By Chere Di Boscio
It started out as a bit of a niche, beloved by animal rights activists and hippies. It used to be considered ‘downscale’, comprised mainly of plastic and nasty petroleum-based materials. But today, vegan fashion is taking over the world, and it’s more eco-friendly than ever.
Veganism continues to grow globally, with 21% of the world’s population now stating they’re vegan (there are an estimated 375m vegans worldwide), and 168,500 people taking part in Veganuary this year. Studies show that it’s mainly Generation Z and millennials are the main focus for this growing vegan market; a recent report by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence suggests that those two age groups are really moving plant-based fashion forward, and by 2025, they may make the vegan leather industry alone worth around $85bn.
Indeed, there are plenty of signs that indicate vegan fashion is taking over the world; here are 6 of the main ones.
1. Department stores & retailers are banning fur
From Abercrombie + Fitch to Zara, hundreds of major retailers are saying a huge NO to fur in all of their collections. Selfridges in London is one multi-brand department store that will not allow any of the labels it carries to bring fur onto its premises, and this policy is also followed online by the likes of Yoox.com and NetAPorter.com.
2. Fashion designers are declaring themselves fur free
Maybe since they can’t sell fur in department stores anyway, loads of high end luxury labels, including Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Calvin Klein and Gucci have decided to eliminate fur from all of their collections. Now if only they’d do the same for leather goods…
3. There are more chic vegan brands than ever
If you think vegan fashion is all about plasticky looking bags and shoes, well, you’re wrong! Rising numbers of designated vegan brands, Kuma accessories, Gunas the Label, House of Cork and many more are creating highly fashion-forward designs that even the most demanding of fashionistas would be proud to wear.
4. Vegan leather is now totally eco-friendly
Vegan ‘leathers’ have come a long, long way from the highly toxic ‘pleather’ or ‘leatherette’ of yesteryear! Today, cork, pineapples, wood and even mushrooms are amongst the many natural materials that are used to create a durable, leather-like textile that’s the perfect replacement for all animal-based fashion products.
5. Celebs love it
If celebrity trends are any indication, it’s pretty clear that vegan fashion is popular with major influencers. Gwen Stefani and Pamela Anderson have both launched their own vegan shoe ranges, and A listers from Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus to Anne Hathaway have been spotted sporting vegan fashion.
6. Leather producers are freaking out
French leather producers are so threatened by the rise of vegan fashion that they’re now demanding that only dead animal skin can be classified as ‘leather’ – apparently to protect the cruel-but-dying-out leather industry. Ha ha!
Clearly, our diets are changing, our awareness is changing, and now our fashion choices are changing. The point is clear: as more and more people understand how cruel our fashion industry truly can be, the future of the industry has got to be vegan.
Miley image credit: Converse/Nordstrom
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