Traditionally, handbags have been made of a wide variety of materials like cotton, leather, nylon, hemp, jute and what not. Over the years, the industry has given in to the trends and started using plastic and polyester in the production of bags and accessories too. With the rising concern over using sustainable raw materials for production, brands started switching to cork leather and other plant-based fabrics. Our notion is to put a stop to Fast Fashion once and for all. This remains the main motivation behind our choice of fabric and other raw materials.
History of raw material
How do we make an impact with the right choices?
Sourcing vegan leather, biodegradable cotton and cotton-linen fabric in the middle of the pandemic was a tough job but one that we were committed to. While the industry is focusing on Cork leather we wanted to explore more sustainable options.
We create our products in limited batches and then keep them rolling as per requirement. This allows us the flexibility to work on different patterns and products and keeps our inventory to a minimum. Our products sometimes take a little bit additional time to deliver as compared to off-the-rack bags and accessories but we make sure that the waiting period is worth it. A lot goes into the production of making a Braag Green Bag. Right from ideation and planning to conscious sourcing and crafting, we work with our artisans at every step to bring out the best output for our customers. And, that’s how we make a difference – one stitch at a time. We plan on experimenting with other sustainable fabric options like pineapple leaves, apple peels, other fruit waste and also recycled/upcycled items.
The idea is to give back to nature in whatever way we can. The raw materials used in the production of mainstream fashion are affordable and easily sourced but not as sustainable as we would like them to be. We have vowed to not compromise when it comes to finding the best alternative to fast fashion options are we plan on staying true to our word. That is how we give back – one step at a time.
Some benefits of using plant-based fabrics are:
Plant-based fabrics like vegan leather are animal friendly. No animals are harmed in the process of making these bags and accessories.
The environmental impact of using plant-based fabrics is significant. While the production of leather requires a lot of extensive treatment and usage of chemicals, making plant-based leather doesn’t leave behind a massive carbon footprint.
The products made from plant-based fabrics are quite durable and visibly aesthetic. Especially vegan leather with that raw magnetism of outer bark in the prints.
Plant-based fabrics like vegan leather are also cost-effective as compared to authentic leather and other such luxurious materials.
Read a little more about our materials and sourcing process below.
Cork Leather (fabric) comes from the outer bark of Oak trees. The creation of Cork fabric starts with harvesting. Here, the outer section of the bark is peeled back to reveal the inner cork. Once the tree is about 25 years old it is ready for harvesting. The first harvest is unusable, but after that, it is good to go. Harvesting is done every 9 years or so, and the tree regenerates the bark in the meanwhile. Harvested cork absorbs 3 to 5 times more CO2 as compare to unharvested cork. The harvested bark then takes about 6 months to air-dry before being processed to make oak fabric. The reserves are limited. Most of the world’s main Oak forests are concentrated in Portugal, Spain, Southern France, Italy, and North Africa. Making products from cork leather involves a lot of effort.
As compared to leather, the production of cork leather does not put any strain on Earth’s limited pool of natural resources. Also, cork fabric is 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, water repellent and scratch proof. The perfect material to make handbags that last a long time.
For all our customers who wonder what sort of products they are investing in, hope this helps! We do not chemically process the plant leather. The vegan leather we procure goes through basic processing so that the fabric retains its raw cork qualities that ensure it doesn’t crack or crumble with usage and exposure.
Advantages of using cork leather:
- Cork is 100% natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
- It works well with different fabrics and is a nice substitute for fast fashion choices.
- Cork leather is light by weight because of its ethereal structure. 50% of its volume is air.
- It is hypoallergenic, water repellent and stain-resistant, making it a favourable choice for designing.
- The fabric is low maintenance and does not require any special cleaning agents. Luke-warm water works well to softly remove any stains on the fabric.
Biodegradable Cotton for Inner Lining
At Braag Green we use the best of materials for the productions of our handcrafted bags and accessories. The inner lining of the products is made of pure cotton that has a silky finish to its texture. The fabric is 100% biodegradable, consciously-sourced and stitched to perfection to avoid any wastage. We considered several fabrics before zeroing on pure cotton given its anti-allergic nature and eco-friendly status.
Cotton can easily biodegrade because it is made up of cellulose – an organic compound that forms the cells walls and vegetable fibres. The breakdown it has is quite similar to that of other organic products and hence it makes cotton the right choice for using along with other plant-based fabrics.
Cotton Linen Fabric for Outer Design
When sewn with pure cotton, the linen fibre becomes soft and breathable. These natural fabrics are environment-friendly. Using this fabric ensures that we restore the beauty of the handicraft design sewn by our artisans. When we started our research for fabrics we decided on using something different. A combination of Vegan Leather and Cotton-Linen fabric. Most of the brands in the market are focused on procuring plant-based fabrics but we wanted to explore more sustainable options and that’s where this combination came in. We realized that the handiwork on handbags isn’t as elaborate as the one done on clutches and purses, and decided to change that.
Finding the right people at the beginning of our sustainable journey during a pandemic was difficult but we made it happen. Our artisans stitched our dreams into reality. We use a digital technology of printing theme-based designs on the outer fabric and then our artisans craft their magic into the fabric. The theme of the print decides the handiwork that will be done on the products which mean we keep experimenting with designs and styles quite often. Combining 2 different varieties of sustainable fabrics and then getting our artisans to do their aari (thread) work on it has been a learning experience.
The entire design is hand-stitched by a single artisan on the fabric making everything all the more meaningful and personal. With each print and pattern, we get better. We aim to make fashion sustainable – one stitch at a time. Using Cotton-linen fabric for the outer lining of the bags enables the creation of high-end bags and accessories at Braag Green.
Our products are packaged in cotton jute bags which help secure the product and retain its beauty and quality. To be in tune with our endeavour in reducing plastic usage, the packing bags used for shipping are also biodegradable. Nearly everything we use is either natural or nature-based, and for the ones that
aren’t – we are on the lookout for more sustainable alternatives!
Also, our packaging works as the right storage equipment for your leather-based items in the future. It is recommended to store the cork leather-based items in a cotton-jute bag. Avoid flattening the bag and store it in a way that it will retain its shape.