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.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • laura

    Even though the bag looks like real leather, I wouldn’t buy; it’s too simple. For that $ I would buy a LV Neverfull.

  • crazybaglady

    I’d be curious to know why anyone would plunk down a grand to buy a faux leather bag from Chloe- doesn’t make a whole lotta sense.

  • wyllow

    I’d be curious to know why anyone would plunk down a grand to buy a faux leather bag from ANYONE – doesn’t make a whole lotta sense.

    • femme

      why are you even here? in case you hadn’t noticed, this is a blog about expensive handbags.

      • wyllow

        Settle down. Did you read the article? And why do you care?

  • Silversun

    What I don’t get is the ethical doublethink that goes into buying a leather-look bag if you’re vegan/against leather. If the person on the street isn’t able to tell at a glance whether you’re carrying real or faux leather, how is that making a stand against the use of leather? If one is against leather, surely one shouldn’t be seen to be carrying leather, even if said “leather” is in reality faux? It just seems like perception is quite important in this.

    • I don’t think it’s done out of the desire to make a public statement, but rather out of the desire not to financially contribute or encourage the killing of animals. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian and wear plenty of leather, but I think that voting with your dollars is important when you have a problem with a company’s values or manufacturing processes.

    • nicegirlsfakeit

      I don’t imagine all people who choose to be vegans do so, just so the public will perceive them as vegans. Not all of them are red paint throwing, “I’d rather be naked than wear fur” type people. Not everyone wants to “take a stand”.

  • Grace

    I’d certainly buy this bag if it were real leather…

  • nicegirlsfakeit

    Clearly, where this bag is concerned, you are paying for the label. Not the bag.

  • Eleanor

    I’m going to be generous and argue that the bag is maybe designed to reach out to consumers who would normally go to Stella McCartney. It doesn’t have to be in-your-face ethical like McCartney to still have the “warm fuzzies,” IMHO, so maybe Chloe is trying to attract an alternative group of consumers who would avoid the leather line. It’s a way to make the brand more accessible (in the sense of appealing to vegetarians or vegans) without making it too accessible (the very high price tag).

  • Ahem. There’s a bag that’s “Chloe,” faux leather and better looking than this one, and it’s $10 on Canal street. Save your money, folks. If you want to go with a vegan lifestyle, then do it for yourself and your own principles. No use paying a grand so everyone ELSE can tell what your principles are. If you have that much money to throw away on an ugly bag, go donate to your local farmers market.

  • Becoming Vegan

    I do get it! The choice to purchase an expensive bag made of faux leather is sound. I applaude Chloe for creating an option. Stella McCartney is a great brand, but few of us chose to purchase from only one deisgner. Offering one or some faux leather options is akin to the food markets that began to sell a few organic food options years ago. The organic options were more expensive and often looked bad. Over time consumers spoke by buying them and asking for more. Chloe may find that once those loyal to their designs see that they have a non-animal product option, the market will justify produciton of more non-animal product options. A designer or a consumer can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Chloe loyal consumers now have a choice. There are many $1,000 items made by many designers with less utility and less beauty than the Chloe tote.