Vegan Fashion Show Proves Compassionate And Sustainable Choices Are In Style

On Tuesday, cruelty-free, sustainable designs created by forward-thinking fashionistas were featured in an all-vegan runway show. Sponsored by PETA, the runway show began after a panel discussion starring six women who have each successfully established an innovative, animal-free fashion line.

Titled "How To Make It In (Vegan) Fashion", Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute, Meg and Komie Vora of Delikate Rayne, Bianca Moran of SUSI Studio, Stephanie Nicora of NICORA, and Morgan Bogle of Freedom of Animals discussed why the future of fashion is vegan, how to become a sustainable designer, and where to find the exciting, new vegan textiles.

Hosted at the PETA Empathy Center, the runway show exhibited gorgeous vegan leather, luxurious alternatives to down, and fresh, wool-free designs created with sustainable material by the six panelists.

In a statement on their website, PETA explained the compassionate ideals that inspired the vegan runway show.
"Today's shoppers demand kind, eco-friendly fashion—and that means designs free of leather, down, wool, and other animal-derived materials. That's why we showcased some of the best designers who are leading the way by using sustainable vegan fabrics."
While the vegan fashion show focused on the aesthetics of the alternative textiles, the innovative technology behind the materials is quickly attracting investors. According to WWD, several of the panelists, including Hilgart and Nicora, have recently been inundated with interest from venture capitalists. "You lead with the beautiful product, but you lean on the high tech if you want money," said Nicora, who uses the same Massachusetts-based factory that sells to BMW and Mercedes-Benz to source the recycled textiles she uses for her American-made footwear.
"The regular fashion industry is like your grandma's Buick. But this is Tesla."
For her part, New York fashion designer Hilgart is also currently attempting to attract investors who may be interested in funding a Midwest factory dedicated to producing vegan fashion. Founder of Vaute Couture, the first all-vegan fashion brand, Hilgart has offered swimwear designs crafted from recycled carpet fibers, and satin bridal gowns created from recycled plastic bottles in the past. Explaining her method of merging creativity with functionality and comfort, Hilgart uses only three words.
"Luxury is innovation."
Predictably, as more people begin to embrace plant-based vegan diets, the market for vegan lifestyle products has been skyrocketing. Sustainable innovation in textiles is looking to take the traditional fashion industry by storm. Fashion designer Carmen Hijosa, for example, is leading the way in the research and development of pineapple leather via her startup Piñatex, while Bianca Moran of SUSI Studio is working to supplement recycled plastic with Piñatex's pineapple leather to create some seriously enviable shoes.
Meanwhile, Delikate Rayne prefers biodegradable mushroom leather as a water-repellant alternative to suede, while Freedom For Animals boasts eco-friendly, biodegradable handbags made in the U.S.A. from recycled materials. For these vegan designers, the innovative approaches for creating cruelty-free fashion also extends to eliminating sweatshop production.

Although aiming to create affordable, long-lasting, domestically-made clothing that sources eco-conscious materials is an uphill battle in an industry currently dominated by fast fashion, profit, and labor exploitation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As more people become aware of the cruelty and un-sustainability of traditional clothing production, alternatives to the horrifying practices are quickly becoming more accessible. PETA's vegan fashion show highlights the very real possibility that wearing animals will be a thing of the past someday soon.

What do you think? Are you interested in kicking cruelty out of your wardrobe? Would you want to replace garments made from the fur/skin of dead animals with innovative and sustainable new textiles?

Animal rights protester at fashion show
[Image by Natalia Mikhaylova/Shutterstock]

[Featured Image by Markus Schreiber/AP Images]