Lately you can find more and more labels that do it “the conscious way”. Mass production and poor working conditions have been making negative headlines for as long as we can probably remember. The trend goes towards sustainable clothing. Because gone are the days that ecological meant linen balloon pants and hobo looking items. In Germany, cities like Berlin and Düsseldorf offer a broad range of stores where ecological clothes can be purchased. Worldwide, designers like Stella McCartney started only using vegan fabrics for their collections and therefore setting an example for other labels.

But the latest sustainable trend are bags and accessories!

It all started with the gunny bag. Made from robust burlap, it was the first sustainable bag, originally used for grocery store shopping and later made the international trend item for the hipster generation. Since then, the idea of a sustainable accessory has gotten a lot more creative. While the gunny bag is still around and will probably stay a while longer, several labels offer cool and innovative bag and purse options.

On this year’s international leather fair in Offenbach, Germany, visitors could notice a fair amount of sustainable brands showcasing their products. It became clear that sustainability is no longer an off-topic or just something for “a certain group of people”, but rather represents a change of mind in our society.

But what is so different?

First of all, with most bags or backpacks you will hardly notice a difference in the design. Secondly, they consist out of sometimes unconventional materials. Pinqponq’s backpacks are crafted out of a material that’s made from plastic bottles, while Sag+Sals purses are made out of printing blankets usually used for offset printing. Other materials used to create upcycling bags and purses are old fire hoses, cement bags and disused truck tarpaulins, which are used for the Freitag backpacks. The probably most unconventional material is used by Spanish label Escama. Their pieces are all made entirely from pull-tabs of old cans.

The main idea of sustainable labels is to not create any more waste, but rather work with what you’ve already got. This spares the environment in a huge way.

So maybe the next backpack you purchase is a sustainable one. They are just as fashionable and on top you will do something for the environment.