There are a ton of sustainable fashion brands to choose from, but where do you turn for eco-friendly accessories? If you’re building a sustainable wardrobe, knowing where to shop for your next bag is equally as important, whether you’re shopping for a tote, a classic faux-leather cross-body, or a bucket bag.
If you’re reading this and would like to spend more sustainably and ethically, we’ve rounded up 10 of some of our favourite African handbag brands that all operate through eco-friendly processes.
Throughout our BellaNaija Style Declutter & Donate campaign we will be raising much-needed awareness around the topic of sustainable fashion in Africa. Keep up with our activities on Instagram #BNSDeclutterDonate and on www.bellanaijastyle.com to keep up with all our activities.
Founded in Kenya by Charlotte Lefebvre, Bush Princess brings together the aesthete of European fashion with the vibrant colours of African plains. Each Bush Princess handbag is handmade with great attention to detail and exceptional quality using ethical, sustainable products and practices.
As an ethical fashion brand, Bush Princess is committed to supporting local communities and using eco-friendly products throughout its design and production process.
Zashadu is a British/Nigerian sustainable luxury brand that specializes in hand-crafted leather pieces. Led by Nigerian designer Zainab Ashadu, the brand employs local tanners and helps to perpetuate local know-how passed down through generations. In addition, the skins of leather goods are traceable and the dyes used are vegetal and respectful of the environment.
Founded in 2008 by South African painter Hanneli Rupert, Kapi is a sustainable luxury South African brand. Each of their beautiful bags combines sustainability and low-waste materials to make exceptional, authentic pieces.
The brand works closely with weaving and beading communities. Their beaded tassels are part of a collaboration with MonkeyBiz, an organisation that creates stable jobs for artisans through reviving traditional beadwork.
The word ‘Kona’ means ‘corner’ in Swahili, Luganda and Hindi. This brand draws its inspiration from a mixture of Ugandan and Indian cultures. With their products featuring a mix of patterns, styles, colours, stitching techniques and materials, Kona works with raw materials sourced locally and handmade by a team of women in Kampala.
Nigerian sustainable handbag brand Minku, led by Kunmi Otitoju, utilizes 80% of repurposed Aso-Oke and damask fabrics in their handbag linings.
Due to the nature of the fabrics used, many items are one of a kind, so you know you’re getting individuality.
Khokho is an accessories brand that combines fine Italian craftsmanship with traditional Eswatini weaving techniques. Philippa Thorne and Eddie Borgo founded the brand to elevate the ancient craft of weaving and provide income-generating opportunities for the Emaswati. Furthermore, artisans receive a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Khokho bags.
Ilundi is a South-African based contemporary label that takes its inspiration from nature, sculpture and geometric lines. Ilundi’s range of genuine leather bags and accessories are timeless and classic. Every bag from the label is hand-made locally, using traditional vegetable-tanning techniques and consciously sourced materials.
You’ll love this brand if you’re looking to make a statement and be sustainable at the same time. Senegalese brand Teespoon Boutique unifies both form and function through its traditional African design aesthetics and practical functionality. Founded by Teneasha Pierson, each piece is designed and crafted by local artisans using traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation.
ZAAF is an Ethiopian luxury handcrafted leather and accessories brand. Founded in 2014 by Abai Schulze, the brand is developing long-term business opportunities across Africa by partnering with skilled artisans to create luxurious products that celebrate the history, culture, and natural wonders that have delineated the foundation of incredible innovation and luxury on our continent.
Ghanaian fashion brand KAYADUA was founded in 2018 by Eyiwaa Agyekumhene. Designed to inspire confidence and encourage free expression, Kayadua specializes in hand-made collections that explore the connection between strength and self through traditional techniques like weaving, beading, and intricate processes.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. In Africa, there are much more ethical and sustainable fashion and accessory brands. Please feel free to add brands that you know in the comments section below.