Vegan Fashion IS Possible

As a vegetarian, I’ve always had a tough time finding shoes and handbags that are, well, vegetarian. Leather and other animal products are rampant in the industry. And frankly, the options for vegan-specific shoes and accessories are expensive. I’ve craved Stella McCartney’s lines for years, but alas, I’m not on a Stella McCartney budget, so I’m reduced to scouring Payless and other inexpensive sources.

In most cases, I have bought leather. I’ll admit to having a tough time with vegetarianism when it comes to fashion, but as more eco-friendly choices crop up, I’m finding more choices. There’s Payless, but there’s also Steve Madden. Those Tipie shoes I showed you? Vegan. Not a scrap of animal product in them, if the advertising is to be believed. That matters. However, so does the amount of chemicals it takes to produce dyes and synthetic materials. How do you find out what kinds of chemicals are being dumped into the water because you wanted to buy plastic shoes? Is that better or worse than buying animal products? Let’s not forget that some of these cheaper alternatives are made in countries that use child labor or don’t support fair trade. Where can we draw the line?

Thank goodness the industry is finally responding to the need for vegan options. Linda Loudermilk is a talented designer who has put the spotlight on eco-friendly dressing, and she’s taking Hollywood along for the ride. She’s dressed an impressive crowd – she is featured in Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Green Planet, where she’s dressing the likes of Robert Downey, Jr., among others.

Also joining the ranks of vegan design is Natalie Portman, who has her vegan shoe line she designed for Te Casan. Nice styles, too. Just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean we suffer for it. 

PETA publishes a Shopping Guide for those interested in vegan shopping. Everything from clothes to cosmetics is listed. And yes, there are even vegan condoms, go figure.

Another option includes freelance designers like Jenae Michelle at RangeofEmotion, who repurpose materials to create one-of-a-kind handbags.

While these designers may be out of reach for some of us on a budget, they’re riding the fringes of a trend I predict will be the next big thing – animal-friendly, eco-friendly clothing and accessories.

So what do you think? Should we spend more and get less in order to support vegan and fair trade movements? How conscious have you been about your fashion choices?

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August 12, 2008. vegan. 3 comments.