Indian designer Anita Dongre is taking luxury vegan accessories to the next level!
By Bec Gregory
Conscious couture designer Anita Dongre has launched a vegan collection of plant based and cruelty-free accessories. And we’re now in love with the brand!
Her belts bags do more than just look great or hold your belongings. They embody your beliefs and aspirations for the future of fashion and our planet.
“Why make a statement when you can make a declaration?” She asks her 1.7 million Instagram followers. “Every piece in this line of accessories is an elegant statement in conscious luxury living” she says.
Being vegan and an animal lover, ethics are important to this Indian designer. Like Stella McCartney, her clothing collections have always been fur-free and leather free. In fact, PETA has acknowledged her continuing commitment to these principles.
But she waited patiently for sustainable textile technology to catch up with her vision for luxury vegan accessories that are both cruelty-free and kind to the environment before she created her conscious collection.
All about Anita
Born and raised in Bombay, Dongre spent her summers with family in Jaipur, which influenced her aesthetic and understanding of craft and artisanship. After she earned her degree in fashion design, Anita founded House of Anita Dongre in 1995 with two sewing machines, and the support of her family.
Her designs are now synonymous with modern, global Indian chic, with a signature blend of lightness, practicality and femininity.
Anita Dongre is a vegan who is deeply committed to sustainability, animal welfare and women empowerment. She gives her time and energy to promoting awareness about the issues she believes in.
She consciously designs everything from bags and belts to saris and wedding gowns. Everything she makes is produced ethically. Fairly paid female artisans are the makers of most of her items.
The extreme cruelty behind most Indian leather
And Anita Dongre is vegan, for good reason. India, as well as all other countries in the world, treat cattle horrifically.
Surprisingly for a country where the cow is sacred, the Indian leather industry promotes animal cruelty and suffering. In fact, the cruelty behind most Indian leather is so extreme that the following sentences come with a warning and could disturb readers.
The slaughtering of cows and buffalos is illegal in all but a few states in India. This means that cows experience extreme cruelty when transporting them to locations where they can be legally slaughtered and are further mistreated when they reach their destination.
They are also abused to ensure their legal death. Because it is illegal to kill young, healthy cattle in India, they are often deliberately injured by breaking their legs or poisoning to make them fit for slaughter.
Cows are cruelly tied together with ropes run through their noses and forced on “death marches” in the blazing heat on dusty roads for up to 100 miles to cross state lines where more than 20 animals are then crammed into trucks that only have the capacity for six to seven animals.
In the extreme overcrowding, cattle inadvertently injure and crush each other to find any space. Horns are broken off, nose rings ripped out and the suffering gets even worse when temperatures soar, leading to heat exhaustion and suffocation. They never get food or water. Many animals are terribly sick and injured before they meet a horrific death. No wonder Anita Dongre launched a vegan line!
True horrors…for fashion
The terrors for cows never seem to end. PETA reports that cows who are struggling to stand up on their way to their deaths have hot chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes. Slaughterhouse workers twist and even break their tailbones to force them to stand up and walk. And horrifically, some animals have their legs cut off or are skinned alive.
The leather industry in India accounts for around 13% of the world’s leather production of hides/skins with an annual production of about 3 billion sq. ft. Because the production of leather in India is widespread and small-scale, it makes it difficult for companies to trace the hides back through the supply chain.
Unless you refuse to buy leather or you buy it from a brand that manages a strict and transparent supply chain that avoids Indian leather, it’s probable that you’re in possession of leather that came from animals that experienced this extreme cruelty. After all, Indian leather is amongst the cheapest.
No plastic, thanks!
Although Dongre was sure she wanted to do vegan accessory designs, the use of plastic was not an option for her, either. So when she discovered MIRUM® , a new plant-based, plastic-free material that mimics the touch, feel, and age of leather, she partnered up with a company who shares her passion for sustainability.
In addition to the use of MIRUM®, the line also features handbags made from recycled glass beads. Her accessories are strikingly beautiful, intricate in design and at the forefront of sustainable luxury fashion.
Inspired by nature
The collection is inspired by nature – her “eternal muse”. The design of each accessory draws from the beauty and symbolism of a particular animal. For example, The Swan Mini Grab Bag features a large gold handle crafted to resemble the swan’s graceful silhouettes. Bird motifs are a beautiful design point we see across all her collections.
“Every piece in this line of accessories is an elegant statement in conscious luxury living” she says. And we are in love! You can feel the alignment with your style and values when you hold these gorgeous, handcrafted luxury accessories.
The collection expertly mixes bold and distinctive detailing with a timeless aesthetic. And it doesn’t let you down when it comes to functionality and using the accessory regularly.
Dongre’s elegant and timeless classic designs are the epitome of sustainable luxury fashion. Her vegan and plastic free collection proves that advances in sustainable textile technology now means that there are high quality alternatives to leather that look, feel, and last just the same.
What are your favourite accessories in the Anita Dongre vegan collection? Let us know in the comments, below!