How to make affordable, eco-friendly purses from apples

So many reasons to love this time of year, but from my point of view, one of the best is that apple season is upon us. Because of the bounty, from now until Christmas I’ll munch my way through a mountain of what Thoreau called the noblest of fruits – Mac, Cortland, and my personal fave—Russets. This fall, though, there’s another apple-adjacent harvest I’m watching. It’s a new crop of affordable, eco-friendly handbags from Riona made from apple skin, using a patented technology that results in a highly durable, sustainable, and soft manufactured leather.

The PETA-certified purses are made with vegan components and lined with recycled bottles. The models shown below are just a glimpse of Riona’s huge selection of well-designed vegan leather bags. And I do mean huge selection—as there’s everything from cross-bodies of every size to totes to clutches to knapsacks to belt bags to satchels to laptop bags. You will absolutely find what you need.

A handbag for every taste and purpose

Colour choices are inspired. Right now I’m eyeing an Allie Crossbody Bag in a cheery tangerine, and a Samantha cross-body bag in blue.

Well-designed handbags – inside and out

I love that the removable body straps are long enough that you can set the purse to sit on your body wherever is comfortable for you. Crisp gold detailing is one reason these affordable handbags punch above their price point, as they add polish and detail. I love the little bird-topped logo that hangs from a  classic gold chain on all the bags. The liner is attractive and hard-wearing and there are convenient pockets and closures.

An affordable handbag will last longer if you:

  • Clean it periodically and whenever a spill or stain happens. Use warm-ish water and gentle soap on a clean cloth, and then dry it thoroughly with a soft clean cloth.
  • Don’t overload it. Doing so will push it out of shape and put strain on fastenings and straps.
  • Empty your purse once a week, just to make sure there’s no unwrapped candy or uncapped pen deep in its depths that could wreak havoc with the lining.

I have owned and gifted a few of these bags, and I think they are a great combination of style, value, and sustainability. The earliest bag from this line I have is a tote with a lining made from post-consumer plastic bottles and gilded components in high-grade, long-lasting zinc that won’t tarnish. About ten bottles are recycled—and saved from landfill and ocean—for each monogram Jacquard lining, eliminating plastic which would otherwise end up in landfills. Eco-friendly glue is used. The one I own is about three seasons in, and is in great shape.

Available exclusively at Bentley stores nationally and online at Riona.

Sustainable style

According to an excellent article by Sustainably Chic, the process of using apples originates in northern Italy, where apple residue (skin, stem and fibre) from the abundance of local apples being used for various purposes is dried and reduced to powder. Once processed, the raw material is combined with polyurethane, then laminated to a recycled cotton/polyester fabric. The piece makes a solid argument made here for the sustainability of vegan or manufactured leather, and Fashion Takes Action takes a closer look at the future of human-made leathers.

PS: How cool is this news of the first completely plastic-free, manufactured leather!

Eliminating materials made of fossil fuels should be the ultimate goal

Vicky Sanderson

A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind.

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