If Not Leather, Then What? Three Unique Materials For Handbags

Although leather remains the most exquisite material for handbags, there are certain occasions, which call for a handbag made of different materials. Although it is difficult to imagine an autumn/ winter collection without leather bags, the material seems too heavy for summer totes and beach bags. Designers are also eager to discover the potential hidden in other types of fabrics, which are less commonly used to manufacture bags. If you want to explore other options and try something new, look for latest clutch designs and handbags made of one of the following materials.


Canvas was used to create bags long before the first leather handbag was made. The heavyweight fabric is very durable and can be used on a daily basis. High fashion brands with a long history, such as Louis Vuitton, often include canvas handbags in their collections as an homage to the past and a means of reinventing modern handbags. However, the new type of canvas is different from the material used in the past, for example, it often features a printed brand logo or a specific design. Canvas bags have one major flaw. Bright and pastel bags made of canvas are more prone to staining and darkening with time, but on the positive side – canvas is easy to clean and you can use your everyday cleaning products to get rid of a stain.


Cotton can be called the less expensive version of canvas. The material is lighter and therefore more prone to tearing. It can be also easily stained and is not resistant to water. The biggest advantage of cotton fabric is its availability in many different colors and patterns. You can have a cotton bag with a very distinctive print or a colorful cotton bag. Cotton is also one of the cheapest materials, so you can easily find an inexpensive handmade fabric bag. This lightweight material is perfect for a tote or a beach bag. If it gets stained, the cotton fabric can be hand washed and dried easily. You can also apply a cleaning product directly on the stain. Cotton bags wear out pretty quickly, but since they are so inexpensive, you can easily buy a new, cool bag when you need it.


Straw is typically used as a material for summer bags, beach bags and picnic baskets. There are many types of straw and different types of straw bags, check for example kiondo, a handbag made from sisal and traditionally handwoven in Kenya. Straw plaiting can be also used as a decorative element of a cotton or canvas bag. Straw bags look really exquisite, but they are quite fragile. You should make sure that your straw bag is stored in good conditions and you shouldn’t carry too many heavy objects in your straw bag. To remove dirt from the interior of the bag you can simply use a vacuum cleaner. If your bag got stained, you can use a solution of water and cleaning product to remove the stain. Straw bags and handbags decorated with straw plaiting should not be washed in a washing machine.

Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.