What you wear says a lot about what you believe in.
Fashion-loving ladies know how much of a statement our handbag can say about our style, but what about our values? What we wear on our arms also says a lot about our ethics. When it comes to luxury handbags, leather has traditionally been preferred- for durability, style, tradition, and timelessness. But it’s also expensive and unfortunately [not often acknowledged] unethical when it comes to animal and environmental rights.
As a sustainable fashionista working her way towards a more minimal wardrobe, I love a sharp new accessory or handbag to liven up my closet. It’s also a great way to reinvent and extend the life of what you already own.
So what’s a girl to do who’s in the market for a trendy new handbag? And who’s ethics and love for the planet and animals are just as important as her eye for style?
Introducing Hozen, an LA-based brand combining ultra-chic style and cutting edge design with sustainability. Call it the luxury ‘leather goods’ brand of the future if you like- because we can only hope! Hozen is a vegan eco-friendly brand with purpose – many in fact. You’ll see just how purposeful founder Rae Nicoletti is in my interview below.
Aside from Hozen’s ethical and earth-friendly standards, the brand’s minimal yet fashion-forward aesthetic is meant to be a head-turner. And with so many styles it offers numerous wardrobe must-haves. My personal favorites are the belt bag (can be worn as a shoulder bag), the duffle, and the bucket bag.
All of their stylish handbags are constructed using one of two vegan options: Biopolyoil (grain-based, non-plastic) or PIÑATEX® (pineapple leaf fibers), both of which perfectly mimic the look and feel of a conventional leather’s texture.
Where Fashion & Ethics Meet
Hozen was born from the commitment to respect and protect the planet and build a sustainable accessories brand. They demonstrate the philosophy that doing good can look as good as it feels.
“WE LOVE FASHION—BUT WE LOVE THE EARTH, TOO. “ Hozen
Nicoletti started on the conventional side of fashion working on the creative team at Kate Spade for six years, but her good conscience got the best of her as she learned more about the leather goods industry. This insight even led her to become a vegan.
Along the way, she spent time researching upcycling leather discards, and prop styling. She eventually started a yearlong mentorship with an Hermés master artisan to learn the craft of hand leatherwork. The more she learned, the more convicted she became to embark on an eco-friendly leather goods brand.
Interview with Rae Nicoletti
In addition to being a vegan brand, what measures do you take to be sustainable in your production? And, where do you make the accessories?
We make our products with innovative and recycled materials. We source from factories with high standards of ethics and clean production processes. Our accessories are made in small batches at a family-run, fair-wage factory in Los Angeles. The Biopolyoil fabric is produced in Italy.
The Pineapple husks are sourced in the Philippines where the Pinatex is also produced. Additionally, we use a recycled plastic/organic cotton twill lining, 100% post-consumer recycled plastic zippers and thread, natural rubber, remnant rope, and recycled cotton labels. Hozen packaging and hangtags are also made from recycled paper.
What are the biggest risks in continuing to support the leather industry?
- Environmental toxicity – Toxic chemicals used in processing leathers are polluting our soil and waterways.
- Unethical working conditions – The chemicals used in tanneries are just one of the ways that the leather industry presents dangerous worker conditions.
- The Leather Industry – The demand on the leather industry continues to rise due to increasing consumer demand which puts further strain on the planet.
Read more about leather here.
Good design is sustainable. Can you tell us how your designs are particularly sustainable?
Hozen designs are eco-friendly in nature. I may get ideas and inspiration from current trends, but our aesthetic is practical, versatile and wearable; therefore it will have staying power in your wardrobe and that is innately a more eco-friendly choice.
What is your sustainable style advice to someone trying to curate a more sustainable closet?
- Secondhand is best. You find unique and one of a kind designs that not everyone has.
- Stick to basics that you’ll love for a long time.
- Choose from brands that produce small-batch, using eco-friendly materials, and made in the USA.
- Invest in one thing you really love with super high-quality.
You already have a growing celebrity following, including Miley Cyrus, Natalie Portman, and Laura Prepon. What’s one celebrity you would love to see wearing Hozen?
Gwyneth Paltrow is a big inspiration! I just love the whole Goop lifestyle.
Hozen is clearly more than a sustainable vegan accessories brand. You take additional measures to give back and use your fashion brand for good.
Yes. In fact, we donate 10% of our profits to Mercy For Animals. They are an advocacy group exposing the injustices of factory farming.
Also, our website is carbon neutral, and in the future we will be exploring additional ways to invest in more carbon offsets.
Take advantage of Hozen’s generous discount for Amare by Heidi readers only: Get 25% off with code hello25