Sometimes accessories make the outfit. Even the trusty jeans and a tee combo feels elevated when paired with the right handbag. As you may recall from my May favorites, I recently added two new bags from Melie Bianco to my collection. By the way, my collection now consists of four handbags, so adding two more at the same time is saying something. Melie Bianco stands out as one of the few vegan and ethical brands that feels young and trendy. Considering that and their mostly under $100 price point, it sounds to good to be true. Before you shop, here’s what you need to know.
Okay, let’s just get this out of the way. The bags are cute. There is no denying that. Are they always the most original designs? No. Melie Bianco is essentially high street. They do have some unique bags, but they err on the side of trendy. This is great for those who like to participate in trends, but are unwilling to compromise on their desire for vegan materials and ethical production standards. If you’re looking for something one of kind or that will stand the test of time however, look elsewhere.
Both of the bags featured today are unfortunately no longer available. Their site turns over fairly quickly, so if you see something you want, don’t wait to snag it! Though you cannot purchase these specific bags, it still gives you a sense of quality of their other products.
First up is their version of the straw circle bag that has taken over the internet this summer. It retailed for $89, which honestly I don’t think it’s worth. With that being said, I am obsessed with it. Let’s break it down.
Beyond being adorable, this bag is soft but sturdy, spacious and comfortable despite the thin straps. It has one interior pocket and a zip closure. There are two issues. Firstly, the lining is very thin cream polyester, which I don’t love. It makes the bag feels a bit cheap. The bigger problem is the piping along the straps began to peel off. Once removed, there is no sign of damage, but if you don’t, you’re left with rubbery strings hanging from the straps. Not a great look. Because of the price point, the poor finishes seem inexcusable. Still, I find myself reaching for it often due to the practicality and style. I like it, I just wish it was better.
The second bag is a bit more unexpected and unique. It takes a modern twist on the classic saddle bag shape with bamboo handles. The front zip and embossed logo give the feel of a designer bag and yet this bag was priced around $60. Unlike the first, I think that’s a great price for this piece because it’s not something that you’re going to easily find from another brand. The faux leather is stiff because it’s a structured bag, but it does not feel cheap or plastic like.
Speaking of which, there is one major annoyance about this bag. The zippers are metal, but the hooks on the strap are plastic. Granted, this is a very affordable bag, but using plastic felt like a cut corner. The shape, dusty gray lavender color, polka dot lining and bamboo handles felt high end, so discovering plastic cheapened an otherwise luxe handbag.I feel conflicted about Melie Bianco. Having access to trendy, ethical and vegan handbags is great and I think a lot of people would thoroughly enjoy their bags. I will definitely be carrying mine. There are some quality issues however. In the end, I say shop at your own risk. If you don’t want to splurge on vegan designer bags, this is a great option, but don’t expect perfection.
I’m curious what you think of Melie Bianco. Are you interested or would you pass? Better yet, share what vegan and ethical handbags you’re loving! I always love getting your suggestions.