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A growing list of the best independent Australian bag labels

IMAGE VIA @bichon_pockets/instagram

WORDS BY HANNAH COHEN

So you can carry on supporting local, even while you’re on the go.

Leaving the house without the Big Five (phone, wallet, keys, headphones and lip balm, obviously) would be criminal, right? To save you from this fate, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite independent Australian bag labels to make sure you never leave the house without these essentials.

Whether you’re looking for a bedazzled PVC number, a tote made out of a recycled awning, or an investment-worthy vegan leather carry-all, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to local bag labels.  


For more style suggestions, head to our Fashion category.


As we know, our impact on the planet extends far beyond the tops and pants we choose to purchase – we can make a difference by mindfully selecting our accessories, too.

With this in mind, this list features some labels that are not just pleasing to look at, but are locally and sustainably made. Now go forth and choose your fighter. 

Hello Sisi

 

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You might have seen these kitschy and colourful PVC bags on the arms of many well-dressed Melburnians. Each custom bag is handmade by founder Sienna Ludbey in her Brunswick studio, meaning every piece is one-of-a-kind. And if you’re on a budget, you can start small and shop the label’s glittery keychains and purses.

hellosisi.bigcartel.com

Radical Yes

If your top priority is buying from a brand that champions the experiences of women, then may I suggest Melbourne label Radical Yes? The footwear and accessories brand is all about practicality (it even coined the term ‘flat shoe liberation’) and has a range of roomy yet sleek cross-body bags. Plus, they’re compact and adjustable, so you can wear them however you please.

radicalyes.com.au

Bichon

 

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With a focus on minimising its environmental impact, Melbourne label Bichon reclaims locally sourced, deadstock shearling off-cuts to create its signature cross-body bags. No two Bichon bags are exactly the same, so if you’re looking for something all your own, these handcrafted fluffy dreams are the ones for you. 

bichonpockets.com

Brie Leon

Looking for a classic leather bag but want to bypass animal products? Brie Leon’s vegan leather bags are PETA approved and they arrive in recyclable packing made of card and unbleached kraft paper. The Australian label makes beautiful bags in the most pleasing of hues – think pale yellows, creamy whites, dark olives and tonal browns. The best part? Brie Leon often partners with charities that support local communities, so you can do some good while shopping its exquisite collection.

brieleon.com

Use Daily

Practical without compromising on aesthetics, Melbourne’s Use Daily creates sustainably sourced and incredibly functional bags out of discarded outdoor materials like tents, tarps and awnings. Featuring bold stitching and block colours, these durable and water-resistant pieces will elevate your errand run. 

usedaily.net

Simetrie

 

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Melbourne-based label Simetrie is all about “balancing the human desire for style with [its] impact on the earth”. Its kangaroo leather goods are designed and made by local craftswomen who use all-natural materials. Simetrie prides itself on paying its workers a fair wage and committing to a slow fashion business model to combat the exploitation that we see too often in the fashion industry. From tote bags to pouches, this label’s minimalist designs are a timeless addition to any outfit.

simetrie.com.au

Ocray44

This Melbourne-based label is already well known for its hand bleached caps, each of which is designed and created by founder Zoe Crow. If you’re a fan of her ever-popular flower-laden hats, the label’s tote bags, adorned with the same floral design, should be up your alley. Currently, the totes come in navy, purple, brown and blue. 

ocray44.bigcartel.com

Status Anxiety

After a premium leather handbag? Status Anxiety has you covered. The Sydney-based label ethically sources its leather from by-products of the food industry rather than endangered animals, to create beautiful and durable pieces that last a lifetime. The label is super transparent about its manufacturing processes and has goals set in place to become more sustainable, and it’s working towards becoming 90 per cent plastic-free by the end of this year. You can shop its classic bags online or in stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Byron Bay. 

statusanxiety.com.au

Sans Beast

Sans Beast takes a firm stance against traditional leather handbags and opts for plant-based materials instead, including the use of recycled polyurethane and cactus materials among other durable fabrics. The label’s number one focus is “to challenge the fashion paradigm that animals are essential for the design process”. It certainly proves its point – its range of vegan leather goods is a favourite among the fashion set in Australia, and its bold branded strap is regularly seen slung over the shoulders of some very well-dressed individuals.  

sansbeast.com

Cush Coma

How does one describe Cush Coma’s bags? Perhaps the brand’s Instagram bio sums it up best: bizarro goods. The Melbourne-based label has expanded its range to include the Hoops Bag. Completely lined and stuffed with 100 per cent recyclable PET water bottle filling, this limited collection is available in three colourways: denim, silver and sugar high, a psychedelic mix of bold fluro hues. 

cushcoma.com

E Tu

E Tu’s sustainability values are encapsulated perfectly in its Maori name, meaning ‘stand’. After deciding to move away from her career in fast fashion, Kiwi-born and Melbourne-based founder Rachel Kelly is choosing to take a ‘stand’ with Mother Earth by repurposing waste from schools and Australian music festivals to make a range of drawstring, tote and bucket bags. If combating textile waste while wearing a colourful carry-all sounds appealing, Et Tu might be your next bag soulmate. 

etu-etu.com

Respiro

 

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If you’re looking to spice up your bag collection with something a little more avant-garde, Respiro’s range should do the trick. Available in a variety of styles – think intricately beaded numbers, sculpturally shaped hand-poured resin and shiny satin linings –  these bags could be likened to pieces found in an art gallery. 

respiro.studio

Poppy Lissiman

An Australian cult classic, Poppy Lissiman’s cruelty-free, vegan bags are made of high-quality faux leather and come in a wide array of vibrant designs. If you’re looking to avoid leather goods, Poppy’s bags provide a brilliantly coloured alternative. 

poppylissiman.com

Bobby Universe

 

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Built on the foundations of slow fashion, Bobby Universe is not only sustainably conscious in its manufacturing practice, but also supports mental health advocacy through its Be You campaign. This Australian label’s social responsibility campaign ensures that through every purchase made, proceeds are donated to mental health charities like Beyond Blue.

bobbyuniverse.com

A_C Official

Designed “with the earth in mind”, A_C Official offers a broad selection of leather-style bags made from a variety of plant-based, organic and recycled textiles, manufacturing under the principles of a circular economy. To achieve this, A_C Official takes care of the afterlife of your product by offering handbag repairs as well as a buy back programme. 

ac-official.com

Rylan Studio

The unwavering elegance of Mosman-based Rylan Studio makes its bags a classic addition to your capsule wardrobe. Crafted from luxurious smooth Northern Italian calf leather, the timeless satchel style features a signature brass buckle and long adjustable strap, easily taking this piece from day to night. Or invest in a grained Italian cow leather mini tote, effortlessly fusing practicality with style.

rylan.studio

Yani

 

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Inspired by the tactility and uniqueness of Asian foods, Meanjin-based designer Yani Preston birthed her brand, Yani. The Cendol collection is Yani’s latest offering, effortlessly melding recycled leather offcuts sourced from Australia with latex shapes and steel hardware. The perfectly sized bags fit all the necessities, making a bold addition to any outfit, featuring loud pops of fluro against muted white, blue and black. 

lizandbetty.com/yani

A-Esque

Founder and director of A-Esque, Amanda Briskin-Rettig (also the founder of Mimco), values high-quality products made using artisan skills without compromising on style or function, and it shows. Each investment bag is handmade by the Richmond based atelier and is crafted to last a lifetime. A-Esque’s luxury, sustainably sourced leather handbags range from mini bar bags through to large practical tote bags, with something to suit every wardrobe.

a-esque.com

Perks And Mini (P.A.M.)

Established in Melbourne, Perks And Mini is a frontrunner for cutting-edge streetwear and lifestyle fashion. The brand offers spaciously designed graphic tote bags, perfect for the shopper looking for a “refined yet unpretentious bag”.

perksandmini.com

Florist

If you’re a designer devotee looking to spice up your collection, Florist has you sorted. The Melbourne-born, New York-based label puts a spin on conventional designer silhouettes with its eye-catching, psychedelic embroidery. Each Florist item is handmade and opts for the highest quality materials to ensure longevity in both the brutal New York winter or the heat of the Australian summer. You can shop the unisex bags online.

floristforfun.com

By Far

Designed in Australia and handmade in Bulgaria, By Far is intended for the ‘cool city girl’ who is nostalgic for ’90s fashion. The label is like wandering through a candy store, with a bag available in almost every colour one could desire. By Far offers an ongoing evolution of fashion staples and promises responsibly sourced leather and other materials. 

byfar.com

Sllo

Designed consciously in Melbourne, Sllo is committed to sustainable and ethical practices. Although the brand currently only offers two bags, the Remi Bag is said to be “the sustainable bag of your dreams”, according to the brand. Its design is modelled off of the conventional shoulder purse and made entirely from recycled PU and PET. 

sllo.com.au

For more sustainable bag labels, head here.

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