Eileen Fisher, founder of a clothing label, American designer and visionary, called it. She declared that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, second only to oil, way back in 2014. “It’s a really nasty business ... it’s a mess.” Since then, questions about worker welfare, environmental hazards and quality concerns (from conscious consumers) have overwhelmed the industry and that has meant that labels, designers and brands have had to think about sustainability and what it means for the world of fashion in a big way. One of their biggest big pain points? The production and use of leather that is “slowly killing the people and the places that make it.”
Embracing environment-friendly alternatives for goods that violate humanitarian values (Muskin; leather made from mushrooms is currently being produced in small quantities) has been a large part of the slow fashion movement - a bid to find more sustainable and cruelty-free ways to shop consciously without compromising on style.
Sounds utopian? The good news is that not only are many independent Indian brands switching over to the ‘vegan-side’ but their sharp and unique aesthetics are also turning heads. From the finesse of customised pleather shoes to beautiful handmade cork-wood diaries, here is a list of our favourite vegan brands who are committed to inspire a vegan-friendly retail future.
The brand derives its name from the word ‘cannabis’, which is historically the source of one of their core substitutes for leather - canvas. PETA-approved KANABIS turns the spotlight on shoes with a collection that is about eclectic colours, the interplay of different materials and (check out their Jute Meets Lace collection) and a bit of bling. A pair for every occasion, they also focus on comfort in a big way - think magical ‘painless heels’ even! However, we love that the brand complements colour and comfort with compassion every step of the way, so have a look-see at their shoes (and a limited collection of waist belts).
Cost: INR 2,000 and onwards.
II. Achilles Heel
Sorry ladies, this one is only for the men. If you like your shoes with the sophistication that leather brings while still being cruelty free, you have come to the right place. While their in-house collection boasts of a variety of styles - from old school oxfords to moccasins - Achilles Heel also lets you customise your very own, unique pair of shoes. Before you decide on the finer detailing, you can choose to have these made in hide leather sourced from their eco-friendly tanneries or opt for ‘vegan pleather’. With aesthetics that seamlessly strike a balance between the classic and the modern, the discreet and the bold, a pick from here is sure to be an exquisite gem in your shoe collection.
Cost: INR 7,000 and onwards.
They ship to almost all cities across India and a few international locations. To visit their website click here.
This brand offers a limited selection of vegan, cruelty-free leather products including weekender bags, laptop sleeves, tan backpacks and gorgeous trunks in bright, happy colours that we’re itching to get our hands on. Their retail purpose is two-fold; offering an alternative to conscious consumers, while simultaneously raising awareness about artificial, ethical leather. If you are still skeptical about hopping on board the pleather train, one look at their products makes it abundantly clear that as far as appearance goes, the differences between the two are barely visible.
Cost: INR 1,100-5,600
A lifestyle accessories’ brand, Arture stocks wallets, handbags, laptop sleeves and travel accessories for both men and women. All of their products are made from 100% natural cork fabrics - a super sustainable choice of material. Very few people know about the benefits of cork - it is highly durable, made from a a harvesting process that causes no harm to trees and also helps to offset millions of tons of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere. The brand has also partnered with ResQ, a not-for-profit animal charity, so that with every purchase on their website, customers can also contribute to help a furry friend out. If elegant minimalism and high sustainability is your mantra, their products should definitely be in your shopping cart.
Cost: INR 800 onwards.
They ship across the globe. To visit their website click here.
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