Spring has sprung, the grass here has sort of riz, and the new spring fashion lines are hitting the runway. (Worst rhyme ever). As a vegan, I often do a lot of “fantasy shopping” during this season; fantasy shopping meaning: Browsing designer websites and posting all the shoes and bags and clothes I could wear, and sighing because I cannot purchase them because I am a vegan. This, inevitably has brought me to numerous boho-chic vegan-friendly sites in the hopes that I might find something to satisfy my fashion hunger. Unfortunately, as much as a dig the boho-chic look, on other people, I prefer a more classic look, and often the vegan websites lack what I want. But fear not! I do have some solutions for you fashion-deprived readers.
Vintage is of course my favourite option, and often the best way to look fashion savvy. There are of course two schools of thought regarding vintage leather. One states that wearing leather at all promotes the wear of it, by making it stylish. The other disputes that there is merit to the one thought, but that often times when you want a really nice pair of shoes, buying a vintage pair that are going to probably last longer will help them to avoid filling up a landfill. Sometimes I find the larger vintage shops to be a little overwhelming, I prefer to shop at places where some of the stuff is selected by the store owner (plus, you get to feel good about supporting a small business).
Another option is to seek out boutiques in your town or city by doing a search on (yelp.com) for vegan clothing. You may end up with some surprising results. However, I have not found this search to be particularly helpful for myself, as the only real vegan friendly shops in my city that sell clothing tend to cater to the more bohemian look.
I have been actually pleasantly surprised with PETAs list of vegan friendly online shops although a lot of them are american, and you do seriously have to seed through them to find chic clothing at a reasonable price that doesn’t come from animal suffering.
A few companies that I’ve found are great: I discovered through Vegetarian Shoes that they carry some more dressy stuff, and even some of their boots are adorable; however, they’re based out of the UK, so ordering might be a problem. Mooshoes carry some really cute dressy flats and heels, and my favourite vegan friendly line: Big Buddha. I also discovered through that site that some of Madden Girl’s line is vegan friendly, and they have some pretty cute, pretty good quality pretty shoes. Of course there’s also Beyond Skin, they undoubtedly have the best collection of really good quality vegan shoes.
There are of course other issues that you have to take into account when you’re shopping vegan. Like what fibers are being used. Most vegans tend to prefer wearing organic cotton or hemp, and avoid man-made fibers. You can also refer to PETA’s website for a plethora of fashion designers that are intentionally vegan. One thing people forget is that there are a lot of places that sell “accidentally vegan” clothing, so familiarizing yourself with what makes something vegan will help you to broaden your search. I’ve even gotten lucky a few times at H&M, as they have their “organic” lines, and the stuff is pretty inexpensive. Of course here is the part where I hear my mother’s voice chiming in about where the clothing is made. That too is another issue that’s worth taking under consideration. Being vegan means you care about animal rights, and people are animals too.
As a starting point for any vegan fashionista out there, I would just highly encourage you to seek out resources that are going to tell you what materials to look out for in clothing. And check out the PETA website (even though I find them deplorable), as it is a good resource. Check out vegan blogs, and get educated – after all, that’s the best way to become a fashionista.