Sustainability is in Vogue right now, no really, Adelaide C. recently had its Spring-Summer 2021 collection featured in Vogue Italia. Adelaide Carta, founder and artistic director of the sustainable luxury handbag brand Adelaide C., has transformed the Italian fashion world, and she isn’t stopping any time soon. When we think of Italian fashion, we think luxury, chic, and refined. Adelaide C. is all of this, while also being vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-sustainable. It’s a brand that combines the concept of sustainability with the sleek, luxurious style that is Italian fashion, and we at Zoe Elle absolutely adore the vibrant, unique handbags. Think about it: Wouldn’t it be great to rock a guilt-free, high-end fuschia mini bag?

“10 years ago, there wasn’t much talk of vegan fashion yet, or at least not in Italian high fashion,” Adelaide tells us. “I decided to create my brand of vegan bags, proving the fact that ethics and aesthetics could be combined by proposing a fresh, modern, and intelligent product. Also, keeping inside values profound as respect for the planet earth, respect for animals, respect for the Italian workforce, and respect for our health.” 

But, what sets Adelaide C. handbags apart from other brands? “I was sure that the world — and even more, Italy, — was full of beautiful bags that were more unique than rare, but I felt I had to differentiate myself and create something that, in my opinion, still did not exist as I imagined it. I sensed a need in the market, which I tried to satisfy by creating my company.” And we can totally see that! Finding handbags that are high fashion, while also being sustainable, is rare indeed.

The Daily Maxi Bag is one of Adelaide’s favorite handbags that she’s designed. She describes it as “super spacious and sporty, [and] ideal for comfortable and practical daily use.” She’s also a huge fan of her shoulder bags and clutches, and this Piccola Marsupio Pochette can be used as both. We love versatility! Adelaide explains that she picks her favorite handbags based on which ones she feels represent her the most. This reminds us of what fashion is truly about: authenticity and liberation. We should always be wearing pieces that make us feel like ourselves. We can often look in the mirror wondering, Does this look good? Will people like this? Sometimes we value the opinions of others more than we value the authenticity of our own style, and that’s not okay. Here’s to being fashionably, unapologetically you!

When asked where she finds inspiration for her bags, Adelaide’s answer is absolute poetry. “Inspiration is everywhere,” she says. “It comes from a thousand streets. Sometimes from materials, other times from a mood. Or much more simply from an ancient tile that you accidentally step on by going to find those relatives you visit once a year.” 

And, what is the best part of her job? What keeps her motivated to run her business and design every day? “The result of my drawings, which are the manifestations of my being and my imagination,” Adelaide shares. “There is nothing more magical than drawing something that does not exist, and then being able to touch it to life thanks to the skilled hands of our craftsmen.” Wow, talk about finding your true calling!

Adelaide has a pretty clear view when it comes to the sustainable fashion business helping our environment. She says, “The act of purchasing can no longer be considered mere fun or entertainment, but now more than ever it must adopt a sense of intrinsic responsibility that can change the world. If we think about it, it is our small choices that create the world we live in. To think that every action is too small to create change would be like saying that all the information we acquire in our life is useless only because at the moment we learn it, it is still partial or incomplete.”

Is there not just something so fascinating about the way even just one action can change everything? This reminds us of the butterfly effect, and it’s kind of relieving to remember that even the little actions we take have large, positive effects on the Earth. Shopping sustainable, even just once, does make a difference. Saving the planet by shopping? Yes, please. 

In Italy, “‘Adelaide C.’ is selected from 2018 to 2020 for all seasonal editions of the Altaroma ‘Showcase’ event,” Adelaide says. “The ‘Adelaide C.’ fashion brand is chosen among many Italian Home-Product-Fashion designers, as an example of cultural, ethical, and innovative fashion design, both for aesthetics and for the conceptual evolution achieved. The biennial was open until January 2020 by tourists from all over the world.”

Adelaide C.’s success doesn’t stop in Italy, though. This brand walks the walk, proving that sustainable luxury fashion can have international success. Adelaide fills us in on some of the brand’s accomplishments outside of Italy. “In 2018 and 2019, [Adelaide C.] was chosen together with 29 other designers from all over the world for Helsinki Fashion Week: the first completely eco-sustainable fashion week in the world. In September 2019 we were presented at the first design Biennale in Porto, Portugal, which for its first edition hosted Italy as a pioneer of design.” We love to see eco-sustainable fashion winning!

Adelaide’s biggest challenge in her business was “creating an ethically correct but also cool and aesthetically-appealing product.” She tells us, “My challenge was to annihilate the trivial equivalence of ETHICS = ANTI-FASHION. I think I won it.” We absolutely agree. And, after browsing through the handbags on Adelaide C.’s online shop, we’re confident you’ll agree too. To stay updated on the brand’s journey, follow its Instagram.