Florie Berger, photographer
From generation Z to Instagram: the new advertising channels used by fashion brands
2020.05.29 Fashion

Vegan Fashion


We all know that fashion is a particularly polluting industry. Each participant is trying to find ways to “greenify” the milieu according to its function and possibilities. But certain brands are managing to make impressive transitions well before others and are becoming an inspiration for any brand aspiring to make its creations more ecological, more ethical, and more sustainable. Here are the vegan brands who are distinguishing themselves in the market, mainly through the materials they use. Nonetheless, beyond trends, grasping the contours of such “fashion” can be very delicate. Here’s a summary of the vegan fashion of today… and possibly tomorrow!
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What is vegan fashion?
Some brands approach veganism in fashion as they do veganism in food. In reality, the two are not that different. Indeed, this way of consuming can in some respects be considered a lifestyle. And within the greater concept of lifestyle, it can represent all facets of our daily lives. Vegan fashion, like a vegan diet, rejects any use of animals as well as their by-products, including animal testing obviously. Between a moral choice and a political choice, it is above all a philosophy of fashion without leather or fur, but also without wool and silk. As such, the production of vegan fashion must necessarily be more ecological and more ethical. At any rate, that is the message that the milieu’s main names aim to transmit, like Stella McCartney, one of the pioneers of this approach. By offering vegan leather, she was able to make this fashion more accessible and even desirable! Along the same lines, Gucci, Michael Kors and Doc Martens, are all adopting the models of vegan norms for some of their pieces, or even renouncing the use of certain materials like animal fur. Indeed, whether it’s a question of cuts, materials, or colors, vegan fashion can be every bit as pertinent as “traditional” fashion. It’s basically all in the choice of good materials.
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How to choose good fibers
We’ve all understood that vegan fashion banishes any textile that comes from animals, directly or indirectly. Hence, materials like alpaca, feathers, and even velvet, are just as prohibited as leather and fur. But our era is full of resources and has evolved in a such a way that vegetal fibers and synthetic fibers are now positively considered and have many wonderful days ahead. Between viscose (made of wood by-products), Modal (beech tree), Lyocel (eucalyptus), along with various vegetable leathers (cork, Piñatex, etc.), the possibilities seem to increase from year to year, in terms of creating fashion. Then there are the recycled fibers which, when they come from non-animal origins, represent a wonderful alternative to the excesses of certain textiles. Indeed, to be able to offer irreproachable clothing, vegan fashion has grabbed all of the possibilities that the market now offers and has taken on the role of standard-bearer for the eco-responsible fashion that so many people are seeking. Respectful of animals and the environment, the clout of vegan fashion is growing and it can be recognized by certain labels and certifications. Among the best known is the PETA label, the main measure of quality in this realm. In the way that cotton is probably the most multi-faceted fiber that can be adapted to many different styles, leather is another one of the most used materials in “traditional” fashion. To replace it, there are now many alternatives, all vegan of course!
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Leather alternatives
Even if it is still omnipresent in fashion, leather is a highly polluting industry, especially in terms of the waste water ejected by tanneries. Often very opaque about their manufacturing methods, some companies are slowly losing their market share to materials that are more ecological, more ethical, and often vegan. Among them are Ultraleather (made from polyurethane), cork, Hevea leather (made from rubber trees), grapevine leather (made from the residue of the grape branches, skins, and seeds), and MuSkin, made from mushroom tops. The classic faux leather that we all know is in fact a petrol-derived synthetic and one of the materials that most in question these days. It is therefore important to research more about its manufacturing methods. In fact, vegan fashion is not as simple to manufacture as it seems! Finally, we cannot discuss animal leather alternatives without mentioning Fruitleather, made from unsold fruit, and Piñatex, made from pineapples. This material, which is aesthetically similar to animal leather, is made from pineapple leaves and is proving itself to tick all the right boxes to be adapted to vegan fashion. It’s already being used by brands like Puma, Hugo Boss, and Camper. Among smaller brands already using vegan fibers, we can also mention the French brands 1083 and Good Guys, the Canadian brand Matt & Nat, and even shoe companies like Veja (mainly the “Campo” style) who use materials made from corn. Far from being limited, vegan fashion is attracting more and more brands that are attracted to the rich creativity and sustainable spirit it represents. Indeed, when it comes to fashion, ethics and respect are fundamental and universally shared values.

Photography : BASUS / SAVE THE DUCK / ROMBAUT

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