Published 22 January 2017 ● Last Updated on 30 September 2020

I spent a large part of my working life (if 13 out of 16 counts)in the finance industry in Asia . As a natural consequence, one went through the motions of aspiring for and owning a few of the go-to designer bags in one’s personal collection. More recently, my role as the co founder of Secondsguru, has seen the addition of a few simple yet beautiful eco friendly bags to the collection. And I still happen to have a dream list of few top of the line(usually in the least at 1/10th the price of the designer bags) environmentally friendly bagsCome on, a girl is allowed to aspire/wish for pretty things!

Here is my dream list- When you go through these 8 gorgeous bags, you will see the wide variety that is out there in the not-so- expensive, yet a treat for the the eyes, eco bags space today. The best part, most of the brands producing these are supporting social causes in addition to watching out for the environment. So you do your bit if you buy one of these.

1. Scratch shoulder bag by Smateria

Priced at SG$ 35-42.50(after a 50% discount), Buy here

smateria upcycled fish net bags, eco friendly, secondsguru
Image Credit: Black and white trading, Singapore

You would not believe this, but this classy looking bag is made by upcycling fishing nets and leather from old motorcycle seats. Smateria, is a brand owned by two passionate European ladies based in Cambodia who train and employ local Cambodians to create products while also providing for their children and family. The Scratch bags are selling at a 50% discount currently, so buy your favourite size and color now!

2. Mochila Unicolor bags by Kolombiana

Priced at Sg$ 179, Buy here

collage kolombiana wayuu tribe secondsguru
Image Credit: Kolombiana, Singapore

These bright and colorful bags are handmade a tribe called WAYUU in Colombia (South America) . The shoulder straps are long enough to be worn as a sling bag or cross body! That I love the colors and sturdiness of this 100% cotton bag holds true beyond doubt, but additionally I admire the brand as it provides a sustainable livelihood to these women and their families.  It takes around a 1 month to finish one such bag- each of which is one of a kind.

3. Naya bag by Threadapeutic

Priced at SG$ 48-50(approx) , Email at to place orders

eco bags , upcycled fabric bags, Threadapeutic secondsguru
Image credit: Threadapeutic

The stylish NAYA bag is made by upcycling coffee bean sacks. It is patched with faux chenille applique created from upcycled fabric scraps. I just love the magical transformation done by Hana Surya and her team in converting waste material to this stunning conversation piece. If you like the Naya bag, have a quick look at the Faye clutch( Cost: SG$ 80) also made by upcycling fabric. Each side of the clutch has a different pattern, it just depends on where you look at it from.

4. Ohara Natural Bag by Matt and natt

Priced at US$ 98, buy here 

cork bag matt and nat secondsguru
Image Credit: Matt and Nat

When a brand says that its inception was  inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure in order to explore the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other, you can’t help but wanting to know more. And that’s exactly how it happened with me. I came across this brand on the e-commerce site ASOS, and then landed on their parent website. My pick of this collection is the delicious Ohara Natural bag is made by using recycled cork. The lining used in the bag is made from fabric created by recycling plastic bottles. There is no leather or any other animal-based material used in these bags.

5. Color blocking tote by Landfill dzine

Priced at US$ 34.97(plus 12 $ shipping), Buy here

landfill dzine secondsguru upcycled bags stylish
Image Credit- landfill Dzine

Looking for a bag that is extremely versatile and stands out. Look no further, this satchel bag with color blocking can be used as a tote or a cross body satchel. I love the color blocking chic finish of this bag made by – hold your breath- upcycling used irrigation hose pipes. What I love even more is that it looks as good as a leather bag and at the same time, is waterproof.

6. Seek wander share Caoba tote

Priced at US$ 195, buy here 

Caoba bag secondsguru seek wander share
Image Credit: Seek, wander, Share

This bright tote bag is made by artisans in Guatemala using ethically sourced leather, cotton and wood. These artisans use a traditional loom to do the exquisite embroidery by hand. The Caoba is brought to us by seek,wander,share -a socially conscious online store which seeks to make the lives of the artisans who create them better and keep the ages old skills alive. It is on my personal ‘dream bags’ list for the longest time. I am just sharing the love :-).

7. bez & oho Market bag

Price US$ 85.99, buy here

bez and oho upcycled rice sack bags, secondsguru
Image credit-

Handmade in Hong Kong, this colorful and vibrant bag is made by upcycling used rice bags and fabric scraps. The finishing is top of the class with the fabric lining on the inside and the tassel on the outside- all made of scraps. It’s water proof too- so ideal for the often unannounced rains if you live in Singapore!

8. The Cooper Bag by Krochet Kids

Priced at US$ 98 , buy here

cooper bag krotchet kids secondsguru
Image Credit: Krotchet Kids

This cool travel bag is made in Peru by sourcing raw materials – cotton, canvas, yarn- from there. The leather straps used are 100% vegan. The bright panels are hand knitted using machines which weave the colors and patterns to make a fashion statment that will make you stand out in a crowd. What is truly special is that  if you buy a krotchet kids bags, you will know who made your bag by the name on the label. You can choose to learn more about the person who made it if you want to find out. In case you are looking for a knapsack to carry your laptop on travels then you can look at the Brooklyn bag too.  

Are there any environmentally friendly bags or bags with a social mission that I have missed? I am quite certain I have. Or better still have you recently upcycled something to make a bag? Please email us on to spread the “Eco bags love “and we will share the three best ones with our readers on FB and Instagram, tag you on it of course! Look forward to your replies.




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