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Designer Fashion for the Sake of Veganism

Designer Fashion for the Sake of Veganism

 The Battalion’s polyester vegan fur coat

The Battalion’s polyester vegan fur coat


Vegan Fashion Merges into Mainstream

All for the sake of veganism

Designers are under the influence of vegans in the art and fashion world who want their aesthetics to match their lifestyle, shedding its stigma as natural clothing far from being fashion-forward.

New York designer John Bartlett eliminated leather, wool and down feathers from his namesake line. After becoming a vegan over a year ago, he has been adamet in reforming his designs even going to far as to testing fake leather in his first collection of dress shoes.

“It’s slow going but I’m getting there,” said the New York designer. “There is still a concept of luxury at every standpoint that people want leather and fur. There’s still a huge demand for what people think is luxury, which badly invloves the killing of animals.”

Merging into the maintream, vegan fashion has been introduced by several retailers. Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales’s and Urban Outfitters now sell Matt & Nat, a 16 year old vegan-friendly handbag line. Another vegan veteran, Aldo has offered its moderately priced line of fabric and non-leather shoes since the late Nineties.

Free People recently unveiled a collection of vegan leather and suede. A fast favorite has been the suede bellbottoms by Battalion, priced at a resonable $148. Last spring Macy’s began exclusively selling a vegan bag line called R & Em. Bloomingdale’s has followed suit, sparking interest in carrying Vaute Couture’s vegan-friendly coats retailing from $300 to $550.

 Olsen Haus ultrasuede boot with faux fur backing

Olsen Haus ultrasuede boot with faux fur backing


Predicting that more designers will provide vegan options is not too far fetched. Melinda Moore, co-founder of LovingEco.com, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based private sale Website that offers eco-friendly brands such as Cri de Coeur, agrees saying “you’re going to see a shift of more designers. What will follow next is high-end fashion because what has been a challenge is people using materials [that are vegan-friendly]. Now it’s much more common to use these sustainable plant-based and man-made materials. That’s the next wave.”

A participant in this new wave, is Elizabeth Olsen, the designer of three-year-old vegan shoe brand Olsenhaus. Her fall 2012 collection introduces handbags and clothing, which will retail for less than $500. “It’s going to be a ready-to-wear line that has the same characteristics as the shoes — clean lines, unexpected touches, unexpected detail, little pops of color where you don’t expect them. It’ll be more tailored. Everybody’s done an organic T-shirt and an organic cotton dress. You can find that at H&M. What you can’t find is well-designed structured clothing line that’s vegan,” she said.

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