Clothes Fashion

Vaute Couture Brooklyn


A Special NYC Fashion Report by Emma Tynan

Another brand greening the fashion scene in New York is Vaute Couture. But what makes Vaute Couture different from other ethical fashion brands is that this year it was the first ever all vegan, cruelty free label to show during New York Fashion week. Sure, there are other brands out there including Stella McCartney and Charlotte Ronson which create fur and leather free collections, but Vaute Couture goes further, in that the brand doesn’t use any animal products at all, even wool or down.


“I wanted to show the world that the future of fashion is to care…our cutting edge fabrics  are made of organic and recycled fibers, all vegan, and our apparel is made by workers paid fairly (and all locally in NYC’s garment district),” says Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart, founder and creative director of Vaute Couture. “It’s important to me that the people who make my coats are able to afford to live in the same city I do, and I won’t make a cheaper coat so that someone can afford it if it means it’s not fair to the workers”, she said in a recent blog post.

A vegan of over 17 years, and an animal rights activist since the age of ten, Hilgart sees Vaute as a form of activism. “I realised that if I could create a business where the process in itself was actually creating positive change, that would be my activism.”

Vaute Couture was born in 2008 out of Hilgart’s desire for a stylish winter coat that didn’t use wool or down feathers.  Using all her savings, she spent eight months developing a fabric that is recycled, recyclable, warmer than wool and perfectly suitable for the freezing winter weather.

From its humble beginnings in vegan outerwear, Vaute Couture now has an ever-growing collection that now includes everything from dresses to tee’s and vegan knits to accessories.

The most recent collection was inspired by the cult cartoon classic, Sailor Moon for its colours and design elements, but this eventually took on a new meaning for Hilgart. What’s amazing is that I started out inspired by Sailor Moon because of the design elements, but then I realized that it’s a story that means so much to my heart: it starts out with a “normal earth girl” who saves a cat from being abused, and the cat turns her into her super version of herself, Sailor Moon, who then works to save the universe with her friends.”

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