These bags are built to last, both in terms of usability and style.
Leather bags may not be the most popular of fashion accessories among some vegan TreeHugger readers, but when a bag is made from 100 percent recycled leather scraps while looking impeccably new, that is an impressive accomplishment.
Opus Mind is doing precisely that. The leather goods company, founded in 2017, manufactures totes, backpacks, cross-body bags, and zippered pouches in Italy from all-recycled leather. It has partnered with a company called RecycLeather that transforms industrial leather off-cuts (mainly from glove manufacturers) into a supple, usable material that is 60 percent old leather, 30 percent natural rubber/latex binding agent, and 10 percent water and pigment.Opus Mind uses this recycled leather to craft bags that are beautifully minimalist in design. This, too, is part of the company's commitment to sustainability – creating products that will not go out of style and can be used indefinitely.
Founder Kathleen Kuo knows a thing or two about high-end design. A former luxury leather specialist at Chanel and Dior, she felt so discouraged by the industry's rampant waste that she was compelled to start Opus Mind. She told WWD in an interview earlier this year,
"With these major events happening during this time and in my own personal experience, I could no longer stand watching and decided to take action. Additionally, I knew there were opportunities with online brands, where finding communities who cared for a specific mission was easier."
The bags might seem expensive to the average shopper, but as explained on the website, high quality craftsmanship comes at a cost. I'd argue that, if anything, we've gotten used to paying pennies for fashion items because the garment workers making them are working in atrocious conditions and grossly underpaid for it. These, by contrast, are not cheap, hastily-made bags, but rather constructed in a Florentine factory that's been owned by the same family for three generations.