Amy Rebecca Wilde is a force to be reckoned with. A long-time vegan activist, she started campaigning to get fur off the streets of Los Angeles back in 2012 with her organisation Fur Free LA (and last year, she finally saw that dream come true as the city banned the sale and production of fur). Her vegan information account @vegansofig inspired countless people (including Vilda founder Sascha Camilli) to go vegan, and in recent years this powerhouse also launched fashion boutique and events space Vegan Scene. Recently, Amy has been busy relocating Vegan Scene to its new, sleek (and pink!) storefront location in Venice, California, while simultaneously building not one but two fashion labels: Legends & Vibes and REBELIVES.
With so many projects happening all at once, it can be easy to burn out or lose sight of the end goal- but Amy is dutifully unwavering in her intent to introduce people to the concept that vegan fashion can be polished, on-trend, and sustainable.
“Vegan has a bit of a granola reputation. That is fine and great because it’s needed, but also there’s this group that hasn’t been able to come to it (veganism) because they want that modern aesthetic… My goal is to be able to reach more people this way.”
Activism and education are very much at the heart of her brand, although her approach is subtle and gentle.
“For me I came to be a vegan on my own. No one forced it on me. I think it’s a really powerful thing if people can be exposed to it, but it needs to be something that they can find on their own. We do the best we can to be the best ambassador.”
Amy’s first line Legends & Vibes is made from deadstock fabric. Aside from the environmental benefits of using existing fabric that would otherwise go to waste, utilizing deadstock fabric means each collection is unique and limited – a welcome and refreshing contrast to the repetition of mass-produced fashion found in big box stores.
Her newest line, REBELIVES, is just about ready to launch, and was born from Amy’s goal to be as sustainable as possible in the production of her first collection. The entire REBELIVES collection is made from excess fabric from Legends & Vibes, as well as from discarded clothing that has been reworked and upcycled to breathe them new life.
Where Legends & Vibes is more refined, REBELIVES is a bit edgier with more attitude, which is evident in the line’s slogan: “Give fast fashion the finger.”
One of Amy’s favorite styles in her Legends & Vibes collection is the Boardwalk jacket. A true statement piece, the jacket is made from cotton woven material and line with satin. All materials are, of course, made from deadstock.
Both collections are produced in a factory in down town Los Angeles. “We make everything locally in LA. It’s really important to me that everything is made in the US. With anything, labour is always the most expensive process, but it’s important to us to pay fair and living wages.”
The hurdle for anyone championing sustainability is getting public support behind your cause – and Amy believes that vegan fashion is on the right track, but not quite there.
“Within fashion, sustainability is really catching on, but unfortunately the connection to vegan fashion isn’t really there. The elephant in the room is factory farming – I don’t see how we can talk about sustainability without addressing factory farms. I think people still associate veganism with the words “synthetic” or “fake,” so it’s important to me to educate the public that vegan fashion can incorporate sustainable materials. While also educating the consumer that if you buy a jacket that’s leather that it is not in its natural form. Leather tanning is a very synthetic process, but because it comes from a natural source people think that it’s sustainable. So, for me it’s going in the direction of new and innovative materials that are exciting and show that vegan fashion can be sustainable and far superior to fabrics made from animals. “
Down the road, Amy would like to open her own factory in Los Angeles where she’ll produce her own collections, but also to give other vegan lines the opportunity to produce there as well.
Amy comes from a film background, but is still able to draw from her film experiences and education to help guide her through her pursuits in fashion, whether they be designing and building two brands or owning and operating a retail space. Recently, Amy and her team launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them take Legends & Vibes to the next level. Amy always values input and perspectives from others, and she felt that crowdfunding was the best way to bring people into the process to see what goes into building a line.
“It has been bit of the school of hard knocks. There’s stuff you learn when owning a store that you’ll never learn in school. I basically taught myself along the way. It’s not a solo project, though, it’s an entire team. It’s surrounding yourself with people who know what they’re doing. But also for me it’s really important that if you don’t know something, to say that you don’t know and ask questions. I can’t draw for shit, but I have people here who can draw with me! It has been important to have a great team to make all this become a reality.”
Support Legends & Vibes on Kickstarter today here.