One of my most requested content topics here on my blog and on Instagram is vegan fashion. While I don’t exclusively wear vegan fashion, I really love it. There is so much innovation happening right now in animal-free materials, and I think any conversation about ethical fashion is incomplete if it excludes reflecting on being compassionate toward animals.
I recently purchased my ultimate find on Poshmark, a nearly new von Holzhausen Shopper in black. Good things really do come to those who wait, because I had been eyeing this bag since last September or so, and had been slowly saving up to purchase it when I found it on Poshmark in great condition and half-off the retail price. I didn’t even put in an offer, I just hit that “Buy Now” button.
I’m excited to review it for you today, because I know vegan bags can be an incredibly difficult purchase decision. It can be hard for people to justify spending several hundred dollars on bags that are not leather, and that, frankly, so often turn out to be a disappointment when the vegan leather starts to crack or peel after light use.
Throughout this review I’m going to share my impressions of this bag, as well as compare the material and quality to some other popular mid-to-high-end vegan bags that I own or have owned. It is also my totally-and-completely honest opinion, as I purchased this bag myself and this post is not sponsored in any way.
About von Holzhausen and the Shopper
Founded in 2015, von Holzhausen is a Malibu–based collection of accessories with a focus on design, sustainability and quality of life. Designer Vicki von Holzhausen began her career in the automotive industry, working for Audi and Mercedes–Benz in Europe, before turning her focus to the fashion industry and ethical consumerism.
Von Holzhausen bags are made in the USA of Technik leather, which is a polyurethane-based material that has the handfeel of leather combined with the durability of a performance fabric. More on that in a minute.
The Shopper can be worn as a shoulder bag or as a crossbody by pulling the straps to elongate them, like a drawstring functionality. It is lightweight and features an invisible magnet closure. The lining is a 100% animal-free microfiber made from recycled plastic bottles.
The Shopper is available in black, denim, white, caramel, taupe and stone.
I want to dive more into my thoughts on Technik leather first, since I think the main reason people avoid vegan leather goods is because they don’t want to purchase items “made from plastic” or that have a “plasticky” feel. I am certainly no leather-goods expert, but having been quite the shopper before my minimalist days, I have owned both luxury leather handbags and luxury vegan leather handbags. This bag competes with the best of them in terms of the feel of the material.
When I pulled my Shopper out of its dustbag, my immediate thought was – “Okay, it isn’t leather, but it’s pretty damn close.” If you’re extremely particular, can you tell there is a slight difference? Yes. But the buttery texture of this bag is well above any vegan alternative I have experienced, save for say, Stella McCartney. But this bag comes close, and it competes with Stella on style and value, which I’ll also get into. My friends have been stunned by the feel of this bag once I tell them that, yep – it’s vegan!
When you compare this bag to some similarly-priced and positioned counterparts, the difference in the feel of the material is significant. For me, Angela Roi comes to mind, as it is positioned similarly in the market to von Holzhausen, although the price point is slightly lower. Angela Roi certainly competes on style, but it doesn’t come close to avoiding that “plasticky” feel. My Angela Roi tote’s handles also started peeling a bit after normal use.
Von Holzhausen’s Technik leather is crack-resistant, water resistant and one-third-the-weight of leather – it is amazing how lightweight the Shopper is! Additionally, it is PVC, Chromium and Formaldehyde free. 99% of solvents used in processing Technik leather are recaptured and recycled.
This bag feels mushy (I can’t think of a better word – haha!) just like real leather would when you place it over your shoulder or start to stuff all your carry-on items in it (as I recently did on a trip to Florida – it fit all my snacks and toiletries, my laptop, a book, a jacket and a whole lot of other miscellaneous nonsense).
I love the minimal, modern and high-end appearance of von Holzhausen bags. In my opinion, many vegan bag brands seem to be unable to rise above the plastic-feel of the material, which of course isn’t an issue here, and as a result, the styles appear stiff or outdated.
Alternately, many vegan options tend to have an edgier look – I’m not sure why that’s the default – that doesn’t work for everyone’s lifestyle, which is ultimately why I ended up parting with my Stella McCartney bag. The understated appearance of von Holzhausen works much better for my life.
I also really like the knotted details and that there is subtle branding on the bag, such as the v-details on the sides.
I will say, this bag is on the larger side – in fact, it was much larger than I anticipated, and I maybe should have read the dimensions more carefully. It’s a great work and travel bag, but I do find it can be cumbersome for my day-to-day, depending on what I’m doing. I think the Handheld is more of a bring-everywhere option.
Priced at $450, this is certainly an investment bag. I was happy to find it on Poshmark because I didn’t have $450 to invest in a bag during the time I was browsing the Shopper, and, if I’m being honest, I was skeptical of how good this Technik leather would really be.
Having carried this for some time, and not under the gentlest conditions – to and from work, through several airports – I can say that I definitely believe von Holzhausen bags are fantastic, quality vegan bags and that the price point is fair, largely because the material and feel competes on the luxury level.
I hope you enjoyed this review – if there’s anything I didn’t answer for you, feel free to leave me a comment!
Just a few outfits I’ve worn my Shopper with lately…