Sustainability. It’s a term that has slowly but surely become one of fashion’s favorite buzzwords, but so much is left to be done by the industry to be kinder to the environment. It was this very thought, back in the thick of Covid‘s lockdown, that had 27-year-old Angana Maheshwari rummaging online for the perfect handbag—a piece that looked good and lasted long without maxing out her credit card or leaving a carbon footprint. While she didn’t find the perfect accessory, what she did find was a calling: “It seemed like there was a gap in the market that I could fill, that would appeal to other people who also wanted to try to do something good for the planet. Living in Europe and the US has definitely made me acutely aware of the damage overconsumption is causing the planet. There is a sense of urgency for sustainability advocacy among my generation that transcends geography,” she tells Vogue Arabia.
And so came Veganologie, a brand new label that aims to balance style with sustainability, and is now available online. “Starting a business during the pandemic was definitely interesting to say the least,” Maheshwari says. “But the collection wound up being even more sustainable because it was impossible to fly to China to have one-on-one meetings with the factories, which reduced our carbon footprint even more significantly.” The result: a debut collection featuring three bag silhouettes and three wallet styles, all in an earthy—yet vibrant—palette of “deep forest green, maize yellow, red, white, rust, dove gray, and black.” The pieces stand out for their finer details, from top stitching to customized hardware in burnished gold and silver. Vegan leather finishes, of course, were a must while planning the collection, but what really gives Veganologie’s bags their trademark look is their abstract monstera leaf detailing, added in the form of raised top stitching. “I always want something practical—so a bag that is easy to wear and care for, with enough room for necessities. All of our bags incorporate a key ring strap so that our customers can easily locate their keys; a pocket on the outside of the bag, for work or university IDs; and a comfortable shoulder strap so that when you want to be hands free, you can be.”
Conceptualized between Maheshwari and the label’s creative director, 28-year old Sara Basar, Veganologie’s creations embrace almost every facet of sustainable fashion, with durability playing a key role in their designs. “We use 100% recycled PU leather and 100% recycled faux suede, which have been created by collecting old plastic bottles and recycling them into fabric, which are some of the most durable vegan leathers on the market,” Maheshwari explains. “It was important to us that our bags also be recyclable themselves, which includes the hardware. We also ensured that all of our packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. We are certified by GRS (Global Recycling Standard) and PETA, which assures Veganologie’s consumers that we are, in fact, what we say we are.” What helped the process along was the duo’s understanding of each other. “[Sara] has been able to translate into sketches—and then products—everything I had in my head for this brand. Her formal training as a designer, and her luxury sensibility has been crucial to the development of the Veganologie brand. At the beginning, we worked primarily across Zoom, since we were in lockdown. Now that we can meet in person at the office, we have a very natural way of working together.”
If you’ve been on the hunt for an easy accessory that also comes guilt-free, scroll for a glimpse at Veganologie’s very first offerings to the world, and keep an eye out for Maheshwari and Basar’s favorite pieces: the Gemma in Mineral, and the Gaia in Onyx respectively, both with burnished hardware.