I hate fake leather. I know that animal rights activists have a very good reason for preferring it, and I respect people like Stella McCartney, who have pledged not to ever use real leather in their work. Taking an ethical stand instead of a financial one is something that few people have the nerve to do. I won’t be buying those bags, and I’ll question their astronomical price points, but it doesn’t bother me in the least that they exist. Sometimes there are even design goals that physically can’t be met with a leather handbag, and I’m fine with that too.
What bothers me is when a brand like Chloe, which uses tons of leather, releases something like the extremely simple Chloe Faux Leather Tote and charges just shy of a thousand dollars for it. The bag is meant to look like leather, except without any of the luxury of fine leather or the ethical warm-fuzzies of buying something from Stella McCartney. So…what’s the point exactly?
I am such a fan of the creative direction that Chloe has gone in since hiring creative director Clare Waight Keller that a dud like this really disappoints me. It seems as though the prices for Chloe’s real leather bags might be on the rise, so are bags like this one intended to fill out the line’s price point at the lower end? If so, why not go the route that Bottega Veneta has recently chosen and introduce different, lower-cost leather variants? Chloe’s certainly made real leather bags at a circa-$1000 price point in the past.
If you’re vegan or don’t wear leather and want to buy a designer handbag, go to Stella. You’ll get a more interesting design, plus you’ll support a designer whose principles match your own. I’m not sure what kind of customer Chloe intends to reach with this bag, but it’s not anyone I know. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $995.