This weekend sees the return of Vegan fashion week, a showcase of designers who recognize the importance of sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. This year’s theme is Expansion, which examines how fashion can glimpse the world’s most pressing problems.
As Fast fashion continues to keep the industry (and our Instagram feeds) under control, Vegan Fashion Week is a call to action for the entire fashion industry to take an all-encompassing approach to sustainability.
According to Emmanuelle Rienda, founder and director of the event, “Vegan Fashion Week is a snapshot of that buzzing, unleashed creativity waiting for the right platform to exist. We represent the voice of a generation that is fed up with being washed green or fed with elitist narratives.
“It’s not about being perfect,” she continues. “It’s about inspiring change and creating an ecosystem around values that are really effective for people and non-people.”
Vegan Fashion Week 2021 will feature shows from designers from all over the world, including those from South Korea Vegan tiger and Romina Cardillo from Buenos Aires and her brand Nous Etudions. We can expect LA’s closer to home Fan All FlameS. to showcase her new collection and local artist Parker Day presents her first fashion brand, Pure emptiness.
Click through the slideshow below to learn about the emerging designers who are changing the face – and ethics – of fashion.
This Argentine brand combines the interface between veganism and sustainability in its genderless collections. At the top is Romina Cardillo, who made it onto the shortlist of the LVMH award in 2020 and created a capsule collection for Nike in 2019.
Photo credit: Estrop / Getty Images
Have you noticed that the numbers “53045” turn “SHOES” upside down? It’s all part of the disrespectful and fun feel of the unisex vegan brand. (Just check out these brightly colored scarab beetle inspired low tops.) No wonder they have fans of Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Rita Ora.
Credit: shoes 50345
Fleur & Bee
One of the great things about Vegan Fashion Week is that it promotes sustainable living, and one area where we can all make greener choices is in our beauty routines. We are therefore pleased that the cruelty-free skin care brand Fleur & Bee has received recognition.
Photo credit: Fleur & Bee
Sylven New York
Who says luxury can’t be vegan? Sylven New York creates plant-based shoes from innovative materials such as apple leather and recycled fibers, from casual sneakers to knee-high boots.
Photo credit: Sylven
Korea’s first vegan fashion brand is quickly gaining an international reputation for its designs with colorful faux fur and eye-catching patterns. The brand also donates proceeds to animal and environmental organizations.
Photo credit: Noam Galai / Getty Images; Vegan tiger
Premium Basic specializes in Italian vegan sneakers that are produced in the same factory as Alexander McQueen and Gucci products. Every shoe contains sustainable elements: from cruelty-free leather to the laces made from recycled plastic collected from the Mediterranean.
Credit: Premium Fundamentals
The pieces from this Los Angeles-based brand are instantly recognizable, with singer Halsey recently wearing her provocative t-shirt featuring a black and white image of a woman with three breasts. The homage to Vivienne Westwood’s iconic “Tits T-Shirt” is just one of her distinctive designs.
Credit: Pure Emptiness
Minimalism and restrained style are at the heart of this Australian brand. However, that does not mean that ethics and sustainability are less of a focus. Anew Atelier uses sustainable apple leather in its versatile bag and wallet designs, which prove that simplicity is also stylish.
Photo credit: New Atelier
Solios watches run on clean, renewable energy – the sun – and are also made from recycled waste that would have ended up in a landfill. In addition, they are extremely elegant accessories.
Photo credit: SOLIOS
Fan all the flames
This mesmerizing brand undermines the archaic elements of the fashion industry: fusing the Gothic classics of the 00s with futuristic cyberpunk elements. Her slogan “What Matters Most Is How Well You Get Through the Fire” is a haunting reminder of the urgency of climate change.
Credit: Fan All Flames
For aspiring designers, sustainability is the new black
Vegan Fashion Week is not just about bringing sustainability to the masses, it’s also about celebrating the great strides made by designers who have chosen to create clothing that is free from cruelty to animals and exploitation. For many, Vegan Fashion Week is an opportunity to draw attention to sustainable brands that might otherwise not be recognized.
Casey Dworkin, the founder of the sustainable shoe brand Sylven New York, explains: “When we first came on the market in 2017, the material landscape was so different and the types of vegan materials that met my sustainability claim did not yet exist. But now, four years later, we are able to source incredible materials like our signature apple leather from organic apple food waste, lining made from wheat and corn and insoles made from coconut shells. “
Another brand that is showcasing its sustainable innovations at Vegan Fashion Week is Shoes 53045, which produces 100 percent vegan unisex sneaker-shoe hybrids with bubble-air comfort. They also have exciting new materials under development, including vegan corn-based leather and recycled polyurethane.
According to Aurelia Ammour, CEO of Shoes 53045, “Vegan Fashion Week is proof that there is a critical mass in this industry for cruelty-free approaches to creativity. Our brand is happy to be a part of it as it is an opportunity to interact with brands and consumers who share our values. “
Conscious consumption is the trend
After the major shift in the food industry to plant-based options, fashion will have a huge impact on sustainability. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of all CO2 emissions on the planet, so the timing couldn’t be more urgent.
Brands from startup boutiques to large fashion houses are doing without furs, swapping animal leather for plant-based materials such as mushrooms and cacti, and celebrities from Billie Eilish to Jason Momoa put their star power behind sustainable style. Even the Met Gala largely ditched old-school glamor for a renewable style and message of sustainability.
Vegan Fashion Week not only shows consumers the latest innovations in sustainability, but also shows that fashion can be ethical. Danielle Goldman, Chief Executive Officer at Sylth Virago explains: “Ultimately, it is up to the customer to invest their money in brands and companies that share their values. We hope to introduce our brand to an audience that shares our ethos and wants to make positive change for animals and our planet. “
About the author
Lucy Morgan is a freelance writer who loves exploring how social justice issues intersect with popular culture. You can usually find them at Glamor UK and Cosmopolitan UK.