Are you looking for a timeless, leather handbag that is ethically made with eco-friendly materials? Then you’ve come to the right place. At COSH!, we collected 12 stylish and sustainable handbag labels located in Belgium and The Netherlands. When you buy a high-quality handbag that is produced close to home, you reduce your ecological footprint. Moreover, leather can last a lifetime. Thus, you don't have to buy a new one every year, which makes it a smart investment! Curious about our tips? Make sure to read on!
1. Mien Kaba
In the workshop of Mien Kaba in Sint-Andries, near Brugge, you can make an appointment to create the handmade bag of your dreams. Dominique is a real craftswoman and all handbags are made to measure. This way, Mien Kaba avoids overstock and only creates unique pieces by the customers’ request. Dominique is very passionate about her job and uses different kinds of leather, including fish leather. Do you want to become an owner of a unique Mien Kaba? Take a look below to discover more information about the atelier!
Looking for a made-to-measure handbag concept in The Netherlands? Then Monsak in Amsterdam is the place to be. Margriet has always been passionate about bags but could never find the perfect bag that fitted all her needs. That’s why she started working with her mother's leather machine to create her own handbags. A hobby quickly became a successful business, Monsak. In 2012 Magriet opened her studio in Amsterdam where she makes unique and minimalistic bags. All bags are made from rescued leather, which was previously rejected by large fashion houses that have strict quality rules. Margriet turns this leather into timeless backpacks, shoulder bags, crossbody bags and shoppers.
Do you already have your dream bag in mind, Monsak also works made-to-measure. Feeling creative and want to learn how to make your own handbag? Then you can follow a workshop at her atelier. To top it off, when your Monsak breaks down, Margriet can bring it back to life. This way you have a bag you can enjoy for years!
The Belgian brand Award/t makes iconic handbags for distinctive, self-confident women. The brands’ vision is: "Don't hide your unique traits, flaunt them". The accessory brand was founded by Wies and Els and is completely female-powered! All bags are handmade in Belgium in their workshop in Mechelen. You can find their models in several colours and shapes.
4. O My Bag
Are you looking for the perfect bag that fits every outfit and various occasions for years? Then chances are you'll find it at Amsterdam-based brand O My Bag. Paulien Wesselink founded the brand in 2011 with the aim of giving something back to the community and the environment.
The handbags and wallets are made from high-quality leather that is tanned without harmful chemicals. The production of O My Bag takes place in India and China, in factories with whom the brand has been collaborating for years. Moreover, O My Bag won the Sustainable Leather Awards in 2015 and is a Certified B Corporation.
5. Mieke Dierckx
Belgian designer Mieke Dierckx started her brand in 2012 and gets inspired by 'everyday life'. The bags in her collection are timeless, minimalistic and have a unique design. All handbags are designed in Mieke's workshop in Westerlo and are handmade in a small workshop in Portugal, with whom she sustains a close relationship.
Mieke Dierckx makes handbags and purses in limited editions and also creates unique pieces from time to time. You can certainly go there for an elegant leather bag with a Belgian design. The bags are available in various colours and are not seasonal.
6. Sofie Darche
Are you looking for a timeless leather bag with a clean look? Then a bag from Sofie Darche may be the perfect fit for you. Bags from this Antwerp brand are handmade, partly by Sofie Darche herself in Antwerp and partly in a certified workshop in Romania. The bags are made from European leather that is tanned in Italy. The material lasts a long time and has good resistance against dirt and water.
Craftsmanship, sustainability and transparency are key for Sofie Darche. To avoid overproduction and waste she only works on the demand. In addition, all bags are timeless, so you can enjoy your Sofie Darche for a long time.
7. Lies Mertens
At Lies Mertens you'll find minimalistic handbags, designed in Belgium and produced in Portugal from 100% organic leather. For designer Lies Mertens it all started with a search for a versatile, high-quality handbag without frills. That’s why her first bags are very personal and reflect her own needs and taste.
Today, each design is inspired by real people who intrigue her: a homage to their lives, dreams and ideals. The striking thing about the bags of Lies Mertens is that she puts people she knows to work to design and develop their handbag. Discover the sustainable handbags by Lies Mertens at Made By Hand in Brussels.
8. Annelies Timmermans
At the handbag brand Annelies Timmermans you will find unique and luxurious handbags. The collection is the result of a fascinating mix of Belgian roots mixed with an interest in the Italian culture of craftsmanship in leather goods.
The range of handbags reflects a solid know-how and has a functional design. The models are available in different colours or shapes. The handbags are ideal for those who love feminine class and timeless quality.
9. Ms. Bay
Did you know salmon skins can be turned into stylish bags? Antwerp-based brand Ms. Bay makes it happen! Founders Saskia Aelen and Lawrence Dedroog started the brand because they were concerned about the unsustainable nature of fast fashion.
Salmon skins are a waste product of the fishing industry. Only 1% of all salmon skins are currently recycled. So why not use them to make bags? The salmon skin used by Ms. Bay comes from sustainable fisheries in Europe and is tanned with 100% vegetable materials. The bags themselves are ethically produced in India. The result? A chic handbag with a unique story!
Do you prefer a vegan bag? We’ve got you!
‘Shakosse’ means handbag in West-Flemish and is also a circular brand founded by 18-year old Warre. He makes all the handbags himself by hand in West-Flanders, using second-hand fabrics such as fabric from a second-hand shop or his own grandmother's fabric. This makes each bag unique! One bag has a flower print, the other is made from denim or has a check pattern, ... Warre strives to make handbags for everyone! With Shakosse he wants to break gender stereotypes and create cool handbags with focus on ecology, slow fashion and sustainability.
11. Susan Bijl
Susan Bijl is a Rotterdam-based bag brand. During her studies at the Willem de Kooning Academy Susan designed "The New Shopping Bag" as a colourful and environmentally friendly alternative for the plastic shopping bag. Since 2002 she has produced all kinds of bags for daily use: shopping bags, cross-body bags and backpacks. They have an iconic design in different colour combinations. The Susan Bijl bags add a pop of colour to the Dutch streetscape and are definitely here to stay!
Since 2019, all Susan Bijl bags are made from recycled materials, including recycled nylon; from recycled fishing nets, pre-consumer fabric waste and computer chips and recycled polyester; from recycled PET bottles. The bags are made in China and Vietnam. Nice detail: if your bag breaks down, you can go to the Care & Repair service. This way your Susan Bijl bag can last along time!
12. Captain Cork
Did you know that cork is a very soft, natural and vegan alternative to leather? Captain Cork is the perfect evidence! Ina De Quint started this brand as an ode to her father in 2018. He taught Ina how to deal with recycling, reuse and slow consumption. At her fathers ecological house in Portugal, Ina and her dad both discovered the possibilities of the natural Portuguese cork.
Now Ina makes different kinds of bags, hats, jewellery, shoes and toys from this ecological material. All production of Captain Cork takes place in Portugal. A fully European product!
Want to discover more sustainable clothing and accessories? Check out our shopping guide and find sustainable fashion in your style and within your budget!Go to shopping guide