Vegan Material is the Future of Fashion
Activists have been fighting for many years to end the use of animals in fashion. Doing so would end the violence and exploitation of animals in the industry, and create an opportunity for a more eco-friendly, healthy, and sustainable future. I have seen many victories celebrated for animal rights such as big brands banning the use of fur in their fashion lines. Thanks to activist efforts and pressure from Peta: Balenciaga, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Winners, and even recently Canada Goose have all banned the use of fur. There is currently an abundance of reasons why vegan material is the future of fashion such as animal rights, sustainability, consumer demand, and next-gen material possibilities (to name a few). If you are interested in how the industry is changing drastically or how to get involved in this movement then let this article shed some light on some of the many things that are going on right now.
Exclusive Fashion Shows
Last year our city experienced The Vegan Fashion Show for the first time led by producer & director Vikki Lenola in Toronto, Canada. This non-profit event was able to fundraise thousands of dollars for the animal rights organization Animal Justice and showcase next-gen materials, vegan designers, and much more that support these ground-breaking efforts.
I am honored to be a board member of such a powerful show with an incredible team and community that really understands the importance of helping to create space and change in the fashion industry for ethical and positive alternatives. You can check them out directly or in one of their features in Global Vegan Magazine, Fashion Week Online, Imprint, and Animal Justice for more information about the show. Changes such as exclusive fashion shows, designer/brand expectations/standards, and consumer/investor demands can contribute to the demand for fashion evolution and supporting next-gen materials.
Next-Generation or “Next-Gen” materials are animal-free and environmentally conscious alternatives for traditional animal-based leather, silk, fur, down, wool, and exotic skins. “These innovations are high performance, animal-free, and more sustainable.
This is the next generation of our material economy” states Material Innovation in their report: The 2022 State of the Industry Report: Next-gen Materials. Plant-derived, mycelium, cultivated animal cells, and microbe-derived are just some of the next-gen materials that they explain to lead the future of material in fashion. The report also states the investment trends we have had and can expect to see. If you are looking for what’s next for the fashion industry, I highly recommend subscribing or downloading their complimentary research and updates here as it is very insightful and educational.
Scientific Studies for Sustainable Material Alternatives Growing
A sustainable and green economy demands materials that are non-animal and also non-petroleum-based (synthetic/wood-derived oils). Many current vegan types of leather are composites of waste materials like cactus and pineapples. A recent research study was conducted in January 2023 to explore the possibility of creating a cardholder material that is natural and biodegradable by using apples with polymers like polyurethane. Using apples is something very new to me and exciting to see their potential in material resources. This study found the characteristics of the material to be durable and functional. To read the full article please click here.
Social Media Movements & Pledges
Amy Powney (the creative director for the British sustainable luxury clothing brand “Mother of Pearl“) has created a social media movement & pledge campaign within the fashion community called #FashionOurFuture. Some pledges in her campaign include: renting clothes, buying second-hand clothes, buying new clothing that is only sustainable, etc. Her documentary, Fashion Reimagined was recently released on March 3rd, 2023, and is giving consumers an inside look at how the fashion industry works and how she has been able to create a sustainable, natural organic materials, transparent supply chain, social responsibility, respect for animals, a low carbon footprint and overall great quality clothing line called “No Frills“. While watching this documentary, I was shocked about some of the difficulties that she (and many others) face while trying to evolve their clothing materials such as to obtain traceability and reduce the long-distance materials travel.
Support from Vogue & Top Designers
A personal favourite of mine that is demonstrating its support and creativity with sustainability is the vegan designer brand Stella McCartney. Releasing a BioSequin® jumpsuit (modeled by Cara Delevigne) in Vogue’s April 2023 issue. Check it out on their social media page here which states: “It was crafted in our London atelier from plastic-free, non-toxic, biodegradable and plant-derived BioSequins® — an exclusive innovation by Radiant Matter (@Radiant.Matter). BioSequins® are the first lab-made sequins, engineered from renewable cellulose and innovated by a female founder.” Some more fabulous news is they also claim to only use recycled, recyclable and biobased alternatives.
Clothing from my own shop for The Honest Whisper was also modeled in The Vegan Fashion Show. My shop has only been around for a couple of years but I already notice it start to evolve and adopt better practices such as using recycled clothing in my Etsy shop (also featured in The Honest Whisper’s Lookbook here). I hope this article inspires us to keep taking steps to better our fashion choices and to hold optimism for the future. Some ways we can show our support for this movement is by what we purchase, encourage, research, and who/what we work with (or don’t). I am excited to support these new fashion options and ideally adopt them into my shop. There are many ways to show your support for this fashion evolution and I hope it encourages us both to work towards creating a better future for fashion. There are so many more possible materials to introduce to the fashion world and I can’t wait to see what we do next.
 Bryszewska MA, Tabandeh E, Jędrasik J, Czarnecka M, Dzierżanowska J, Ludwicka K. SCOBY Cellulose Modified with Apple Powder-Biomaterial with Functional Characteristics. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 5;24(2):1005. doi: 10.3390/ijms24021005. PMID: 36674522; PMCID: PMC9866785. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36674522/
Featured blog image (top of page) photographed by Laura Warner contents: Janika @6sideprincess photographed by Majid Mehrabran wearing upcycled clothing from The Honest Whisper (pants read: stop killing animals) during The Vegan Fashion Show feature in Global Vegan Magazine, cactus leather purse by Cacto, sneakers by Organic Garments made using pineapple and hemp, and vegan banana silk yarn from Unfettered Co.