Review: Handcrafted Vegan Leather Bags | BELLA by emma

Finding good vegan leather bag brands can be challenging. The bags are either of poor quality because they’re yet another fast-fashion product, or they may be decent but their brand’s “premium” products are real leather.

Let’s also not forget this scenario: you stumble upon a dedicated “our bags are made of vegan leather” brand, but the designs just look … old. You know, the kind that makes you look like you’re entering retirement age.

At BELLA by emma, the designers are (1) two young women, (2) they love animals, especially bunnies, and (3) their products are made of vegan leather!

So, read on for my detailed review on product quality, design, and everyday use. (This is not an affiliated post. I bought the bags on my own.)

About BELLA by emma

Based in Singapore, BELLA is a fashion brand founded by Emily and Magdalene (their names combine to form the word “emma”.)

All business processes, including designing, material procurement, marketing, and photoshoots are done in-house by them.

The usage of vegan leather is inspired by the love for their rabbits, Ash and Marshmallow. Their brand’s logo also shows a little lop bunny!

This small business roundup gives more details about BELLA by emma’s story.

Recently, BELLA started to offer international shipping. Needless to say, this is where I immediately swooped to their website to buy the bags I had my eye on ever since I wrote the roundup article and followed their Instagram: the Soleil structured camera bag (vegan leather) and Darin canvas bag.

Review: Soleil Structured Camera Bag (Black)

One of the earliest BELLA products, the Soleil camera bag is handcrafted with vegan leather. It comes in 3 colors: sombre black, sunshine yellow, and shy bloom.

women's black camera bag with gold chain and black satin twilly, white brick background

Thoughts on Bag Design

The Saffiano-textured vegan leather is sturdy but has a flexible softness to it.

The bag is fully lined. Inner linings are a rarity for women’s bags at this price range, so it greatly added to the overall quality and feel of the bag.

The satin ribbon at the handle can be removed. Without a twilly, the bare belt handle gives a subtle grunge vibe, creating a stylish contrast against the petite look of the bag.

The gold chain strap is also removable, so you can use Soleil as a cute handbag or casual crossbody.

Thoughts on Bag Practicality

I usually take the Soleil bag when I’m going out for meals or leisure activities. After placing my iPhone 13, wallet, and reusable bag, I can even fit in a 250ml bottle if I’m planning to go for a solo karaoke session (and don’t want to spend extra on beverages, heh.)

BELLA by emma’s website and Instagram has a series of “What Can You Fit?” videos to demonstrate the size of their bags.

The Soleil bag is incredibly versatile and goes perfectly with outfits for all occasions. A casual outing with your friends? Functional accessory for semi-formal events? All checked!

If you’ve ever been tempted by the classic, black-with-gold-chain bag design on social media, this is your sign to get BELLA’s Soleil camera bag.

Review: Darin Canvas Bag (Red Velvet)

At the time of writing, the Darin canvas bag is the latest product from BELLA by emma. It’s made with water-repellent canvas and comes in 4 colors: oreo, latte, forest green, and red velvet.

hand holding red canvas bag

Thoughts on Bag Design

The canvas is sturdy, which gives the Darin bag a neat, fixed shape. It won’t crumple sideways or look flimsy when you place it down.

The strap can be adjusted easily. As you walk around, carrying stuff here and there, it won’t loosen back to a longer length either. You can also choose to remove the strap to make it a handbag.

The magnet button works perfectly to close the bag. The magnet is quite strong and has a quality weight to it. It’s not the weak, feather-light kind. So, you don’t need to worry about your bag accidentally unsnapping.

Thoughts on Bag Practicality

I take the Darin bag when I head out to work at a co-working space, or when I’m planning to run errands while I’m out.

The numerous compartments and slots are brilliant, allowing me to organize my keys, phone cables, AirPods, and other miscellaneous but necessary items in the Darin bag.

The plus point about the compartments is that they’re all visible when you look down into the bag. No layers of hidden compartments and zips—those can be fun and satisfying to organize, but come with a 80% chance that you’ll end up forgetting where you kept that one or two items.

BELLA currently offers bundle sales for the Darin canvas bag. I went for the “Bundle of 2” selection with my sister.

Since I already have the black Soleil camera bag, I went for Red Velvet with the Darin one. I love the lively pop of color it gives to my outfits. My sister prefers versatility at all times, so she picked Forest Green.

Choose Ethical, Vegan Leather Bags

Technically, you can get faux leather bags from fast fashion stores. but for this low to mid-range price, you’ll encounter bags with no lining, raw-edge hems, zips that will get stuck when there’s an entire queue behind you, etc.

Not to mention the slightly wonky shapes some bags may have, even if they’re simply hanging on the shelves, untouched. All these, unfortunately, give vegan leather a bad name.

So, supporting small businesses and having a vegan leather bag that’s both functional and gorgeous is a win-win. I’m very happy with my purchase.

Check out BELLA by emma’s other bag designs and purses. They do name monograms for small items, too! One last word, how could you honestly not love that bunny logo?

Connect with BELLA by emma: Official website | Facebook | Instagram
Photographs by Denise Lim.


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Perromart Review 2020: Buying Pet Supplies from Perromart

To all the dedicated pet owners out there: food for our animals make up nearly 90% of pet expenses. Agree? If you have 3 cats (like me), don’t even get me started on daily supplies such as cat litter.

Good thing we recently discovered Perromart, an online pet supply store. We saved a lot just by switching where we got our dog and cat supplies.

Here’s an honest review of my Perromart experience, so you’ll have a clear look into the site’s pros and cons before buying from them!

Note: I’m not affiliated with Perromart Malaysia/Singapore in any way. The purpose of this blog post is merely to share info with my fellow fur parents out there!

A Review of Perromart: Pros & Cons

Continue reading “Perromart Review 2020: Buying Pet Supplies from Perromart”