit – for example, along the edges of the handles and along the top of the bag – and I do find myself picking at it a bit because it drives me nuts! But, I suppose that’s a small thing considering how often I’ve used this handbag.
If you’re looking for a moderately priced, high-quality vegan handbag, I would definitely recommend the Cher tote (or any Angela Roi bag, based on my experience with this one!). It is durable, beautiful and functional.
However, if you’re new to vegan handbags and are looking for something that will “replace” leather, for lack of a better word, this won’t do it for you. If you’re all about texture, you may need to look to a higher price point (like Stella McCartney) to get what you’re looking for in that area.
Hope this helps!
The Angela Roi Cher tote is available in black, bordeaux, light gray, and creme, and retails for $240.00.