When Vaute Couture founder and March/April VegNews cover girl Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart contacted us over a year ago to shoot her activist fashion label’s first ever “look book” at our New York Shelter, we were thrilled. Then, when she donated all the proceeds from the sale of her signature Vaute coat to support our work for abused farm animals, we were ecstatic. So you can imagine how over-the-moon we were on February 15, when Hilgart debuted her latest cruelty-free, eco-conscious Fall/Winter 2010 Men’s and Women’s Wear collection at the Green Shows at New York Fashion Week!
If you’re sensing that vegan fashion has officially crossed the threshold from frumpy to fabulous, you’re right. Cruelty-free labels such as Vaute Couture, Olsen Haus, Imposter, GG2G, and Mission Savvy are winning over mainstream consumers right and left with irresistibly chic clothing, outerwear, shoes, and accessories that prove you never have to sacrifice style or warmth to dress cruelty-free and vegan (no wool, fur, leather, or silk). As evidenced by the Los Angeles Times, London’s Daily Telegraph, W Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Teen Vogue, E! News, and Bravo’s The Fashion Show, today’s crop of vegan designers are fashion’s new triple threat — high on style, function and compassion, they are out to give traditional designers a run for their money.
And speaking of money, when you purchase these cruelty-free brands, you are not only saving lives by reducing the market demand for animal-sourced products, but also making a monetary donation in support of the critical rescue, education and advocacy work of animal protection organizations like Farm Sanctuary. For example, Imposter, a revolutionary new fashion initiative that aims to make animal-inspired fashions recognizable as animal friendly FROM THE OUTSIDE, gives animals — including the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and turkeys at Farm Sanctuary — a well-deserved royalty share of the products they inspire. Now, how’s that for giving animals a voice in the marketplace?
With so many chic, cruelty-free alternatives available, it’s no wonder animal-loving celebs such as Carrie Underwood, Alicia Silverstone, Ginnifer Goodwin, Emmy Rossum, Angie Harmon, Emily Deschanel, and Ally Sheedy are already sporting these compassionate labels. After all, these vegan trendsetters know that true beauty starts from within, but a form-flattering Vaute Couture coat, Imposter faux fur hat, recycled vinyl GG2G bag, and a pair of “killer” Olsen Haus eco-stilettos never hurt anyone — literally.
Photos of New York Fashion Week by Jun Lee.