7 Types of Handbag Fabrics and Materials

When it comes to fashion handbags, the material is the foundation. When designing handbags, designers must first choose the right material. Even the most elegant style can be overshadowed by the wrong material. Different types of bag materials are the basis for a variety of styles, so it’s important to be familiar with these options.

Here is a helpful list of the 7 most common bag materials.

Artificial leather – the most widely used fabric

PU leather and bag

In this article, we use artificial leather to represent PU leather, PVC leather, and vegan leather.

As a fashion handbag manufacturer with more than 10 years of experience, we can be said that more than 80% of fashion handbags are made of artificial leather.

Since artificial leather has different patterns (plain, embossed, snake, leopard, etc.), thickness, and dozens of colors, it is widely used in various handbags.

Whether it is a purse, backpack, cosmetic bag, or hobo bag, we can always find artificial leather.

Therefore, it can be said that artificial fabric is the most important and widely used fabric in handbags.

    Pros of artificial leather

  • Widely used: It can be used in different styles of purses, backpacks, and handbags
  • Good stability: printing, embroidery, laser, embossing, and other processes can be done on its surface
  • Looks and feels like real leather, but at a cheaper price
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Animal free

    Cons of artificial leather

  • Can crack and wear over time
  • Less durable than real leather only can use for 2-3 years
  • Microporous, less breathability than real leather
  • Doesn’t fold down for easy storage
  • Flammable
  • No stretchability
  • Creases easily

Genuine leather – the highest quality fabric

Genuine leather material and bag

Even after another 100 years, when it comes to handbag fabrics, genuine leather will always be our unavoidable choice.

Genuine leather is made of animal skin. Common leathers include cowhide, buffalo leather, and sheepskin. Higher-end genuine leathers include lizard skin, crocodile skin, snake skin, etc.

Genuine leather has always been synonymous with high-end brand handbags because of its soft touch, durability, and elegance.

Take a genuine leather bag is the right choice for a friend’s gathering, cocktail party, or friend’s wedding.

When it comes to genuine leather, another topic that cannot be avoided is the killing of animals. We all know that leather comes from animal skin, and each piece of leather represents a killed animal.

Hence the debate about which is better, real leather or vegan leather.

This debate will continue.

Related article: Vegan Leather VS. Genuine Leather

    Pros of genuine leather

  • Extremely durable and lasts 10-20 years
  • Resistant to tearing, stretching, and bending
  • High-temperature resistance, non-flammable
  • Good breathability

    Cons of genuine leather

  • Not waterproof, not moisture-proof
  • more expensive than other materials
  • need special care

Natural Biodegradable Materials (Straw & Rattan) – Top choice for pure environmentalists

Rattan material and straw bag

If you are a pure eco-fashionista, then you must have heard of straw bags or rattan bags, or are already using them.

Yes. The straw bags or rattan bags we are talking about are those fashionable handbags that use dry straw or rattan as raw materials and are woven by hand.

Typically, dried straw is used to weave beach bags, while dried rattan is more commonly found in picnic bags.

With a classic design, clean lines, and a natural rustic vibe, those woven bags are so stunning.

The most amazing thing is that they come from nature and can be completely degraded and returned to nature.

In the summer of 2023, bring a straw-woven beach bag and let us enjoy the summer sun together.

    Pros of natural biodegradable materials

  • 100% natural, pollution-free, biodegradable
  • Pure handmade

    Cons of natural biodegradable materials

  • The price is not very cheap because of the high labor cost
  • As the raw material is naturally grown, there may be imperfections on the bag.

Nylon – Popular for backpacks

Nylon fabric and backpack

When it comes to nylon material, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? My first thought was umbrellas.

The light, smooth, soft, and waterproof fabric on umbrellas is called nylon.

Nylon is widely used in backpacks, sports bags, and mountaineering bags because of its lightweight and low cost.

There are also some cheap women’s handbags made of nylon, such as hobo bags, and cross-body bags.

Nylon bags have two disadvantages: one is that if the quality is not good, it is easy to be torn. Another is that nylon bags wrinkle easily when squeezed and have little chance of recovery.

    Pros of nylon material

  • Lightweight
  • Cheap
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Fold down easily
  • Easy to clean

    Cons of nylon material

  • Not eco-friendly, petroleum products
  • Wrinkles easily
  • Poor sunlight resistance
  • Flame-resistant, but they can melt and attach to the skin


Canvas fabric and bag

Canvas is a knitted fabric, usually made of cotton or linen, woven through a plain weave.

Canvas is very durable and water-resistant, so it’s the reason most reusable shopping and grocery bags are made of it.

A simple canvas tote bag with different shapes and patterns on the surface is a fashionable decoration, and it can be matched with your casual clothes. On a relaxing day or weekend, take it and meet friends in a cafe.

Large-capacity, foldable, wear-resistant, and durable canvas bags are also one of the best choices for students to go to school.

    Pros of canvas material

  • Durable, wear-resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Normally cheaper than PU and leather
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Medium stretchability
  • Wrinkle-resistant, foldable

    Cons of canvas material

  • Heavy
  • Being stained easily
  • Normally shrink in the first wash
  • Fade in sunlight more easily than synthetic material


Denim fabric and bag

Denim, also called jeans, is a sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces a diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. While a denim predecessor known as dungaree has been produced in India for hundreds of years, denim as it is recognized today was first produced in Nîmes, France.

Denim fabric is widely used to make jeans, and jackets, but is now also widely used to make fashionable handbags, especially high street and motorcycle styles. Add a few buttons and a stylish zipper for the most stylish bag ever.

Denim is inexpensive, yet durable and easy to care for.

Whether you’re a travel freak, moto freak, or fashion freak, denim bags will keep you looking stylish.

    Pros of denim material

  • Washable
  • High breathability
  • Excellent wrinkle and abrasion resistance

    Cons of denim material

  • Not waterproof
  • Color usually fades with the first wash
  • Shrink but slowly
  • Not very elastic
  • Difficult to dry


Polyester fabric and bag

Also known as man-made polymers, polyester is an added thermoplastic made from petroleum, using polyester yarns and fibers, more common than other natural and synthetic materials, and more economical than man-made or real materials.

Available in textures ranging from rough to satin-smooth, this stretchy material is durable and chemically resistant.

Bags made from this material can hold bulky items and can be easily folded away for storage when not in use.

So, it’s easy to find this material in durable and affordable handbags and backpacks.

By the way, over 50% of retail clothing contains polyester.

      Pros of denim material

  • Cheap
  • Durable
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Able to hold bulky items
  • Can fold for storage

    Cons of denim material

  • Not waterproof
  • Flammable
  • Non-biodegradable


So far, we have learned about 7 common fabrics for handbags and recognized their advantages and disadvantages.

Now, you can choose the handbag in the material that best suits your style.

Let’s go.

We are Uncle Nine Leather, a leading handbag company in China, with rich experience in the handbag field, can provide you with professional service.

If you want to wholesale or customize any type of handbag, we can provide you with one-stop design, development, search, production, and shipping services. Please feel free to contact us.


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