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 was initially hard to convince shoppers that present-day vegan fashion products were just as good as the real thing.
Over the years, textile innovations have led to a crop of beautifully crafted vegan clothing and accessories that merged cruelty-free materials with a strong, minimalist aesthetic. The journey was, however, no cakewalk. In fact, brands like Stella McCartney – although it is qualified as a vegetarian and not specifically a vegan brand – had to prove the possibility of creating luxury fashion sans leather and fur to a skeptical industry. Since its inception, the British fashion house has been a pioneer in creating gorgeous, high-end clothing and accessories without the use of real fur or leather. Other brands like Nanushka have been advocating ethically made fashion for years, while newer companies such as Pangaia are pioneering advanced technology to minimize the environmental impact of its products, which is an excellent step forward for the trillion-dollar fashion industry and one we hope many others follow.
At a time when mindful consumption and switching to a sustainable wardrobe is more vital than ever, we at Savoir Flair have put together a list of the coolest vegan fashion and accessory brands. Scroll down to discover and shop our favorite vegan brands.
Dubai-based vegan handbag brand Eurthlin is dedicated to spreading awareness about animal cruelty. Motivated by the belief that animals are equal inhabitants of our planet and not here for us to exploit, the brand works with PETA-approved vegan leather, organic cotton, and recycled plastic bottles. Even their packaging is entirely compostable. Ethically produced in the UAE, Eurthlin believes in giving back to nature. To that end, the brand plants one tree in the Amazon forest for every product sold.
Veja – which translates to “look” in Portuguese – reflects the brand’s ideology. The French footwear brand’s founders believe in looking at a product and being mindful of its origins. Veja’s vegan shoes – made from recycled plastic bottles, wild Amazonian rubber, and ecological leather – went viral after Emma Watson wore them in 2016. From the royal wardrobe of Meghan Markle to Hollywood royalty, the covetable ‘V’ stamped sneakers have been walked in by everyone. The verdict? The cool girl’s go-to sneakers offer the utmost comfort and versatility in terms of styling.
Shortly after graduating from London College of Fashion, Sandra Sandor launched her label, Nanushka, in 2006. Clean silhouettes, subtle femininity, and functionality are the core of Nanushka’s designs. From Hailey Beiber, Priyanka Chopra to Rosie Hungtington–Whiteley, Nanushka’s uber-cool, versatile staples have many famous fans. Free-spirited and progressive, the brand is committed to protecting the planet and ensuring a sustainable future through the intelligent use of materials. Nanushka believes in empowering communities and strives to change the way fashion is produced.
Born out of the need to transcend trends, Los Angeles based Rafa is a cruelty-free luxury footwear brand. Handcrafted by a group of 20 artisans, the brand is committed to supporting local artisans. Elegant and timeless, Rafa shoes are made with ecologically-friendly products and a sustainable process.
A failed quest for a minimal and elegant sandal inspired founder Carly Burnett to launch Tkees. Driven by the belief that the most effective design is the simplest one, Tkees is dedicated to designing sandals so minimal the difference between them on and off is almost invisible. The minimalist brand – which is famous for its narrow strapped leather flip-flops – offers a vegan range as well. Most of the brand’s best selling designs are available in vegan leather.
Los Angeles based brand JW PEI is inspired by the modern, empowered woman. Staying true to its ideology, the brand offers accessories made from high-quality canvas, polyurethane, and recycled plastic bottles. Handbags and shoes designed to reflect a contemporary minimalist aesthetic are at the heart of the brand.
Pangaia is essentially a movement started to design a sustainable future. Motivated by a unified mission to save the planet, scientists, technologists, and designers work together at the material science company to create essential products using smart technology and bio-engineered materials. The poppy colored loungewear – that you’re likely to have spotted on the likes of Kourtney Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Danielle Bernstein – is made from recycled fibers, recycled plastic bottles, and natural botanical dyes. With its breakthrough technology, the company strives to reduce the environmental difficulties faced by the fashion industry.
Aera’s motto is 100% luxury, 110% sustainable. As the brainchild of Tina Bhojwani and Jean-Michel Cazabat, the brand was born out of the desire to redefine traditional luxury. While a luxury item is an exquisite possession, Aera’s creative footwear pieces support a sustainable future, and are produced of high-quality eco-friendly materials, and its products are verified by SCS Global Services to ensure that its environmental impact is 100% offset.
The brand strives not only to neutralize its impact on the planet, but also to go a step further and help it heal. Aera has been awarded the ‘Butterfly Mark’ by Positive Luxury, a unique trust mark presented to luxury lifestyle brands as a guarantee of their commitment to creating a positive impact.
Apart from the exception of sneakers, vegan footwear is still extremely rare and challenging to find. Hence, when Alfredo Piferi – the former head designer at Jimmy Choo – debuted his eponymous shoe collection during Milan Fashion Week in February, it was a game-changer. Piferi’s luxury vegan sandals and boots are produced using faux suede from reclaimed plastic bottles, recycled polyester, recycled Lurex, and corn oil. The avant-garde footwear also features removable elements like rhinestone anklets. The groundbreaking shoe collection will be launched in November and will be stocked at Level Shoes in Dubai Mall.
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.
Matt and 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 a wide range of vegan and recycled products.
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.