Vegan Fashion On the Rise As Faux-Leather Tech Improves
Pleather no more. Thanks to science, fake animal hides have a cooler, and more appropriate, name: vegan leather, and they’re selling like hot cakes.
The interest in vegan leather is two-fold. One, gone are the days of faux leather looking shiny, plastic and, basically, gaudy. With the evolution of textile technology, mills can produce materials that look and feel almost like the real thing, but with more variety of colors and trends.
Secondly, high-end brands such as Stella McCartney and Joseph Altuzarra have made vegan leather “chic”, and now people want more of it.
“Vegan is a new phrase that has now become a catchword for entrepreneurs to start new businesses,” Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Assn., told the L.A. Times. “It’s so acceptable even in fashion magazines.”
According to the article, Macy’s has increased its assortment of vegan leather products, because sales have grown in recent years. You can thank the fashion-forward animal lovers in California, as well as millennials for the increase. Millennials tend to be more eco-conscious and thrifty, ergo, faux leather is a better, cheaper alternative to the real thing.
And with more Americans turning to vegetarianism or veganism, there’s no surprise why it’s suddenly cool to not wear leather. Well, the real kind, that is.
“People are seeing themselves more as conscientious,” said Leanne Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture, who is known for being the first all-vegan fashion designer to show at New York Fashion Week in 2013. “After food is fashion.”
The growth of vegan fashion, including vegan leather, has only just begun. Last year’s NYFW featured more vegan fashion (and food). Free People, which debuted a vegan leather collection in 2011, has since launched vegan shoes and handbags.
“People are genuinely shocked that it’s vegan,” Ana Hartl, managing director of creative at Free People, part of Urban Outfitters Inc. said.
The popularly of vegan leather is only good news for vegans and fashionistas alike.