Witnessing the Vegan Fashion Revolution – From Inside the Industry

Witnessing the Vegan Fashion Revolution – From Inside the Industry

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“You’re vegan? And you need to work in style?”

The girl on the opposite facet of the desk seems mildly bewildered. Her wool coat, leather-based sneakers, calf-skin bag and what appear to be fur-lined gloves all appear to be judging me. But I’m not on this job interview as a result of I “need” to work in style – in actual fact, I have already got a number of years of trade expertise beneath my belt. And sure, I’m a vegan. Which, on the subject of style circles, is “so uncommon,” as that girl continues to level out. I don’t get the job.

I went vegan in 2012, after many years of being a pescatarian with an ever-present voice in my head whispering “you may do higher.” I knew veganism was accessible to me. But it took Jonathan Safran Foer, and his devastating Eating Animals, to push me over the sting – I learn that ebook nauseated and in tears, and to at the present time once I see it sitting on the bookshelf it typically brings up emotions of unease. Simply put, what we do to sentient animals is inexcusable, and as soon as I totally realised the scope of it, there was no turning again. Fish was off my plate, wool was out of my wardrobe, and something examined on animals needed to keep the hell out of my home. It was a way of life change that made me really feel lighter, extra snug and relaxed. My life appeared to have levelled up.

A plant-based breakfast wrap subsequent to a duplicate of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Photo: Jennifer Nini.

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I used to be working in style as a journalist and copywriter. I had simply moved to London, after two years of working in Milan. As a style author, any job I may discover, in any nation, appeared to contain swooning over leather-based, marvelling on the wonders of cashmere, and in any other case celebrating issues that  I might by no means put on myself. And as I left the workplace every day, that little voice was again once more, this time asking why I used to be spending all my days doing one thing I didn’t consider in, and would, in actual fact, wish to combat towards.

At the identical time, different individuals have been making change occur in style – and I’m not simply speaking about Stella McCartney (who is a big hero of mine, however she is just not the one one). Forward-thinking entrepreneur Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart brought her brand Vaute Couture to New York Fashion Week, making it the primary 100% vegan model to take action. Joshua Katcher, a professor at NYC’s Parsons School of Design, launched the first-ever vegan menswear model, Brave GentleMan, together with males’s vegan style weblog The Discerning Brute. Celebrities wore Beyond Skin sneakers and carried Jill Milan baggage on worldwide catwalks. Change was brewing.

Since I used to be sufficiently old to purchase {a magazine}, I’d had my nostril continuously buried in a single. I used to save lots of my pocket cash to purchase worldwide editions of ELLE and Glamour – and once I bought older, it logically adopted that I might begin writing for magazines. But my ardour for the shiny pages was marred with dismay as I leafed via them and didn’t see one single factor that didn’t come from the physique of an animal, or hadn’t been examined on one. So I started my own magazine. Digital, sure – my dream of printed pages by no means fairly materialised, however within the six years that Vilda Magazine existed, myself and my workforce of freelancers across the globe constructed it as much as a good publication that was nominated for awards, talked about in worldwide press, and, I wish to assume, helped put vegan style on the map.

Beyond Skin footwear is 100% vegan. Photo: PETA/Beyond Skin.

Related Post: 10 Affordable Ethical Vegan-Friendly Fashion Brands on a Budget

When my freelancing contract for certainly one of my full-time copywriting shoppers ran out, I discovered myself questioning whether or not I needed to return to style in any respect. Recruiters have been calling with interview alternatives much like the place I had simply left, however I lastly mustered the braveness to place down the telephone. I adopted my coronary heart and as an alternative fought – with many interviews, repeated functions and cussed persistence – for my dream job at an animal rights organisation. My style data got here in useful: since becoming a member of, I’ve taken journalists purchasing for vegan style on the excessive road, watched style writers embark on challenges the place they solely wore vegan clothes for every week, and helped persuade Helsinki Fashion Week – the primary sustainable style week on the earth – to drop leather-based from the catwalks. While sitting within the entrance row at HFW, admiring the cutting-edge leather-free clothes, I knew it. Vegan style was lastly right here to remain.

My days have been spent immersed within the vegan style revolution – leather made from apples, mushrooms and pineapples began to emerge, and fur fell out of favour with designers reminiscent of Gucci, Chanel, and Prada. As a end result, the terrified fur trade focused college college students, providing them free pelts and paying for his or her collections in trade for fur getting used. To counteract this, I toured round style universities within the UK, providing visitor lectures on vegan style and materials innovation. Always exceedingly nicely acquired, the lectures stay my proof that vegan style is the long run – college students weren’t solely totally on board, however desirous to study extra.

I used to be studying much more myself, and I used to be placing all of it down in what would develop into my first ebook, Vegan Style: Your Plant-Based Guide to Fashion + Beauty + Home + Travel, which was launched on Murdoch Books after which on Simon & Schuster imprint Tiller Press in 2019. The first-ever ebook devoted to vegan style, it gained a PETA Fashion Award and has been featured in nationwide style publications. Two years after its launch, I already really feel prefer it wants an replace – as a result of on the time it went to print, issues like cactus leather, orange silk, and flower down have been inexistent. Innovation has come a great distance, and extra nice issues are to come back.

At our greatest, people are inventive beings, and we will enhance, innovate, and revolutionise damaged methods. But killing animals can by no means be made higher – it can at all times be merciless and unethical. And fortunately, style is realising that.

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Cover picture of DJ Tigerlily through Animal Liberation.

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