We received quite a lively response from our Stella McCartney post on vegan accessories a few months back, so we thought it was time to bring you some more vegan goodness. While out shopping for a soy-based candle earlier today, I came across a great looking bag. I was seriously enamored. I investigated, tried it on and poked around on the inside. It had a subtle hint of social responsibility, but I thought… okay, nylon interior, probably not organic or recycled… and is this leather? The brand name, matt & nat, rang a bell, so I asked the store owner and she confirmed that they were in fact a vegan company based in Montreal who make stylish faux leather bags.

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Matt & Nat was started by Montreal-based designer Inder Bedi in 1997. With offices now in England and Canada, and a new line of vegan footwear, Matt & Nat is growing rapidly in the world of future-forward vegan fashion.

I am not interested in fanning the flames of another heated environmentalist debate on the pleather vs. leather argument. Despite the fact that pleather isn’t particularily environmentally friendly, I understand all about the energy intensive practice of raising animals. I also understand leather can be viewed as a by-product. Additionally, from a cruelty-free perspective there is no argument. I respect anyone’s right to stand wherever they may on the issue. I will side with style… and these bags have plenty!

Not only are they well designed, but they are a little easier on the pleather wallet than the aforementioned Stella McCartney bags. I knew our resident vegetarian editor-in-chief would be pleased, so I am sure there are many other vegans out there that will also be happy with these stylish bags. However, we do not live our lives in neat categories of vegan or environmentalist, so I guess my only comment would be, why make the debate about leather vs. pleather? I think matt & nat could make perfectly beautiful bags without either leather or the polyvinylchloride and polyurethane that they currently use. Why not hemp, linen or organic twills lined with recycled nylon or cotton? I suppose the non-eco vegan is their target audience. That is a shame, because that bag had me at hello, but the only thing that came home with me was my lovely, soy candle.

+ matt & nat

Available online and at vegan haven Mooshoes in NYC.