How This Vegan Designer Handbag Brand is Saving the Planet And Empowering Women — All At the Same Time

This article is brought to you in collaboration with NOIRANCA.

If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that not all sustainable brands are made equal.

As our collective climate anxiety continues to grow, so do the instances of greenwashing.

But designer handbag brand NOIRANCA is determined to do things differently, to do things right.

A Different Type of Vegan

The brand, which exclusively makes vegan leather bags, has dedicated itself to doing everything it can to minimize its impact on the environment.

Rono Zhang, the mastermind behind NOIRANCA, said,

“To us, ‘vegan leather’ is not just a term, it’s a life-long commitment.”

He added,

“Witnessing environmental issues coming up one after another, we would like to take a different, greener approach to fashion. In making our bags no real animal leather is used. We instead opt for our PETA-Approved Vegan Leather, making sure no animals are harmed.”

vegan leather bags
courtesy NOIRANCA

The PETA-Approved Vegan Leather they use is unlike any other vegan leather on the market. The leather is made of 58% recycled materials and contains zero volatile organic compounds. Meanwhile, most other synthetic leathers use plastic-based materials that release toxins into the environment during the manufacturing process.

Being an ethical, sustainable brand was something that was key to the founding of NOIRANCA.

Rono explained,

“We started with a different vision in making vegan leather bags with full-on sustainability, transparency, and traceability.”

The brand lives by the ancient principle of Ahimsa, which advocates for non-violence, and is 100% against animal cruelty. Every decision NOIRANCA makes is intended to reduce their harm to the environment, including their packaging.

Paying Homage to Strong Women Everywhere

In addition to their commitment to sustainability, NOIRANCA is also committed to empowering the women they design for.

Rono said,

“To us, fashion is telling a different story. Not only are we paying tribute to the inspiring stories of females in our designs, but we are also collecting and sharing stories from women of all kinds and presenting them all to the world.”

vegan leather designer handbags
couresy NOIRANCA

He added,

“Our designers draw inspiration from the inspiring stories of iconic women in history and the present. Paying homage to these legends with our designs, each bag channels the spirit of these women. These women are unique, so are our bags — by putting an unexpected spin on handbag shapes, we are creating one-of-a-kind and sustainable staples for women. It’s not just a bag, but a vessel that carries profound stories and the feminine experiences.”

NOIRANCA’s designs feature sleek, architecture bags that are both completely unique and instantly iconic at the same time. Every one of their designs comes in colors like dusty rose, brown, olive green, and maya blue, allowing women to find the perfect bag that suits their personal style.

Honoring Afro-Textured Hair

If it wasn’t already clear by now, NOIRANCA is committed to doing good in this world — and not just exclusively through their handbags.

The brand is also using its platform to empower Black women through its Black Salon campaign.

Rono explained,

“For a long history, Black hair has been associated with bad branding. ‘Nappy’, ‘wooly’, and ‘unprofessional’ are some of the words associated with the afro. Such ideology is so deeply rooted that even some Black people are subject to such white-dominated culture, where straightening their hair is a normal routine.”

vegan leather designer handbags
courtesy NOIRANCA

He continued,

“In fact, Black natural hair is beautiful and empowering, and Black women shouldn’t be ashamed of their natural hair. The bad stereotypes are most definitely not what afro hair deserves. And that’s why we utilized our platform to showcase the beauty of Black hair, in hopes of empowering other Black women to embrace themselves — just as our brand motto.”

The result is a gorgeous editorial campaign that features three different natural hairstyles paired with NOIRANCA’s sustainable bags, which are each aptly named after iconic women: Patti, Grace, Alice, Amanda, and Debbie.

The unique, architectural shapes of the bags complement the natural hairstyles in a way that makes an empowering statement on the strength, resilience, and diversity of women. The unique combination of the hairstyles and bags highlights the liberation, joy, and power that lies in afro-textured hair as a way to celebrate and empower Black women.

vegan leather designer bags
courtesy NOIRANCA

Rono said,

“The intricacy of afro styles is astonishing for the sculpture capability of Black hair is limitless — it’s all about creativity, cultural sensibility, and pride. Thus, as a brand that embraces diversity, we created our own version of an afro hair salon with an artistic touch, featuring special and over-the-top styles that encapsulate the essence, if not the empowerment, of Black hair.”

To learn more about the Black Salon campaign, head to NOIRANCA’s journal here.

If you’d like to shop NOIRANCA’s beautiful collection of bags — which comes in the colors dusty rose, brown, olive green, and maya blue — head to its website here.

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.