Vegan Brands - Shoes, Accessories & Clothing

Since becoming vegan it has always been a struggle for me finding vegan alternatives in clothing such as shoes, handbags and so on. Throughout the years I’ve found some great animal-friendly brands that are either focusing on all vegan products or offer cruelty-free options within their brand. For me, I mostly struggled with finding fashionable items as I can be very picky with my choice of clothing and accessories so I wanted to share with all of you what options I’ve found out there. 

Completely cruelty-free brands:

Telfar
Handbags
The New York-based brand offers beautiful handbags made from 100 percent vegan leather. They have their signature bag “Shopping Bag” that come in three different sizes and many different colours.

JW PEI
Handbags
JW PEI is an ethical and sustainable handbag brand focusing on completely vegan leather and has a strong passion for making products that are both beautiful and cruelty-free.

Matt & Nat
Leather accessories
I feel everyone that has transitioned into buying vegan leather has come across Matt & Natt. They offer a large selection of leather goods from handbags to shoes that are worth taking a look at.

Mashu
Handbags
Mashu offers a range of high-end handbags focusing on minimal silhouettes with different textures and colours. The brand’s bags are inspired by Art Deco and contemporary architecture.

Shrimps
Fur-free
Shrimps offer cruelty-free furs on a luxurious scale, meaning their items are a bit more expensive than your usual fur-free jacket or accessory. I have one jacket from Shrimps that I love and the quality does feel a lot better than the average fur-free jacket, so I highly recommend investing in one of their jackets.

Jakke
Fur-free

If you want a fur-free jacket but something a bit more affordable then Jakke is a good option. They offer many different styles of alternative fur jackets and accessories.

Munimuni Studio
Footwear
I found this brand recently and they offer a selection of animal-friendly shoes, more towards sandals and comfortable heels. All their products are ethical, sustainable and all handmade in the Philippines.

Susi Studio
Footwear
Susi Studio is a Los Angeles based lifestyle company offering vegan footwear. They offer a range variety of shoes for all different styles. They focus on maintaining an ethical and sustainable approach with their supply chain.

Rombaut
Footwear
Rombaut offers a vast amount of shoes in different styles and colours. All the materials and fabrics they use are sustainably engineered and there are no toxic or animal-derived substances involved in the making of their shoes.

Rafa 
Footwear
Rafa is a woman’s luxury footwear brand designed and handcrafted in Los Angeles. They offer a large selection of shoes that are made to order or you can browse from their in-stock footwear. All their shoes are made from vegan recycled materials.

Vegetarian Shoes
Footwear
I wouldn’t say Vegetarian shoes are the most fashionable or trendy brand but they offer a great number of classic shoes that can be difficult finding cruelty-free. I have a pair of boots from them called Airseal and I think they’re the perfect winter shoe, a bit more chunky than Dr.Martens.

Beyond Skin
Footwear
Beyond Skin is not exactly my style when it comes to shoes but they do offer a lot of classic heels, sandals and a lot more, that I haven’t come across before.

Cruelty-free collections:

Nanushka
Clothing
Nanushka offers a range of vegan leather clothing pieces which I haven’t seen often by fashion brands. If you’re looking for vegan leather dresses, coats, skirts, pants you can find it there.

Vagabond
Footwear
Vagabond offers a non-animal collection within its range of leather shoes. They don’t have a large selection of vegan shoes but they do have some good options and I’m hoping they’ll start making their boots animal-friendly but we will just have to wait and see if that happens.

Dr.Martens
Footwear
If you didn’t know already then Dr.Martens have a vegan collection of shoes. They offer a lot of their classic styles in a cruelty-free alternative.

Veja
Sneakers
Veja has gotten quite popular in recent years as they offer beautifully made sneakers with a sustainable and ethical purpose. Veja also offers a vast amount of vegan sneakers.

Novesta
Sneakers

Novesta shoes have been around for a long time and offer a classic approach to sneakers. Mostly all of their shoes are vegan depending on the material used but at least most of their Star Master collection is cruelty-free.

Birkenstocks
Footwear
I believe everyone knows or have seen Birkenstocks before but maybe you didn’t know that they offer a large selection of vegan shoes and sandals. I’ve had my pair of vegan Arizona sandals for many years now and they are still going strong.

Marais x Alex Mill
Footwear
The sustainable but not cruelty-free shoe brand Marais made a collaboration with Alex Mill to produce two vegan shoes that are the perfect summer mule.

About Arianne
Footwear
About Arianne is a shoe brand focusing on environmentally responsible products all made in Spain. While the brand produces leather shoes they also offer a selection of stunning vegan shoes.


The importance of the slow fashion movement

Slow fashion is about consuming and creating fashion consciously and it rejects the mainstream practices of fast fashion while supporting artisans and smaller businesses, fair trade and locally-made clothes. It connects social and environmental awareness and responsibility with the pleasure of wearing well made, and lasting clothing as compared to the immediate gratification of fast fashion. The movement also encourages companies to be more transparent. The need for companies to show their manufacturing processes increases the companies reputation and can help buyers make more conscious decisions.

The slow fashion movement can be categorised into three areas which are ethical fashion, lasting fashion and ecological fashion and the motto is to think quality over quantity. Ethical fashion is in concern about animal welfare, humane working conditions, exploitation, fair trade practices, sustainable production and for the environment and ethical fashion aims to address these problems. Lasting fashion is about the clothing item itself and thinking of its consumption rate. For this category you need to think about the importance of a clothing item, asking yourself to buy only what you need and what will last for a long time. Lastly,is the impact the actual clothing production has on the environment. Eco-friendly is a term to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal or no harm to the environment. There is really no such thing as a 100% eco-friendly piece of clothing. Often when talking about eco-friendly clothing we are talking about companies which try and make it a point to minimise their damage to the environment.

A few steps to get you in the right direction:

Invest in your clothing
Really think about what you are buying before making the purchase. Think about if the item will last for a long time, and maybe spending more money on a sustainably made item that you know you will use for longer.

Shop from sustainably and fair trade clothing brands
Similar to the previous point but it’s important to think about where your clothes are actually being made. It is better for the environment to buy from fair trade brands and they use better fabrics that are organic and not toxic, which is better for your skin also.

Donate your previously loved clothing or give it to textile recycling bins
I think everyone has donated their previously loved pieces some time in their life but it’s good to think about where you are donating to. Many companies throw away most of the clothes they get donated so do some research on where you want to donate to. It can also be a good idea to try and host markets so people can buy your pre-loved clothing items. 

Support local businesses
There are many reasons why everyone should support local businesses but small businesses promote competition, they consistently produce new jobs, they offer original items, personalised service, and face-to-face conversations with the owners themselves and the list goes on.

Shop vintage or secondhand
Vintage and secondhand stores are curated from pre-loved items and you will for sure find something you will like, depending on the different style of the stores. Vintage and secondhand stores are important as they give life to items someone else didn’t want to keep anymore and then they don’t end up in a landfill. 

Take better care of your clothing
Rather try and fix your older items then throw them, wash your pieces less often or with cold water, line dry instead of using the dryer etc.

How it can benefit yourself to practice the slow fashion movement:

– Contributing to a slow fashion movement will help you take part in moving towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to the fashion industry.

– Slow fashion can lower your carbon footprint.

– You will be taking a stand against labour exploitation around the world.

– By contributing to local designers and producers you will support the growth and development of new local businesses.

– Discovering a new sense of style with your self by following the slow fashion movement with buying not as mass produced clothing in today’s society, most of us are always in need of something new and the world is designed to make us crave even more. It is up to us to decide if that can be changed or if everything is best in moderation.

In today’s society, most of us are always in need of something new and the world is designed to make us crave even more. It is up to us to decide if that can be changed or if everything is best in moderation.


My thoughts on animal welfare in the fashion industry

In recent years, a considerable shift has taken place within the fashion industry towards a more sustainable production. A rapid number of fashion companies are trying to make changes within their brand to make an ethical and more sustainable approach to their products. It is only recently that animal ethics and welfare issues have been brought into focus in the fashion industry. As a society, humans face many issues and challenges, for this reason, many individuals believe that the well-being of animals is not as relevant. Even though technologies and innovations have progressed in the fashion industry, it is still using and selling animal products today. Even though animal product substitutes exist as alternatives for many products, eating meat, wearing and using fur, wool and leather are ubiquitous in today’s society. Animal welfare is one of the main reasons why consumers and companies in the fashion industry are decreasing or abolishing their use of animal products such as fur. On the other hand, not only is animal welfare an issue, but also the environmental impacts related to the production of animal products in the fashion industry. First of all, animals such as cows require very big amounts of resources to grow, wool also has negative effects on the environment, forests are often cut down in order to provide enough land where sheep can be raised for their wool, the intensive use of chemicals in the fur and leather industry is highly polluting, great amounts of hazardous chemicals are utilised to preserve and dye the products, the tanning of leather is mostly done with the use of chromates, which are highly toxic substances. Moreover, a regular tanning facility wastes about 15,000 gallons of water and creates massive amounts of other types of polluting wastes. Taking everything into consideration, the use of animals in the fashion industry can have severe impacts on the environment.

The use of animal products as clothing is embedded in the history of society, and humanity has grown with the natural notion of using animal products as clothing for years. Ever since early history, animal products have been used and perceived as special items with a high level of significance and wealth.

I believe that a combination of accessibility, luxury, quality & durability, and education might be the reason for the widespread use of animal by-products in the fashion industry. I will expand on these four topics and hopefully provide a clearer understanding of how these factors have and continue to influence the endurance of animal products in the fashion industry.


Accessibility

It is true that accessibility influences the number of products purchased by consumers in many cases. In the case of non-animal fashion products, it may be the case that the unavailability of vegan products in luxury stores or any other type of fashion store affects the demand for the product. In many cases, shoppers claim that if they could buy a cruelty-free product identical to leather, fur, or other animal product clothing item or accessories, they would buy the “animal free” option. With the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets, more people around the world are switching to what they consider humane and sustainable practices, which include buying non-animal clothing items. The accessibility to non-animal products has been noticeably increasing, luxury designers such as Stella McCartney, have shown that it is possible to achieve success by selling only vegan clothing products and has increased the accessibility to vegan luxury products to an increasing amount of people. Regardless of the number of emerging clothing companies who endorse a cruelty-free and vegan vision, the accessibility of non-animal products is still not as high as the accessibility of animal products and this might have an effect on why many people often opt for buying animal products.


Luxury

The human desire for decorative and luxury goods never seems to change, which affects many different aspects including animal welfare. To decorate and communicate through ways of dressing while expressing the essential basis of understanding who human beings are and where they belong in the community. Both fur and jewellery have been the status quo for royalty and celebrities for many centuries which creates a trickle-down effect on the “average” person. Furthermore, animal products such as leather are expensive to produce and for these reasons, animal products such as leather can be more expensive than synthetic products and regarded as luxurious. Nonetheless, other non-animal fabrics can be just as expensive to manufacture. It is easy to assume the reason why people still regard animal products as luxurious is due to the “ancient” mentality that animal products such as fur provide the highest luxury, glamour, sensuality, and is usually the most expensive option. This perception of using animal products has substantial historical meaning but that does not apply to the current world today, the luxurious perception of animal products is outdated and does not match the current global trends as well as the movement towards sustainability. This reasoning can be proven by the number of luxury brands that are starting to move away from animal products, luxury brands such as Armani, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, among others, have all stated an end to their use of fur. In an interview with the CEO of Kering and owner of Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and more when asked about sustainability, Francois replied saying that luxury is about dreams, and that “You cannot make people dream if you’re cheating by offering a product that is a nightmare behind the scenes.”Following this question, he was asked about the use of leather in the industry, which he replied explaining how new findings such as biotech, which will enable creating fake leather and making leather out of mushrooms, are things that they are considering and working with as alternatives. Moreover, leather has become more accessible in the market and a great amount of the leather sold in stores is cheap and low quality, for this reason, the perception of leather being durable and luxurious may be less than it used to be. There has been a strong correlation between luxury and animal products for thousands of years, but even though this perception is still strong for many people, this idea is outdated and sustainability is beginning to outweigh the use of animal products in the luxury fashion industry


Quality & Durability

One main reason why animal products are still widely used in the fashion industry today is that they are regarded as to having higher quality and durability. Many people believe that animal products such as leather and fur are everlasting and deteriorate less than non-animal products. To begin with, the quality of the leather is not always the same, it can vary depending on the animal, age, chemicals used, and machinery. Most importantly, these parameters most often fluctuate varying on the target market the product will be sold in. On the other hand, fur has been popular due to its ability to provide warmth and durability. Even though technological advances resulted in the ability to produce insulating synthetic textiles, which provide the same warmth, fur is still used highly in the fashion industry. Fur can last for a long period of time but the production of fur requires high amounts of toxic substances, which are hazardous to health and the environment. These substances are needed in the production of fur in order to get rid of the naturally biodegradable materials in the fur, which would allow it to decompose. This leads to the question of if people want to wear a product that uses intensive chemicals that are harmful to animals, health, and the environment. Perhaps leather, fur, and other animal products were the only option a few decades ago, but today new technologies provide alternatives to these products, providing the same desired look without the killing of any animals.


Education

Education is important since it provides the knowledge to take necessary decisions in life, without education problems faced by society would be more difficult to solve. In that sense, education is a useful tool to facilitate problems and make the world a more prosperous place. Sustainability has been increasing dramatically in the business and governmental sector, but a reason why many people have grown up without any desire or awareness of helping the environment or animal welfare may be because no education was provided to them. Even though the internet has allowed millions of people to have access to education, in elementary and secondary schools, subjects such as ecology, environmental studies and other topics involving animal welfare are ignored. New information and research regarding new technologies and alternatives for animal products are emerging continuously, so it is important that everyone is kept informed. Around the world, information and educational courses regarding animal welfare and sustainability are limited. Even though courses devoted to these topics are available in certain universities, information and education are not available to most of the world’s population. If education was provided regarding animal welfare and environmental issues, then a larger amount of people would abstain themselves from purchasing and wearing animal products.


There are many reasons we could think of why the fashion industry is still using animal by-products but seeing the changes fashion companies are taking there is a certain hope we could discover alternative ways for animal products. It is important to be informed on these matters and educating yourself on the products you are buying. There are many small changes one can do to help with animal welfare issues such as taking conscious decisions.