When I wrote a post almost two years ago on made-in-the-US alternatives to the Madewell Transport Tote there weren’t as many great options available as there are today, and I’ve also received so many amazing reader suggestions it was beyond time for an update and some additions.
My original goal with the post was to provide more sustainable* alternatives to the super-popular Madewell Transport Tote that were similar in style & price – less than $200 – but made much more responsibly (in the US, and/or vegetable-tanned leather, handmade by independent artisans, etc.). For more details on why not Madewell, please see the original post. And for some vegan bags and non-leather brands I like (not necessarily only totes) please take a look at this post.
Below I’ve featured my favorite under $200, more responsible alternatives to Madewell’s “classic” transport tote. And then, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, I’ve also featured some beautiful leather totes that are over $200, featuring more details, and luxury finishes.
1. Cuyana (made in the US) | $175
2. Nisolo JoAnne Tote (made in Peru) | $178
3. Baggu basic leather tote (made in the US) | $160
4. Fleabag (made in the US) | $195
5. fashionABLE Mamuye tote (handcrafted in Ethiopia) | $178
6. Frank Clegg large leather tote (made in the US) | $700
7. The Stowe Katie tote (made in Canada) | $360 at Garmentory (use my referral link for a $20 credit)
8. Clare V. La Tropezienne 8″ (made in the US) | $425 new (I have one of these going up in SLOWRE very soon!!)
9. Lotuff medium leather tote (made in the US) | $725
10. Wood & Faulk structured leather tote (made in the US) | $395
More excellent options, some mentioned above, some not:
Portland Leather Goods | $110, all made in the US
FashionABLE – made in Africa
Cuyana – some styles are made in Argentina, some in Italy
Everlane – made in Italy
Whipping Post – not clear where the bags are made actually…
Nisolo – Made in Peru
Leah Lerner (made in Israel)
The Stowe (made in Canada) – very sturdy, more structured leather bags
Wood and Faulk
Please leave more brand/designer suggestions in the comments if you have them! Also reviews if you have any of the bags mentioned above (I know some of you have fashionABLE & Cuyana bags), and any other input you’d like to add.
Personally, I have an Everlane Petra tote that has served me very well, and a black tote by Admonish which is my almost-every-day bag. I’m considering buying the Cuyana zip top leather tote for travel though, since neither of my current totes have closures. Does anyone have that? What are your thoughts?
*what is sustainable??
Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility. – wikipedia