When vegan products first arrived in fashion, they were met with disappointment. The materials were a far cry from the real thing, and the designs themselves were hardly suited to the sophisticated modern woman. Given their floundering debut, it’s hard to convince shoppers that present-day vegan alternatives are just as good as the real thing – and they’re cruelty-free!
However, textile innovations have led to a crop of beautifully crafted vegan accessories that have emerged with a strong, minimalist aesthetic similar to what you’d find at Mansur Gavriel, but for a fraction of the price. While brands like Matt & Nat have been pioneering new ways of transforming synthetic leathers into stylish accessories for years, newer brands such as Nisolo are emerging as strong advocates for ethically made fashion.
Melie Bianco’s focus on affordable luxury is enough to make this brand our new go-to, but we also love how streamlined and well-made its vegan bags are. The company also strongly believes in transparent business practices. While Melie Bianco is upfront about the fact that its products are made in China, the brand does not use sweatshop labor, and relies on fair trade practices instead.
Nisolo’s ethical business practices ought to be mimicked throughout the industry. Not only does it provide higher than average wages for its impressive stable of Peruvian craftspeople, but it is also intent on proving the positive environmental and economic impact of its practices. Furthermore, its passion for quality means you’re getting an extraordinarily produced product at a fair price point, which enhances the lives of Peruvian workers.
Matt & Nat
While other brands and designers are just now getting into the ethical vegan-leather movement, Matt & Nat has been pioneering this path since 1995. It is synonymous with excellence in production and, because it has been perfecting its business model for so long, Matt & Nat is able to offer the biggest range of vegan and recycled products from all the brands on this list.
The foundation of Susi Studio’s business model is “mindful design”, which informs the brand’s vegan and cruelty-free range. While vegan footwear tends to be pretty clunky and utilitarian, the brand’s versions are similar to what you’d find while browsing a high-end shoe boutique – the sandals, wedges, and loafers on offer are both modern and stylish.
Angela Roi, an ethical fashion brand that launched in New York City in 2013, has quickly made a name for itself with its gorgeous range of products. In fact, it is now carried by Bloomingdale’s among other illustrious retailers.