In the spirit of Veganuary, Backstage Tales brings you seven of our favourite fashion brands that pride themselves upon using vegan-friendly materials in the effort to reduce harm to animals and increase our planet’s sustainability.
Between 2012 and 2017, individuals transitioning to veganism has quadrupled. Last year, the UK developed more vegan products than any other country, and to add to this, over half of Brits have adopted some sort of vegan buying behaviour.
Based on internet searches alone, veganism is almost three times more popular than gluten free and vegetarian enquiries as people are becoming more conscious to what they eat, and in this case, what they wear.
Not only do materials such as leather, fur, wool, cashmere cause animals to suffer, they also pollute the planet and can endanger worker’s health too. Spreading from the kitchen to the wardrobe, many fashion brands have started to embrace vegan materials and cruelty-free practices, so let’s take a look at the coolest vegan fashion brands around right now:
Stella McCartney stands out as one of the few luxury fashion brands that has pushed the boundaries to make beautiful products that are also sustainable and harm-free. The brand use leather alternatives such as recycled polyester which has twenty-four less times of a negative impact on the environment.
Stella McCartney has been using the break-through material alter-nappa for their shoes and bags since 2013. The material is made from polyurethane and recycled polyester, which reduces the amount of petroleum used in products. The products are coated with a solution made from 50% renewable and natural vegetable oil. All products are also made without solvents, making it far safer for the workers.
McCartney is always at fashion’s forefront, and we hope she has set the trend in making more globally renowned designers take note and begin reconsidering their uses of non-vegan materials.
Matt and Nat
Matt and Nat, named after Material and Nature, are an accessories brand that are committed to abolishing the use of leather and any animal based products within their designs. The company have experimented with different recycled materials to produce their merchandise, some of which include recycled bottles, bicycle tyres, rubber and cardboard.
Founder Manny Kohli say the brand are constantly challenging themselves with innovative ways of sourcing materials, with the goal of having a brand associated with quality and durability. The company motto is “Live Beautifully” as the brand’s ethos revolves around appreciating the world around us.
The ‘Hope Bag’ (pictured right) donates 100% of the proceedings to a charity of the customer’s choice and better yet, the brand is easy to get hold of as it is now stocked in stores such as John Lewis, Urban Outfitters and ASOS.
Koi Footwear believe that we shouldn’t have to compromise our love for animals for shoes. The brand is 100% PETA approved meaning that they work closely with their factories to make sure that their vegan-friendly policy is met through vigorous checks and product sampling. Koi have some seriously quirky shoe designs at affordable prices which just goes to show that you can be both on trend and environmentally-friendly.
If you love the look of natural fur but do not want to contribute to the harmful effects of it, look no further – Furamur create faux fur deigns that are washable, creaseless, waterproof and just as warm as natural furs.
Not only do the company have a vast range of silhouettes and colours, you can also tailor-make your own coat online to fit your aesthetic needs and personal measurements, so it is an opportunity for you to be the designer and curate a beautifully unique piece.
One of my personal favourites Dr Martens have launched a vegan range of the 1460 boot and 1461 shoe. Both styles are made from a synthetic material which is soft and supple, making their faux-leather range look just like the rest of their non-vegan products. All the products are sewn together and heat-sealed, which makes Dr Martens much more durable than many other shoe brand constructions that use glue. Dr Martens also stock a vegan satchel and rucksack too.
Although the brand do use leather in many of their products, the company say that they are committed to exploring opportunities to enhance the sustainability of their products as well as reducing their negative carbon footprint on the environment.
Dr Marten also state that all of their leather is sourced responsibility and that they do not use animal fur, endangered species and exotic animals to make their products.
Mashu is an accessories label that sell stylish arm candy that not only looks bespoke, but is vegan too.
The luxurious bag designs are inspired by the art deco movement and are produced using 100% recycled materials. The products use a leather alternative called Pinatex, which is a natural material made from pineapple fibres. The brand also re-purposes pieces of scrap wood from a local furniture company that would otherwise be thrown away.
Vaute Couture – the name being a play-on of “vegan” and “haute couture” – are a fashion brand that are dedicated to taking animals out of the equation. The label works with high-tech mills across the globe to use organic and recycled fibres that produce amazingly warm coats, sweaters, gowns and swimwear. The signature “Vaute Winter Coat” pictured is just as warm as Canada Goose but without the infamous cruelty that comes with one of their garments.
We think it is awesome that more and more brands are producing vegan products in order to contribute to a more sustainable future. We’d love to hear about your favourite vegan fashion brands in the comments below.
Text: Chloe Humphries
Images: Vautecouture, Urban Outfitters, Furamur, Koifootwear, Mashu, Abouther, Velvety, Free People, Matt and Nat, PETA