Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegan Fashionista

Prior to going vegan, I was very fond of Coach bags.  Upon realizing that wearing the flesh of a dead animal on my shoulder conflicted with my ethical values, I was in quite the conundrum.  Can a vegan be stylish without looking cheap or super bohemian?  The answer is yes.  There are lots of companies that produce trendy vegan items, ranging from reasonably priced to rather expensive.  And since I have already done the research, it should be quite simple for you to stop wearing animal products.  When you actually think about it, walking around wearing animals is gross and weird.  Not hot.

Before I give my recommendations, I want to address two issues.  First, what to do if you already own a closet full of leather shoes and bags.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  I’m not big on waste, so I personally would get my full use out of the items.  If you are financially able, you could give everything away.  Whichever you choose, just decide that from now on, you are only going to buy vegan products.  Second, I have heard people poking fun at the “vegan” label on clothing items on several occasions.  If you decide to partake in vegan consumerism, you will begin to better appreciate this label, since animal products pop up in the most unlikely of places.  You will find yourself asking “really?!” loudly in the middle of a store after reading a label and discovering what certain products are actually made from.  Ok, maybe that’s just me. 

TOMS shoes are huge right now, and they offer a vegan line, which “contain no animal by-products.”  The shoes are made from canvas and “pesticide-free cotton, or a unique twill featuring hemp and recycled plastic bottles.”  If TOMS can make some of its shoes vegan, why do the rest contain a suede insole?  Interesting.

LuLu’s sells vegan boots, heels, flats, sandals, and wedges.  Cute and reasonably priced.

Kohl’s sells many faux leather bags that are stylish and affordable.  I stick with the ELLE line, and receive many compliments on my bags.

I am a big fan of Target in general, and their shoes and bags do not disappoint.

I would call this the Coach of vegan handbags just because of the quality and pricing.  The designs are kind of minimalist and utility-based.  The linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and cork labeling. 

This brand is sold in lots of different stores and online.  I have seen it everywhere from Mandee to Macy’s.  Only manmade materials are used. I ordered a pair of vegan boots online and received lots of compliments.  I replied with, “Thanks, they’re vegan!”

This is an online boutique featuring vegan shoes and handbags.  It offers quite a variety.

While quite pricy, Stella McCartney’s products do not contain any animal products.

PETA offers a much more comprehensive list on their site here.

There you have it.  Look awesome and make a statement.  It won’t always be easy. One day, you will be walking through the mall in your vegan TOMS, and you will spot the most amazing pair of boots.  Alas, they will not be vegan.  If you love shoes as much as I do, you will feel quite annoyed.  But if you walk past those boots, you will also feel satisfied because you just “stuck it to the man.”  Most of the time, anyway.  Maybe if more consumers purchased vegan items, big companies would be forced to move away from using animal products. Use your purchasing power and become a vegan fashionista (or fashionisto).