English RetreadsSince Earth Day is upon us, let’s take a few minutes to think about what the future of eco-friendly fashion might be. Low-chemical tanning and hand-woven materials are all well and good, but there are a lot of smaller companies out there with new ideas and fresh takes on what exactly constitutes suitable handbag-making materials.

A company called English Retreads is pioneering the idea of taking used and recycled “vintage” rubber to make handbags with a tough, industrial edge. My favorite is the English Retreads Cruiser, a black hobo made out of reclaimed rubber from old inner tubes. It’s got a minimalist but edgy vibe to it, and the material makes it stand out from other bags. It’s certainly a far cry from the designer bags that you and I are familiar with, but it doesn’t lack style. Techniques and sourcing strategies like the ones used in this bag have yet to make their way into high-end bags, but things like these usually flow from a niche market to a more mainstream fascination, and you never know what may be around the corner from your favorite designer.
Buy through eBags for $49.99.

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