This week, the PETA Empathy Center in Los Angeles was transformed into a vegan fashion haven – and if you’re dreaming of becoming a cruelty-free fashion designer, you wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.
The event, titled “How to Make it in Vegan Fashion” was hosted by actor Danielle Monet and featured panelists such as Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (coat and apparel label Vaute), Morgan Bogle (handbag supremes Freedom of Animals, most recently known for a collab with actress Nikki Reed), Meg and Komie Vora (edgy fashion house Delikate Rayne), Bianca Moran ( newly launched shoe brand SUSI Studio), and Stephanie Nicora (shoe heroes Nicora).
Bloggers, journalists and fashion design students mingled in the crowd and learned more about what it means to be a sustainable designer, where to find high-quality vegan textiles, and why cruelty-free apparel is an unstoppable trend in today’s fashion industry. The reason for the interest is obvious – fashion is opening its eyes to the cruelty involved and more shoppers than ever before are choosing designs that no one had to die for. And those designs are a far cry from the earthy fashions of the past – it is chic, edgy and covetable.
The evening was finished off with a collaborative runway show showcasing some of the vegan leather, alternative down, and wool-free designs created with sustainable fabrics created by the designers involved. Materials championed by the designers include pineapple-derived leather Pinatex, recycled plastic and mushroom leather – more eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to animal-derived leather. Including both easy-to-wear daytime styles and more dramatic evening styles, this was a range of outfits that made it clear just how simple it is to dress cruelty-free.
Statement pieces in faux leather and faux fur shared the stage with laid-back denim, 70s-inspired fringe detailing, assertive heels and head-turning handbags. Each outfit was a contemporary blend of quality and attitude – in a way that may not have been associated with vegan fashion in the past.
This was the event that not only opened doors for those willing to create a future of animal-friendly fashion, it also showcased the variety of the existing offer – which is no small feat considering that just a short few years ago, “vegan fashion” was practically unheard of. These designers are shaping the future of fashion.
“Today’s shoppers demand kind, eco-friendly fashion – and that means designs that are free of leather, down, wool and other animal-derived materials,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is showcasing some of the best designers who are leading the way by choosing sustainable vegan fabrics.”
In the video, Leann Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute says, “I just don’t believe that living beings belong in business…we’ve made everything in factories and industrialised everything into machine parts – and animals are not machine parts. It’s inevitable that there will be a point where everything will be vegan.”
All photos and video by Bryan Flores