Most people know that fur and leather are a big no-no for the vegan fashionista, as are all forms of wool (including shearling, angora, alpaca, and cashmere), down, and silk. It wasn’t that long ago that finding trend led animal friendly fashion was almost as rare as the sighting of a unicorn; now everyone from high end designers to the high street have embraced vegan fashion.
There are so many incredible alternatives out there, from faux furs and shearling, to vegan leathers, neoprene, cotton, linen, bamboo, rayon, and microfibre. Gone are the days when vegan fashion meant shapeless hemp sacks and bland, ill fitting sandals. Vegans can now indulge their fuzzy, fluffy, Fraggle-wearing sartorial dreams without wearing clothing made from animals.
The most important thing to know when shopping for vegan friendly fashion is to learn to read labels like a pro. Some man made textiles may include a small amount of silk, and knits that appear to be synthetic could contain some wool or cashmere. Even faux leather shoes can sometimes have a leather insole.
Vegan fashion isn’t just about handbags and footwear either; there are so many dedicated fashion brands with a vegan ethos and a passion for sustainability. Everything from high end, to sports luxe, quirky design, and classic styling; there’s something for everyone.
Vaute were the first definitively vegan label to show at NYFW, a pioneer in the world of cruelty free fashion and the world’s first all-vegan fashion brand. The company was founded in 2008, with a mission to take animals out of the equation by creating something better.
Expect fashion forward outerwear warm enough to stay cosy during a freezing NYC winter, as an alternative to the wool and down coats that flood retailers as soon as the temperatures drop. The collection also includes beautiful wool free jumpers and a capsule collection of Ready-to-Wear separates.
2. Cri de Coeur
Translated from French, ‘Cri de Coeur’ literally means ‘cry from the heart’. The brand uses 100% vegan materials to produce accessories for the luxury goods market; their designs redefine what it means to have “style”, using synthetic suedes made from recycled plastics, reclaimed wood and organic hemp to create stunning handbags, shoes, boots, and skyscraper heels.
In a collaboration with Renaissance girl Arden Wohl, the ‘Patmore D’Orsay’ stiletto loafer in shades of shimmering metallic blue and a twist on the classic black t-strap ‘Eastlake’ with cork detailing are standout pieces. Cri de Coeur’s latest collection is full of on-trend and showstopping reasons to shop vegan.
A London-based brand known for their use of colourful faux furs, Jakke is proof that funky streetwear can be cruelty free. Their jackets range from wear-everywhere neutrals and bold tiger stripes to shocking pinks and cherry reds in luxurious chunky pile faux fur. There’s even a statement bomber emblazoned with “Kale Yeah” across the back. Jakke proves that fur is way more fun when it’s faux.
4. Poppy Lissiman
Australian designer Poppy Lissiman started her eponymous label in 2008, with an eye-catching aesthetic that is both quirky and fun. Her range of accessories are made using only vegan friendly PVC and faux leather, and everything is ethically produced.
Lissiman’s creations are colourful, playful, with a feminist twist; key pieces include her iconic clutches with graphic pops of primary hues, and a daisy printed bag emblazoned with the word ‘POWER’ in bold red letters. This collection of statement bags and retro-inspired sunglasses is definitely not for the faint of heart.
5. Pixie Mood
Toronto-based label Pixie Mood is all about high end statement pieces in vegan leather, with a fresh colour palette and use of ombré that is very trend led. The brand creates high impact, beautifully made cruelty-free accessories that play around with colour, pattern, shape, and texture.
With everything from plum envelope work bags to totes in mouth-watering shades of raspberry, or the beautiful yet practical ‘Erica’ lavender ombré crossbody, each piece is made of high-grade PU synthetic leather, with the look and feel of the real thing.
Led by designer Kate Morris, the CROP label is synonymous with vegan knitwear, and a focus on minimising waste in the production process. The current collection is inspired by changing attitudes towards food, with patterns composed from pop art visuals of salad, jellies, all day breakfasts and pick ’n’ mix.
The biker jacket is timeless. Founded by Paula Maldonado in 2015, Dauntless is known for beautiful outerwear and impeccable detailing in vegan leather and neoprene.
From wardrobe staples like the classic black quilted ‘Moto I’ to rock chick inspired studs, pretty embroidered florals, and soft blush pink pastels, the Dauntless aesthetic is synonymous with sharp tailoring with a feminine edge.
8. Beyond Skin
Beyond Skin is a luxury and cruelty free British brand, featuring beautiful shoes and boots in synthetic leathers made from cotton backed polyurethane (PU), a kinder alternative to PVC, and “dinamica” faux suede from 100% recycled PET plastics.
The ‘Charlie’ petrol faux snakeskin loafer celebrates the beauty of nature without harming it, in pearlescent tones of blue, violet, and rose gold. Beyond Skin truly shows that we don’t need to be cruel to have true style.
Written by Lucie Dhog