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Yep, a lot of vegan stuff is made of plastic. But not if it comes from these eco friendly vegan fashion brands!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Now that Gucci has promised to ditch the fur, it seems like cruelty-fashion is now a mainstream thing. Consumers are increasingly demanding clothing that doesn’t involve the killing of animals, and why not? For us, it’s a total no-brainer.
The problem is that a lot of companies greenwash their plasticky, toxic ‘vegan leathers’ as being cruelty free, but my friends – they are not. I mean, polluting waterways, air and land with nasty petroleum based textiles (or worse – PVC) is anything but cruelty free!
Luckily, there are increasing numbers of chic vegan labels who get it. These are the new, eco friendly vegan brands we’ve got an eye on, not only for their style, but their sustainability, too.
10 Eco Friendly Vegan Fashion Brands We Love
Here’s a material we never thought of for vegan bags before: stainless steel! STEWART/STAND is an absolute innovator with this material, and their vegan stainless steel wallet and clutch collection is redefining vegan fashion.
More like jewellery than a bag, these clutches and wallets were designed by the two brothers who founded the company. They were created not only to be kind to animals, but also to protect against the growing problem of RFID theft. Not sure what that means? Basically, someone can walk by your wallet with their phone and scan the data on your cards. These wallets stop that by shielding your credit cards from any nearby thief who may be trying to scan them.
There are lots of things you can do with old coffee grounds. You can make a natural face or body scrub; fertilize your plants, or if you’re innovative German brand Nat2, you can create vegan friendly sneakers from the stuff!
Yep, it’s true: a strong, leather-like material can actually be made from used coffee grounds, and believe it or not, your feet will smell a bit like java after wearing these, too!
But old coffee isn’t the only material Nat2 incorporates into its shoes. Hay, roses and even natural stone have all become part of their collections, which you can see below. This is a highly innovative brand that proves almost anything can be made into eco-friendly, durable, stylish shoes – so why kill animals to do so?
3. Rafa USA
Rafa shoes are cool, chic and feminine – not to mention sustainable, too. The vegan brand uses recycled bottles, textiles and even bungee cords to make its shoes, but equally importantly, they employ sustainable processes to do so. Their footwear isn’t pre-made; you need to order the style and size you want, which will then be made by Rafa’s 20 artisans in Los Angeles.
No wonder animal-loving fashionistas like Pamela Anderson, Natalie Portman and others love this brand. You’ll find Rafa shoes at some of the most stylish online stores like Assembly and Reformation as well as online at RafaUSA.com.
From organic cotton Broderie Anglaise blouses and dresses to raffia hats and bags, Poethica’s floaty, feminine fashion is as easy on the environment as it is on the eye. The brand is fully dedicated to keeping the production of their eco-friendly fabrics and yarns as close as possible to the places of their origin.
Everything they make is completely vegan friendly, and they’ve partnered with local artisans and family businesses to produce their collections as ethically as possible.
This is, for us, one of the most tasteful, beautiful and chic of all the eco friendly vegan fashion brands listed here!
Always striving to be ever-more eco-friendly, Svala is a vegan handbag brand that uses sustainable materials like cork and Pinatex to create its bang-on-trend accessories.
But their dedication to the environment doesn’t stop at materials! Their innovative designs are often 2-in-1, too. For example,one of our favourite styles is the ‘wallet purse’ which can either be a simple wallet or clutch,. But when the elegant chain is added, it becomes a refined evening bag!
Their ‘Emma’ backpack (below) also does double duty: remove the two back straps and add one single strap, and it easily transforms into a purse. How cool is that?
Moroccan artisans are the creative force behind AMAZ sneakers, under the guidance of the brand’s founder Fadila Bennani. This footwear label honors local craftsmanship through a special programme that contributes to improving access to education for girls in landlocked areas of Morocco.
Of course, AMAZ is one of the most eco friendly vegan fashion brands around, too! This is mainly thanks to their use of waxed cotton and recycled plastic bottles instead of leather for their artistic uppers, and natural rubber for their soles.
This is a brand that started with men’s shirts and beachwear made from sustainable ramie and hemp materials. It has since grown to become a vegan fashion powerhouse that caters to modern designs to both genders.
The label uses only sustainable and recycled fabrics, such as organic cotton and hemp, helping them to lower their impact on the planet whilst making green fashion more mainstream and readily available.
From the first to the final stitch, each Thought product is made in the same country, so it’s never shipped from place to place, allowing the company to reduce its CO2 footprint.
7. Veerah Shoes
Incredibly stylish and versatile, Veerah’s vegan shoes are made from an innovative material derived from wasted apple fibres, called appropriately enough, ‘apple leather.’
Not only is the brand focused on this sustainable aspect of production, but they also offer accessories such as straps, jewels and fringes, that can be added to any style, easily transforming one shoe style into three!
8. Bag Affair
This is one ethical French brand that’s working hard to bridge the gap between the practicality of briefcases and the elegant designs of handbags. Realising that finding such bags is even more difficult for vegans, they spotted a gap in the market and designed a range of fashionable bags/cases using cork as their main source material.
All of their bags are handmade in Portugal at the hands of cork-specialised artisans. Each chic bag is completely natural and biodegradable, from the smooth, sturdy cork exteriors to the wooden ‘hardware’ and cotton interiors.
You’d be hard pressed to find materials more eco-friendly than straw, raffia and stones, but that’s exactly what Kayu makes its eco friendly vegan bags from!
Founder Jamie Lim launched the brand with the intention of preserving and encouraging the traditional craftsmanship that she admired as a child in the Philippines. Today, her handbags are handmade in limited quantities, and feature traditional loom and weaving techniques.
With their cheeky slogans and playful use of embroidery, each bag can take several days to complete. We love the use of colourful, found stones used as snap clasps to close some of the clutches. Clever, beautiful, and sustainable!
We used to love Rothy’s for their incredibly chic flats, made from recycled plastics. But now…? This is definitely one of our very favourite eco friendly vegan fashion brands! And that’s because they’ve also launched a gorgeous range of handbags. All of which we want!
The bags are mainly large totes (though there are some smaller styles, too, like clutches and crossbody bags). They’re all made from recaptured marine plastic taken from over 30 miles of coastline. They come in an array of vibrant hues, and they’re just the thing to complement a pair of their adorable shoes!
What are your favourite eco friendly vegan fashion brands? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!
First two images: Poethica. All images courtesy the brands
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