As opposition to the wasteful ‘fast fashion’ market grows, luxury brands such as Stella McCartney and Vaute Couture, as well as High Street chains like Boohoo, ASOS, HeartCure, Vandy World and WillowKnd are embracing recyclable, stylish and comfortable vegan alternatives.
Following London Fashion Week’s ban on fur on the catwalk, activists such as animal rights campaigners Leanne Mai-ly Hugert and Melie Bianco, who sell vegan handbags, and fashion brands such as Pinatex and VEERAH which featured at Los Angeles Fashion Week, are challenging the negative environmental and ethical effects of ‘fast fashion’, instead offering a ‘guilt-free’ shopping experience.
Innovations in materials are reacting to a consumer shift towards making sustainable and ethical purchases, and these natural alternatives are bringing a transformative influence to the market.
Developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, Pinatex uses pineapple leaves, commonly discarded as waste, to create a durable leather alternative. The pineapple leaves are stripped and turned into a non-woven mesh that becomes the foundations of the leather; additionally, the manufacturing process provides a second income for farmers.
Apples also feature in the list of vegan innovations. VEERAH is the world’s first brand to form a shoe collection solely (no pun intended) from apple peels. Following six years of extensive research by a selection of Parisian environmental scientists, the material behind the brand was finally engineered in 2016. Inspired by the Sanskrit word for warrior, VEERAH describes itself as a “mission-driven luxury shoe company’ designed for the ‘modern woman unafraid to take bold strides…paving the way for a new kind of luxury that is conscientious and cruelty-free.’
The environmentally friendly and cruelty-free vegan incentive to radically transform agricultural waste not only encompasses fruit farming. At the XXLab in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, women are using the liquid runoff formed in tofu production to produce a new soy leather. The soy leather, to be used for purses and shoes, avoids the toxic chemicals created during animal skin leather production which includes: heavy oils, dyes, cyanide-based pollutants and formaldehyde – often not disposed of properly.
Animal right organisation PETA runs an certification programme for 100 percent vegan retailers. In Europe, the PETA Approved Programme features fashion brands Adelaide C., an Italian brand creating a ‘new age’ of eco-friendly handbags; Anita Dongre, who through her brand initiative Grassroot, initiates employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled artisans in India; and BlanLac, a Luxembourg brand visioning the ‘timeless ethical shoe’.
Coming to London on Saturday 10th August, the second Bare Fashion event will present the UK’s only 100 percent vegan Catwalk and Fashion show, as well as hundreds of new brands of vegan clothes, shoes, bags, skin care, makeup, hair care and more. Tickets start from £16.58, with VIP tickets at £53.89 promising front-row catwalk seats, a VIP lounge, unlimited Miiro ice-cream, One Planet pizza and a goodie bag worth £50. More details from www.barefashion.co.uk.