Designer Laura de Waal’s vision in starting cruelty-free handbag brand Veggani was born out of the idea of creating sleek, high-quality handbags that don’t compromise on ethics but instead promote them – the brand believes in “protection of people, animals and the planet.” . That means using animal-friendly faux leather and fur, innovative first-rate materials that are sustainable, recycled and repurposed. Another thing the brand doesn’t skimp on is quality: when holding a Veggani bag, it’s easy to notice how well-made the range is, from the resistant materials to the sleek, supple textures.
One of my favorite things about Veggani is the metal hardware that can be seen on many of the handbags. This hardware is created using recycled aluminum from Vietnam war era bombs, made by artisans in a remote village in the Khouang Province in Northern Laos. Because of the Vietnam War, Laos is the most bombed country per capita in the world. Investing in the artisans who create this hardware does double duty in its goodness: it helps to clear farmlands of this ugly reminder of war and gives new financial sustainability to the communities involved.
The Maya, in black, is my favourite from the collection – it’s really beautiful and well made. As someone who knows the art of overpacking a bag, I can confirm that the amount of stuff you can pack into it and have it still look great is quite substantial!
The landscape where we chose to shoot the Veggani handbags was essential. It needed to be an environment the bags looked at home in. These bags are made to move with you now, throughout your day, but they also embody a style that is timeless. Our answer to that contrast is the NYC Transit Museum, where NYC subway cars from the start of the last century to the present are just waiting to be ridden again.
Joan and David are quite the dream team to work with. David Zheng is a name you should get used to hearing for fashion photography. His remarkable ability to capture the feelings of the people he shoots as well as the physical spaces made him a perfect choice for this shoot. Joan La’s enthusiasm, like her sense of style, is wonderfully contagious. For anyone who still carries the misinformed thinking that vegan clothing mean sacrificing style, or that #whatveganswear is mostly crunchy hemp items, one glance at Joan’s style blog A Cup of Joan quickly changes that viewpoint. This girl is chic with a capital C.
The combination of Veggani bags, Joan and David make for a perfect shoot day – and with the museum as a unique backdrop, we set off to create an atmosphere that was vintage and current at the same time.
Faux fur: Unif (similar here)
Vegan leather jacket: Unif
Scarves: Djuna Shay SS17
Skirt and top: model’s own
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