There is no denying that vegan fashion has boomed over the last few years – and 2020 is set to take the trend even further into here-to-stay territory. A record number of people have signed up to take the Veganuary pledge this month, bringing the animal-free lifestyle into the spotlight when it comes to everything from food to furniture – and fashion is no exception. Vegan Fashion Week is returning to Los Angeles in April, showcasing the finest in contemporary cruelty-free design, and a fur sales ban might be happening in New York, to follow the one already in place in the state of California.
But in the age of sustainability in fashion, how are vegan brands working to ensure that their offering is stylish, timely and in line with the desires of customers who want innovation and consciousness? Here are 10 brands that are getting it right in 2020.
London-based accessory brand Mashu specialises in structural, architectural handbags made from recycled plastic and polyester. The brand also works with toxic-free natural materials such as pineapple leather and hemp jute, and each handle for their bags is made from wooden offcuts from a Greek furniture brand, thus minimising waste and contributing to the creation of a circular economy.
This French label was responsible for the bag recently gifted by PETA UK to the Duchess of Cambridge, making headlines and bringing vegan leather into the mainstream fashion conversation. What’s so special about this bag? It is made from apple leather, a vegan material crafted from dried-up apple peel – the apples used by Ashoka are grown in an orchard in Bolzano, Italy. The eco-conscious brand also lines all its bags with recycled plastic bottles.
Starting off as a shoe label, British brand Will’s Vegan Store has developed into a full-blown apparel destination for men and women, including a knitwear range made from recycled cotton and polyester, accessories such as wallets and belts, and the wearable, durable and stylish shoe designs that the brand has become known for.
For a long time, vegan outerwear was a tricky area. As most cold-weather garments contained wool, leather or down, vegans in chilly countries had to do some extensive label-reading to ensure that animal-derived products weren’t lurking in their winter jackets. But then, brands like Noize came along: tackling extreme weather with a down-free filler made from recycled polyester, they provide a winterwear option that is as kind as it is chic (their silver-hued or snakeskin-printed puffers are true statement pieces).
Forward-thinking designer duo Vin + Omi develop unique eco-friendly textiles and experiment with materials for truly one-of-a-kind high-fashion designs. Their recycled-plastic (rPET) garments use over 50% less energy than conventional plastics, and their latest innovation is nettle fabric, one of the most interesting eco-friendly innovations shown at London Fashion Week. Vin + Omi are not a 100% vegan brand, as they do use wool and alpaca, but they are still worth mentioning in this roundup as many of their most exciting innovative materials are indeed vegan.
Specialising in one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world, Hemp Tailor creates down-free and wool-free outerwear for men and women using organic cotton, recycled plastic and hemp – and recently launched a range of soft, sumptuous knitwear using hemp and recycled cotton.
This London label specialises in luxurious faux furs and are known for their statement prints – some of which carry slogans such as “Free From Fur”, “100% Fake”, and “Vegan Vibes”. Their extended range includes on-trend teddy coats, colourful puffers and a range of knitwear. The brand places importance on avoiding that the jackets go to landfill by implementing a programme where customers can send their used jackets back to be repurposed, and receive a 25% voucher in exchange. The brand also rejects the fast-fashion notion of seasonal collections by avoiding too many new releases.
Bags made from pineapples, apples and mangoes? It’s possible – this London brand is creating luxurious accessories with fruit leathers such as pineapple-leaf leather Pinatex, apple-derived leather Frumat and, in an upcoming line, a Dutch innovation: a vegan leather made from 90% mango.
Sleek silhouettes and easy-to-wear minimalism is the aesthetic behind this Amsterdam-based ethical fashion label. Noumenon’s 100% vegan apparel range will win the heart of any conscious fashionista, especially if you consider their materials: organic cotton and linen, silk-like vegan ramie, durable and lightweight Lyocell and surplus materials from other industries.
One of the most Instagram-friendly brands in recent memory, JW PEI have graced the arms of many vegan and non-vegan fashion lovers. This Chinese brand crafts their bags from vegan materials including recycled plastic bottles and operates under the motto that “sustainable fashion does not have to be boring” – a great style slogan for 2020.
Disclosure: The curated list is based on the writer’s research and does not fully take into account all ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. This list also may contain affiliate links. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. For more information on our policies, click here.
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Feature image via Ashoka.