By Arwa Lodhi
Cheap plastic, hippy-ish hemp and Indian flea market buys are the first things that pop into most people’s minds when you mention the words ‘vegan accessories.’ In many cases, that may be true–but there are some rather luxurious brands out there now too.
Using innovative new eco-friendly materials and fully design-led, sustainably sourced vegan accessories from top brands like Stella McCartney and Jess Rizzuti have been worn by famous vegans and non-vegans alike, including Anne Hathaway, Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss. Butt here are other less known vegan accessory designers you should know about if you care about animals–and fashion.
Here’s our pick of the best vegan accessories for fall.
Elegant Bags by Freedom of Animals
The subtle colours, the lady-like shapes…we can’t help but think Freedom of Animals had Hitchcock heroines in mind when they designed their FW14 collection.
The luxury vegan bag brand uses high quality fabrics and materials that are comprised of post-consumer polyurethane and organic cotton. Their bags look and feel as soft as leather, but through years of research, they’ve discovered a more sustainable fabrication to take its place.
Polyurethane is a safer alternative to PVC as it doesn’t emit carcinogenic dioxin, nor is it filled with harsh chemicals. A percentage of their polyurethane is recycled which also allows for a lower carbon footprint.
Furthermore, the process to finish these fabrics requires 70% less energy than other synthetic fabrics, and the beautifully rich colors are achieved from vegetable-based dyes that are also recycled.
All FOA bags are lined with organic cotton and recycled plastic water bottle lining, and their zippers are recycled metals on organic twill tape from a luxury Italian zipper mill, making every Freedom of Animals product strictly ethical and as eco-friendly as can be.
Cork Clutches and Totes by Meg Matthews for Wilby
London ‘it’ chick Meg Matthews has a lot on her (vegan) plate, from her work as a jewellery designer to her efforts as PETA‘s celebrity liaison. But that didn’t stop her from teaming up with hot accessories label Wilby to design a new line of leather-free handbags. Available in black, pillar box red, mustard and electric blue, The Primrose Hill Set collection includes oversized totes, city bags, clutches and an adorable backpack, all made from eco-friendly cork and metal. As a bonus, a percentage of the sale from each bag will be donated to PETA.
Sexy Footwear from No One’s Skin by Ivana Basilotta
This is a brand-new, highly innovative label from Italian designer Ivana Basilotta. Ivana has a very seductive sense of style, but her USP is that she makes high heels in ‘yes, mistress’ faux patent leathers and seriously sharp stilettos from strictly vegan-friendly materials. We love how her putty-coloured day boots even carry a generous wedge heel, ensuring her clients are standing tall and proud, no matter which shoe style they prefer.
The designer was recently asked to participate in Amber Valetta’s Master & Muse collection on Yoox, which we hope helps to place Basilotta as the ‘vegan Louboutin’.
Handbags by Jess Rizzuti
Plush velvet and eco-friendly cork are the two main materials used in these super chic bags by Ms. Rizzuti. The designer ensures all her glues and dyes are water-based, and she aims to reduce waste and resources via her eco-friendly production methods.
But Rizzuti also incorporates social responsibility into her brand via her support for Care for Kenya and Glocal Connection. Care for Kenya creates employment and sustainable growth for the women of Nairobi, and co-created a capsule collection of handbags made from Kenyan textiles and beadwork, all sold to greater benefit the cause. Jess worked with Global Connection to produce custom hand-woven and embroidered textiles, which resulted in a very hip tote bag, the profits from which were ploughed back into the sustainability of communities in Guatemala.
Our favourite bags, though, must be these stunning Sophie gold checked clutches, below. Made of cork and other eco-friendly materials, they prove beyond a doubt that ‘vegan’ can be chic!
Boots and Shoes by Beyond Skin
High boots are a must for us, no matter what the winter trend dictates in any given season, and luckily, Beyond Skin makes a seriously stylish pair. But for those who can’t handle heels, the Spanish based brand also does a great pair of round-toed Chanel-style flats, as well as a more on-trend style with a slightly more pointed toe–and all are made from 100% vegan materials, of course.
Platform Creepers and Eco-pleather Handbags by Stella McCartney
Oh Stella, we do love you! Not just because of your staunch support for animals, but because you recognise that ‘vegan leather‘ often means ‘plastic’. Instead of using petroleum based oil to create her latest vegan masterpiece, the Beckett Bag, McCartney has developed a new material, Eco Faux Leather, which uses vegetable oil.
Her other classic, the Falabella, just got a quilted version. And of course, we are obsessed with her platform flats–especially the ones with stars. Anything you buy from Stella is win-win-win: a win for the animals, a win for your wardrobe, and a win for the planet too!
PHOTO: RMBI SWIS/AKM-GSI