When Toronto designer Ela Aldorsson launched her eponymous handbag line nine years ago with the MILCK clutch — an acronym for her purse essentials: money, ID, lipstick, cellphone and keys — the goal was to offer luxurious, timeless accessories that were more accessibly priced than the typical, four-figure designer handbag.
Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Meghan Markle snapped up Ela’s Italian-leather, made-in-Europe clutches and crossbody bags for both red-carpet appearances and everyday errands (stars, they’re just like us!). Fashion circles took note, too: Aldorsson, who had worked in PR at Burberry and Hermès previously, won the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Accessory Designer of the Year award in 2018.
This year she decided it was time for a relaunch. On sale starting today, all of its styles — from the bestselling editors pouches and saddle bags — are made with vegan leather. It's more sustainable and also more wallet-friendly for consumers. "It's a big shift for us," Aldorsson tells Refinery29, noting Ela's lower-priced items were the top sellers, so it made sense to cater to these buyers. "But now we're able to offer the same aesthetic and brand experience, at a much more approachable price point, so a lot more women can enjoy the products." The most expensive style from the new Ela vegan leather collection, a large tote, is priced at $138.
According to Aldorsson, the company is focused on becoming more sustainable, reducing plastic packaging and its carbon footprint. And, by next spring, every bag will be lined with a textile made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.