Paper bag? Leather bag? Huh? First time I heard of Pretty Simple Bags, I was not convinced. Vegan, paper leather…um cows melting in the rain, ice cream cone on a hot day? But wait, wow. I first saw these bags at a sustainability market here in Ho Chi Minh, then I touched them. Again, wow! They look like leather, feel thick and durable like leather, and even act like it. The next couple weeks of my life were dedicated to destroying my current backpack so I’d have an excuse to upgrade to one of these. So sustainable of me…I know.
But really, I love this bag and I’m so excited to be partnering with Pretty Simple Bags. The bag brand is owned by two designers, business women and mothers here in Saigon, Vietnam. Vietnam hasn’t always had the best global reputation of being a green leader but Ho Chi Minh actually has tons of brands showing the way to the rest of South East Asia. And, guess what? They ship worldwide from their Etsy!
Living abroad, it’s easy to default to the comfort of home brands that you find in the mall. Sizes that fit us, cheap, and on trend. It sucks these brands are often synonymous with fast fashion, sweatshops and child labor.
See that shirt I’m wearing? H&M. Made with love and micro plastics. See that iPhone? You get the idea. We all do better when it’s convenient (did I mention they ship worldwide?). If you’re in the market for a new bag, Pretty Simple Bags is a pretty simple way to green up your daily gear. Handmade with fair wages, no sweatshops or child labor, and safe working conditions. They’ll last you much longer than a season, too.
The material ages just like leather, getting softer over time. Paper-based, somehow they’re washable. I honestly thought this bag would disintegrate just from the condensation from my water bottle, but nervously, I put mine into the washing machine and to the test. One more time, wow! The material feels even nicer than before I washed it.
I didn’t know anything about washable paper material before I got this backpack. The material Pretty Simple Bags uses is called Kraft-tex, a blend of cellulose fivers and a natural latex. It’s tanned and stretched in Italy and highly tear and water resistant. I still don’t understand how exactly how they magically made paper washable, but somehow they’ve done it while remaining plant based, biodegradable and lightweight.
The bag I’m wearing is the Alisa Washable Paper Backpack in black. They’re coming out with a new line soon but I don’t think I’ll be needing a new bag anytime soon. A good problem to have I guess!
Honestly the only thing I don’t love about the Pretty Simple Bags brand is that they don’t make shoes and basically everything else in the world. I’m currently dreaming of vegan leather couches, winter boots and um yoga mats? Stop me. In the meantime you and I can wait by stocking up on their accessory line of laptop sleeves, makeup bags and totes, cross-bodies and backpacks. Check out their Etsy and website to see the whole line.