Words by Marine Boissard, Illustration by Maria Mokina
Some things never change. And then, there is a realisation. This is what is happening into the fashion world. Nowadays, we talk more and more about the way we consume products, the way we recycle, and everybody seems aware of the organic food's debate. But if we take a look at the fashion industry, we can notice that fashion designers have started to be conscious of the origin of their materials, and also about how these products are made and by whom.
Some fashion designers have started to be more and more aware of organic footprint, a delicate topic. They want to be seen as a considerate brand who cares about their employees. They don't want their customers to consume fashion like a perishable product.
They know their clients pay attention to the origin of their clothes, which implies respecting social standards like employees's work conditions, taking care of their well-being and health, and paying decent salary. It has an impact on their way of buying products. Even accessible brands have started to design clothes reflected by this. H&M have created a line based on organic cotton.
But this is not the only polemical topic. As we know, in the UK, between 7 and 11 percent of the population is vegetarian or even vegan. And for some people vegetarianism is not only a dietary choice, but it's also a fashion choice. This is why some brands have started lines that are conscious of the treatment of animal: Vegan leather is spreading out in the fashion world.
Lately, Stella Mc Carthney constructed the Falabella bag from vegan leather and Natalie Portman as a careful vegetarian, started her own shoes line made with the leather substitute. Even Vivienne Westwood uses it in some of her bags.
However, you might be wondering what is Vegan Leather ? Basically, Vegan leather is a substitute for normal leather and Vegan Leather agrees with the terms of the famous 'Global Vegan Movement' which was created by the 'Vegan Society', and by Donald Watson, in 1944, in the USA. The same Mr. Watson who always refused any kind of consumption which came from animals (meat, fish, milk and dairy produce, honey...) and who was well known for inventing the word 'Vegan'. The denomination 'Vegan Leather' fully takes its inspiration from the vegan movement as the lines designed are animal-friendly. Vegan Leather is made using leather alternatives: it is produced from synthetics and comes from the plastic industry. The material mostly used is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which, we all know, is considered as extremely toxic for the environment.
This is why, if we want to talk about Vegan Leather, it's important to focus on the brands which are not only conscious of animals' treatment, but also of their environmental impact. This is why I selected two brands which design perfectly sustainable and ethical vegan leather lines : Freedom of Animals and Matt & Nat.
Freedom of Animals is a New York based company and also a fully sustainable and cruelty-free brand which mainly creates luxury bags. They defend the environmental and animal cause with designs which conform to ethical practices. You must check their bags out, as their designs are absolutely amazing.
Matt & Nat was born in Canada in 1995. It's a completely eco-friendly and ethical vegan company, inspired by nature and committed to not using leather or animal-based fabric and material. This international brand creates completely sustainable designs but not less gorgeous.