What constitutes a quality bag? What’s meant by ‘slow fashion’? What are the worst leather substitutes? Vegan bag brand boss Vanita Badlani Of LaBante London has some answers
By Emily Spennato
While ‘vegan’ accessories might sound like the solution to a sustainable fashion future, we know the truth. Being ‘vegan’ doesn’t necessarily mean being sustainable.
Most leather substitutes have been around forever. But just because an animal isn’t being slaughtered for them doesn’t mean they’re eco-friendly – or even ethical. While a few vegan leathers are plant-based, a lot of them are made from materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a deadly pollutant, or polyurethane (PU). This creates a huge ethical issue, as synthetic textiles are not fully biodegradable. In addition, PVC creation produces dioxins, which are linked to cancer and developmental problems. That’s true for not only we humans, but for animals, too. So much for vegan friendly!
Yep, that’s right. For us, vegan means being free of animals AND harmful chemicals during and after production. Unless materials are made from plants, like cork, or recycled materials, advertising vegan leather as being good for the planet is just greenwashing.
LaBante London is one of our favorite luxury bag brands and is 100% vegan – in addition to being gorgeous! Not only are LaBante’s vegan accessories the perfect addition to your closet, but they’re a purchase you can feel good about.
We were lucky enough to sit down with CEO Vanita Badlani of LaBante London on why sustainability is so important to the future of fashion. She also shared some exclusive updates and a took deep dive into accessories and the environment. Read on to find out more!
Our Chat With Vanita Badlani Of LaBante London
What are the differences between a good and bad quality vegan bag?
Vanita Badlani: A bad quality vegan bag might be made of PVC. This is plastic-based leather entirely manufactured by environmentally devastating processes using harmful chemicals. These vegan bags will not biodegrade and cannot be recycled.
An excellent vegan leather bag might be made from vegetable waste and or recycled bottles. It will demonstrate a higher level of craftsmanship that should be evident when you compare it with a lower quality bag. For example, it should be made to last with superior quality, and feature custom designed hardware. As much attention would have been given to the inside of the bag as to the exterior of the bag.
What is ‘slow fashion’? Does LaBante London qualify?
Vanita Badlani: Slow fashion relates to how a company designs and releases products and the longevity of said products. Many fast fashion companies release new pieces of clothing weekly or even daily. They respond to micro trends very quickly (that will often not last very long) to keep up with the changes in the market.
This results in tonnes of clothing that are only worn a few times before going out of fashion. Or, they simply fall apart because they’re of poor quality. Slow fashion often takes a more neutral route in terms of colour and style. Garments produced this way rarely go out of style quickly. They are made to a higher quality, so you won’t have to keep buying new pieces every month.
LaBante London qualifies as slow fashion as the materials we use for our products are entirely sustainable. Take our handbags, for instance. They’re made from superior vegan leather, which is sturdy and durable. This increases their lifespan while remaining environmentally friendly.
Why is sustainability so important in fashion?
Vanita Badlani: Sustainability is so important to consider in fashion as well as everyday life. Everything you do, everything you buy in fact, should have sustainability in mind. The environment is impacted by each one of our choices. In the fashion industry, in particular, taking the environment into consideration is vital.
The industry itself is currently a massive polluter due to the rise in fast fashion. That’s why sustainability has become more and more of a popular choice for consumers in recent years.
As a company, in my opinion, you must design the product with sustainability at its heart. This then leads to sourcing the correct materials and manufacturing them, all with eco-consciousness. It really does play a pivotal role in a product.
Each retailer should try to ensure that their fabrics, or other materials used, have been grown or made in a way that won’t create unnecessary emissions and won’t contribute to emissions at the end of its lifespan. This is why we focus on recycling your old items, or repairing them. Or, just allowing them to quickly and naturally biodegrade.
However, sustainability is not only about environmental considerations. It is also just as much about social considerations. Ensuring workers along the entire supply chain are paid and treated fairly and have equal opportunities to work is vital.
Ultimately, sustainability is so important because a company that prioritizes it often respects the environment and people alike.
For more information on Vanita Badlani or LaBante London, please click here.