Finding high quality (but not ridiculously expensive) eco friendly bags is tough. I was already a massive Vera Bradley fan, but when I found out the brand was launching an entirely new line of sustainable bags – I went bananas. I went even more bananas when I heard Vera Bradley is committing to updating 100% of their fabrics to more sustainable options by 2025.
I seriously love it when brands care. Our dollars are our vote for change, so seeing brands we love take pride in a more environmentally friendly supply chain and opt for ethical practices rocks.
I’ve written several Vera Bradley blog posts before, but am proud to say this is my first blog post in partnership with the brand. A massive thank you to the Vera Bradley team for sponsoring this post – and a huge thanks to you the readers for supporting the brands that make Blondes & Bagels possible.
Let’s dive in to this exciting new launch from Vera Bradley, featuring their cotton styles reimagined and made with recycled materials.
Everyone deserves to be paid fair wages. When looking for eco friendly bags we can’t forget that being eco friendly doesn’t necessarily mean the brand is ethical. Ethical fashion cares not only about the planet, but the workers producing each item. Working conditions should be safe, garment workers should be paid fairly, and factories should be making their best attempt at lessening environmental and social impact.
Companies that sell truly eco friendly bags will be transparent about their supply chain and have information about their commitments easily viewable on their website. You can find the Vera Bradley supply chain commitments and standards here. Vera Bradley has a really helpful CSR section on their website that dives into all the ways they ensure their products are made ethically.
Sustainable fashion should utilize organic and/or recycled materials wherever possible. Recycled materials are better for the planet as they don’t put the same strain on the Earth to make. While materials like vegan leather might be ethically made, it’s recycled and organic materials that truly make for eco friendly bags.
Recycled and organic textiles aren’t just better for the planet – they’re also better for people. Organic textiles like cotton equate to less exposure for farmers to potentially harmful pesticides.
We’ll dive into Vera Bradley’s latest launch in just a moment – but I’m excited to say the line is made with recycled cotton (and their ReActive line is made from recycled plastic bottles).
Textiles make up a large portion of our landfills and fast fashion brands are big contributors to that waste. One of the best ways to build a sustainable wardrobe is to build one that is capsule style in nature. Capsule wardrobes are filled with high quality, classic, mix and match pieces that are both designed and produced to last the test of time. Trendy items are typically cheaply made and end up in the landfills – where as well made items are unlikely to be trashed any time soon.
It’s not enough to create one-off collections that are ethical and sustainable. Brands that are actually ethical, sustainable, or eco friendly commit to these causes beyond the scope of just one collection.
The fact that Vera Bradley is committing to 100% of their fabrics in their handbags, backpacks, and accessories alike to be made with 100% more sustainable options by the year 2025 is powerful.
I’m not a full fledged vegan or anything, but if I’m shopping with consideration of the planet in mind I absolutely take into account our animal friends. I am admittedly a fan of high quality leather bags (leather is a byproduct of the meat packing industry), but it feels so good to opt for vegan as the majority.
To be honest one of the things that has made Vera Bradley a go-to brand of mine when it comes to eco bags and ethical handbags is the fact that they offer so many classic cotton styles. In fact, all the vegan handbags I own are Vera Bradley because they’re so well made, easy to wash, and are doing good for the planet. Vegan bags are ethical bags!
Even more so now with the Cotton ReIMAGINED line.
Recycled fabrics can honestly be tricky for bag brands to nail down. Recycled fabrics don’t always have the same soft hand-feel as non-recycled textiles. Sometimes this may mean brands are slower on adoption – but it also means that when recycled options do launch they’re often worth the wait.
Like I said before – when products aren’t made well they end up in the landfill. I appreciate when brands work hard and take their time to get their sustainable options right.
Vera Bradley’s new recycled cotton fabric is both soft like the original cotton fabric and just as functional as its predecessor. Vera Bradley bags are some of my most used simply because of how well they wear. I’m never worried about my bag getting dirty or “messed up” because it was built to be worn on the go. Vera Bradley bags are built to be well loved. The new recycled cotton fabric is no different – it’s incredibly durable and also very easy to wash.
Vera Bradley’s recycled cotton is made primarily from excess raw materials and pre-consumer scraps.
The Vera Bradley name is synonymous with quilted cotton prints. Beautiful, intricate prints are honestly what Vera Bradley is known for. I’ve absolutely found some of my favorites in their Harry Potter collection as well as some older favorites (Camofloral I’m lookin’ at you!).
It’s with this newest collection that we’re seeing the first ever unquilted solid cotton options from Vera Bradley. These new unquilted options come in six colors for the new launch: Climbing Ivy Green, Rich Orchid, Summer Rain, Cintronella Glow, Turquoise Sky, and Desert Flower Pink.
If you’re an old-school Vera Bradley fan like I am – this updated design offering is BIG news! To be honest, I find it incredibly exciting. I still love my Vera bags for their beautiful prints, but also love that the brand is growing, evolving, and offering even more styles for me to choose from.
Another aspect to this new launch is the addition of the Utility styles. I’ll admit – darn near every Vera Bradley bag is built for function. But the Utility styles are built for extra function.
Each Utility style has design details that add to its, well…utility. Obviously. From clips to extra pockets, these styles are designed to be the most functional pieces in your wardrobe. Personally, I love bags made with the idea of function over form. I’ve always said a tote bag tends to be my favorite silhouette because it’s so darn functional – and the Utility styles are all functional.
Eco friendly backpacks can be hard to find, so I love that Vera Bradley included their much loved Campus Backpack style in this launch. I am a big fan of the Campus Backpack – I actually own three.
…And I don’t even spend any time on a campus.
I think that’s why the Campus Backpack is one of my favorites – you really don’t have to be a student for this style to make sense for you. The Campus Backpack is just so darn functional, particularly if you commute for work or are a parent. The laptop sleeve adds protection to likely your most expensive device and the multiple compartments and pockets leave room for just about anything else you might need while on the go. This style also has a trolley sleeve, making it ideal for travel.
This Campus Backpack feels so different from my others because it’s the only one that is a solid color and unquilted! I’m obsessed with the bright color. Who said sustainable backpacks can’t be functional and attractive?
Can you tell I’ve become a full on backpack person? Backpacks are just so convenient and handy to use – and the Utility Sling Backpack is one of my go-to’s for on the go.
The Utility Sling Backpack is the one I reach for if I’ll be having an active day, but don’t necessarily need to bring the kitchen sink with me. The multiple compartments allow me to keep all my necessities nice and organized – and also within easy reach.
Sometimes I actually opt to wear this backpack on the front. Between the bright pops of color and the “cool” factor of wearing it forward, I feel like it’s such a unique style that adds a bit of edge to my outfit. But like, in an approachable way, ya know?
Vera Bradley duffel bags were a huge staple of mine growing up as a dancer. Almost everyone in class stuffed their Vera duffel bags full with ballet and jazz shoes, extra outfits, water bottles, and whatever other dance gear might be needed. Every time I pull out one of my Vera duffel bags I’m taken right back to those early childhood memories – it’s one of the reasons the brand is so near and dear to me.
I’ve done blog posts in the past about how I pack my Vera Bradley duffel for the gym (that post was NOT sponsored – just a huge fan), but I was so pumped to see an old favorite be reborn in a new sustainable fabric option! I now have the Large Travel Duffel in the color Climbing Ivy Green.
The Large Travel Duffel in general is a staple travel bag I always have in my wardrobe (…usually in various prints). Duffel bags are just so easy and functional when it comes to road trips specifically. Sure, like a wheeled bag for plane rides, but when it comes to drives up to see my family nothing is more convenient than my Large Travel Duffel. Not only does this Duffel have two strap options (shoulder/crook of arm and crossbody), but it has both exterior and interior pockets galore.
Another Utility style that I’ve been leaning on a lot recently is the Utility Crossbody. Crossbody bags from Vera in general are really functional in a category of handbags that don’t always have a lot of functionality. The Utility Crossbody in particular is ultra functional with all the secure zip pockets and roomy interior. This bag is the perfect choice for grocery store runs and other general errands.
Personally I’m very into bags where there’s a spot for everything. It’s often tough to find eco friendly bags that are also functional, but the Utility Crossbody has this down on lock.
Whenever I still need a lot of function, but not as much space, I reach for the Utility Small Crossbody instead of the OG. The Small version actually has a whole host of really handy exterior pockets that make it easy to grab necessities within reach. Again, I always appreciate zippers for security purposes, so love that the primary compartment on this bad boy is a zip.
I also have to say prints are a very personal thing – people get really passionate about prints! I own this style in one of the new prints in this collection: Rain Forest Canopy. It’s so bright and fun for Spring and Summer. I kind of can’t wait to break this one out even more as the weather warms up.
If you’re on the hunt for eco friendly bags that are classic, clean, and timeless – honestly the Crossbody Sling might be the pick for you. The silhouette of this style is transitional and timeless, it’s never going to go out of style. I also love the deep blue color of this one. The color makes me think of a summertime ocean – but also feels like a shade I’ll be able to continue to wear into cooler months.
And do we even need to address how functional this one is? It’s a Vera.
I’m personally obsessed with Vera Bradley’s new line. I love that I have everyday eco friendly bags to reach for when I want to wear something I know is better for the planet!
This post is in partnership with Vera Bradley. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Vera Bradley for sponsoring this post and thank you to my readers for supporting the brands that make Blondes & Bagels possible!
*Blondes & Bagels uses affiliate links. Please read the disclaimer for more info.