Words by Nicole Thomsen
October 23rd, 2019
In the search for eco-friendly and cruelty-free fashion, there are few options on the market for high quality, stylish vegan leather. However, there are brands out there making the seemingly impossible possible. So, in honour of World Vegan Day on 1st November, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite fashion brands that use faux, vegan leather which will you have you exclaiming, “I can’t believe it’s not leather!”
If you didn’t already know, you’d have a hard time guessing that Nanushka’s leather pieces aren’t actually leather at all. Made from polyurethane and polyester, Nanushka’s vegan leather is REACH-compliant which regulates the effect of harmful chemicals in the EU. The Bulgarian label has enjoyed cult-levels of success in recent years, most notably thanks to its “Hide” vegan leather puffer jacket which you’ve probably seen at least a dozen times on Instagram. Made from a special vegan leather that has a soft, lustrous feel and comes in four colour options, if you’re looking for outerwear that is luxurious yet understated, place this high on your Christmas wish list.
Matt & Nat claims that it’s important to the brand not to use leather; “Simply put, we don’t like hurting animals and we care about the welfare of the planet.” Using vegan leather and eco-friendly materials like recycled nylon, cork and rubber, the Canadian brand designs affordable, cruelty-free bags and accessories that look and feel a lot more high end than their price tags suggest. In addition, the linings inside all Matt & Nat bags are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, recycling approximately 21 plastic bottles per bag in the process.
Famously known for her eco-friendly approach to high fashion, Stella McCartney has become a leader in the area of sustainable luxury. As a vegetarian brand, Stella McCartney does not use leather, skin, fur or feathers in any of its products. Instead, it pioneers new materials and uses leather alternatives that don’t just look good, they are also better for the environment. According to the brand, by choosing recycled polyester instead of Brazilian calf leather, for example, Stella McCartney products create 24 times less of an environmental impact, as calculated through the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L).
Free People describes itself as a brand that is “constantly on the lookout for fresh and fun vegan brands that bring a stylish take on vegetarian fashion, shoes, makeup and more.” While not every product it stocks is vegan, the retailer has an entire section on site that is dedicated to vegan fashion as well as beauty, focusing on like-leather materials, suede-esque finishes and animal-friendly ingredients.
Marsi Bond’s goal is to provide customers with statement pieces without statement prices. The brand’s vegan leather backpacks are sleek and contemporary as well as being eco-friendly with a removable lining that can be thrown directly in the washing machine ensuring it stays clean and lasts for longer.
We highlighted Veja earlier this year as a brand that was both ethically conscious and affordable — a rarity. Within its range of best-selling trainers is a collection of vegan footwear that eschews real leather and suede in favour of sustainable vegan alternatives. With an array of cool and retro styles to choose from, you can walk comfortable in the knowledge that your trainers are cruelty-free and will not leave a footprint on the earth.
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