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Vegan Style: Fashion with Compassion

Photography by Antoine Verglas

Gone are the days when vegan fashion was associated with bad taste. Today, many designers prove that faux fur and leather equals high fashion. There are tons of great cruelty-free designers that abstain from using animal’s skin, most notably Stella McCartney. Vivienne West- wood even pledged to the leading animal rights organization, PETA, back in 2007 to never use fur in her collections again. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, and Tommy Hilfiger also joined the trend. And most recently, Inditex Co. (owners of Zara) have pledged to rid their inventory of all Angora rabbit fur. Some designers even go a step further: Vaute Couture, a completely vegan fashion house run by Leanne Maily Hilgart was the first all-vegan designer to show at NYFW 2013.

No2 Jasmin Erbas with Nadja Atwal photographed by Jorinde Gersina
Style expert Nadja Atwal is evidently excited about the vegan haute couture by Jasmin Erbas Watch: Haemmer

No doubt about it, the new hot stars on design sky are not masters of silk and leather, but pioneers of high-end designs in faux leather and latex, like William Wilde who bedazzles Kim Kardashian, Kylie Minogue, and Beyoncé with his stage costumes and red carpet creations that seem to prove leather to be obsolete.

“People want to look good in their fashion items, but not if that means that animals are being harmed and even skinned alive for it,” says Nadja Atwal, a top style-expert on TV who advises fashion brands worldwide and even posed for PETA. “Designers who still feel the need to use fur and leather find themselves more and more in hot waters. Sure, some people will resist any common sense argument and will still demand dead skin on their back to appear ‘rich,’ but more and more shoppers want to make a choice that feels ethically correct.”

One of the brightest new stars on the haute couture fashion sky is Jasmin Erbas, whose team creates handmade gowns for the high-end customers from Hollywood to Miami, and from Berlin to Dubai. She is one of those designers who has craved – as she calls it – “good-karma fashion” from the start. After she won the Newcomer Designer Award in Europe, she quickly fooled leather experts with her real-looking vegan leather pieces. “I, thankfully, have many clients who desire fashion that is cruelty-free. It’s a win- win for both sides because it makes a customer even more beautiful and happy while making me more creative.”

VEGAN IS CHIC

Brands are picking up on the new direction and are now competing for titles like the recently launched PETA Vegan Fashion Award. Additionally, hashtags like #animalrights and #crueltyfree are now top trends on Twitter. A big challenge, however, seems to be finding fashionable shoes and bags that fit the vegan bill. Yes, we applaud fashion with a strong consciousness, but few are willing to compromise their “style.”

VeganChic.com seems to present answers to all demands with anything from boots to belts, and wallets to kid’s shoes.

At Noah-Shop.com, you will find the beauty of Italian vegan design from microfibre to bamboo, from elegant to casual, and from ballerina flats to key chains.

A favorite among vegan-obsessed fashionistas are the ankle boots, pumps, and booties by Cri de Coeur.

Andy Warhol once said: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” With so many options to choose from, it’s no wonder vegan fashion is not just a trend anymore, but a change in the fashion world that is meant to stay.

Click here to view post on the 2015 March/April issue.

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