Here at Vilda, one of our passions is discovering new, eco-friendly materials to wear instead of animal skins: fabrics that are sustainable, adaptable and ethical. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for brands who go above and beyond in their search for innovative materials for a new age of luxury. One of those brands is Melbourne-based Nina Bernice, which creates a range of vegan-friendly bags made with cork.
“My idea to start a sustainable brand stemmed from one goal and that is to embrace an overall conscious lifestyle”, says founder Nina. “Nina Bernice, as a brand, hopes to evoke this mindset by showing the kind of materials used for our bags. By utilising materials that are environmentally friendly, our carbon footprint is much lesser than counterparts that use leather, for example. Over the decades, the earth has gone through many exploitations due to commercialisation and that includes man’s demand for luxury. This has lead to an innumerable supply of goods, such as leather bags, that use harmful chemicals for tanning and thus, are hazardous to the people that make them as well as to the environment. Not to mention, cows, alligators, ostrich, and even kangaroos have to be killed in the process. We don’t want that. Therefore, we promote being mindful even in the little things we can do to help reduce carbon footprint by the kind of bags we carry.”
The material is harvested from cork trees in Portugal without any environmental damage. The tree remains healthy after harvest and is able to regenerate the production process of cork.
Cork is waterproof and abrasion-resistant, making it very durable and perfect for everyday endeavours. Each bag is lined with unbleached cotton.
“Cork is surprisingly very versatile and impermeable and can be used for a variety of things such as wine stoppers, boards, or even flooring,” says Nina. “Thus, we chose this material for our bags because it is waterproof, durable and need not to be conditioned (unlike leather). The cork tree regenerates cork after it is harvested, making it a renewable and sustainable material. Apart from that, its unique texture and patterns allows for it to easily look stylish.”
As a brand, Nina Bernice is passionate about giving back – the brand collaborates with WeForest, a reforestation charity working in Asia, Africa and South America, on a project where for every bag sold, a tree is planted in India. According to Nina Bernice, this charity project is “a way of giving back to mother nature”.
The range consists of three designs: the Cate clutch, the Natalie crossbody and the Olivia tote, priced between $99 and $189. Each of these accessories is a perfect blend of function and style, easy to match and an ideal companion for everything from a day at the office to Saturday night cocktails.
In the launch video below, we see the collection out and about in beautiful Melbourne – a very suitable backdrop for what is a fresh and exciting take on classic design with an ethical twist.
See the collection here.
This post has sponsored content. All photo and video materials courtesy of Nina Bernice.