A Chat with Jessica Kruger, Founder at Sustainable Fashion Accessories Company: LUXTRA

LUXTRA is a sustainably-minded fashion accessories company that uses really innovative materials such as apple, pineapple and cactus-based vegan “leathers”. A London-based company, all products are manufactured in Italy and the range includes bags, backpacks, wallets and other small accessories.

Oh! And we’re a proud B Corp as we place a huge emphasis on maintaining top-notch environmental and social standards. The company launched in late 2018.
 
 
LUXTRA | 100% Vegan Bags | Sustainable | Ethical
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
The idea for LUXTRA came to me whilst I was running my first business, ETHOS, a central London plant-based restaurant that opened in 2014. I started the restaurant because I wanted to encourage people to eat less meat by making the experience delicious and chic, so no one would “miss the meat” – “vegan” was still a dirty word back then! So nice to see how the times have changed… and so quickly.

My approach with LUXTRA is very similar – just in a new industry. Food and fashion are two of my big passions in life. I was living a meat-free life, so when I started looking at my clothes (well… mainly my handbags) I felt so guilty about wearing leather. There was Stella McCartney of course, at a luxury price point, but no other brand “owned” the accessible-luxury space.

So, this is how I moved on to create LUXTRA. The vision is to create beautiful pieces that are crafted with the most eco-friendly materials, with the overall goal of leading the fashion industry to change its harmful practices.

I am dedicating my life to working for causes that I deeply care about – I can’t work for a company that isn’t making a difference. I’m hard working, so I want that hard work to be for something “good”… not just to feed the system and make others wealthy at the expense of the planet and the creatures living on it. I’m a greenie at heart, can you tell?
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
Erm… well it’s been a slog, I can say that.

I’ve experimented with new product categories (T-shirts for example) but with mixed success. In April 2020 we became a certified B Corporation, which was such an important achievement for LUXTRA.

On the other hand, I scaled back the number of people I work with in order to preserve cash. Apart from that, it’s really been the same focus on making LUXTRA better, day by day: making products that both customers love and that are as light on the planet as possible.
 

What can we hope to see from LUXTRA in the future?

 
Hopefully, more beautiful pieces being worn on more people’s shoulders!

At present, our focus is increasing distribution so that we can be more commercial and thus have more of an impact on the fashion industry.

I’m also really excited to start working with the newest eco-friendly materials that are coming onto the market – some are made from 100% plants (or so they say!).

Finally, I’m really passionate about moving the brand towards a circular business model (the circular economy is about nothing ending up in landfill) so we have a way to go before we can be truly circular…, but it’s a very good challenge we’ve set ourself!