WORDS BY ASHLEIGH GRIBBON
As veganism moves even further into the mainstream, more and more shoppers are evaluating every aspect of their lifestyles. And in the luxury fashion industry, brands and designer houses are increasingly applying an ethical lens to their clothing and accessories to meet the growing demand for cruelty-free collections. ‘Previously, we’ve typically associated the term vegan to a philosophy or a lifestyle choice that aims at protecting animal welfare,’ says FARFETCH’s Sustainability Manager, Federica Licini. ‘But more recently, the vegan concept has also been applied to fashion in order to identify pieces that do not contain any animal product. Customers should look for fashion pieces and brands that are PETA-certified in order to be reassured that 100% of the fabrics and materials used throughout the production process do not contain any animal by-products.’ In celebration of World Vegan Month, we’ve curated an edit of the PETA-approved brands, championing cruelty-free clothing and vegan accessories, to shop now.
Vegan essentials: Story mfg.
When it comes to ready-to-wear collections, there are a few standout brands making the case for slow fashion. Founded by British husband-and-wife duo Saeed and Katy Al-Rubeyi, Story mfg. holds its ‘positive product manifesto’ front and center of every one of its fashion-forward collections — an approach that doesn't involve a trade-off between aesthetics and eco-consciousness. The label works with dyers, weavers, embroiderers and tailors in their atelier in a forest in south-east India to create its sustainable clothing across both mens and womenswear. ‘We never use animal products because we don’t feel there is anything sustainable or positive in raising and slaughtering other creatures. Everything we do is vegan and completely cruelty-free,’ notes the brand on its vegan practices.
Vegan outerwear: Apparis
In womenswear, emerging New York favorite Apparis creates luxurious faux-fur pieces and sumptuous, sustainable knitwear. The brand was co-founded by French duo Amélie Brick and Lauren Nouchi after the pair witnessed the impact of fashion’s unethical manufacturing practices first-hand. ‘We both left our jobs at luxury fashion houses in 2016 and made the pledge to do better, and Apparis was born,’ explains the design duo. ‘From day one, we’ve put our heart and soul into creating the highest-quality, animal-free alternatives out there. We believe that no animal needs to be harmed in the making of Apparis products. It was important for us to build the foundation of our brand based on something that was not only meaningful to us, but also aligned to a new generation of consumers.’ The label specializes in bold, covetable outerwear, with each piece named after women who have inspired them.
Vegan denim: Boyish Denim
For vintage-inspired denim that’s underpinned by sustainability practices, Boyish Denim is the label to look to. Each style in its timeless offering is made with longevity in mind; the brand sources eco-friendly fabrics to create each of its designs in order to reduce waste and eliminate the use of synthetic materials. ‘We’ve designed our jeans to be recycled into new products at the end of their life,’ says the brand on its circular approach. Classic in shape, the label’s edit of versatile styles are also finished with natural, plant-based dye washes.
Vegan bags: Stella McCartney
A pioneering voice for veganism in the industry for more than two decades, Stella McCartney’s eponymous label has been the go-to brand for cruelty-free fashion since its inception in 2001. It’s a sustainable mantra that especially speaks to the British designer’s strong offering of vegan bags – from the iconic Falabella bag, in which new iterations are released each season, to the Stella Logo and Stella Star designs. Since 2013, the brand has been designing its bags in alter-nappa – an innovative fabric that’s lined with recycled materials and coated in an alter-nappa coating made from more than 50% vegetable oil – while its edit of faux-shearling bags are created in the label’s signature faux fur. In addition to its current selection, the brand’s recent partnership with Bolt Threads – a biotech company specializing in sustainable fashion biomaterials – has led to the creation of a new biomaterial-grown leather substitute called Mylo; a soft, supple material that looks and feels like quality hand-crafted leather. The brand’s iconic Falabella bag was the first prototype to be made out of the fabric back in 2018, and designs featuring the fabric are set to be available to purchase from 2021.
Vegan sneakers: Rombaut
Luxury vegan accessories brand Rombaut is the brainchild of designer, creative consultant and sustainability expert Mats Rombaut, who founded his eponymous brand in 2013 having previously honed his expertise in footwear at Lanvin and Damir Doma. His distinct sneaker collection, in particular, has quickly garnered a cult following. Rooted in sustainable values, the label’s entire sneaker edit is vegan – each style is designed in a considered mix of luxurious plant-based materials, recycled fibers and high-quality artificial leather. As well as its popular sneaker offering, the brand’s vegan chunky-sole boots are also among some of its hero styles each season. The fledgling label’s innovative approach to cruelty-free accessories continues to connect with a new conscious generation – watch this space for future iterations of ethically made fashion from this boundary-breaking designer.
Kids vegan fashion: Infantium Victoria and Mini Melissa
Consciously minded fashion is something that translates into kid’s designer pieces, too. When it comes to clothing, luxury vegan childrenswear brand, Infantium Victoria, champions an ethical approach to fashion-forward pieces for babies and toddlers alike. Every piece in the label’s sustainable collection is made using 100% organic fabrics and is PETA-approved as vegan – ethical production and modern design in a luxury conscious brand. For footwear, look to Mini Melissa, whose boots and shoes are made from eco-friendly, recyclable plastic. The label’s signature jelly boots and shoes are loved for their sweetly scented finishes and playful animal accents. The designs are also recognised by the Vegan Society – a charity that provides guidance on cruelty-free practices – while its packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which guarantees its responsible origin.