The Drop: Stomping BootsYour next investment boots are bigger, better and made for stomping
Boots are always worth the investment and a quality pair will boomerang back into life season after season. Your show-stopping boot will take you through winter layers and onwards into lighter spring dressing, so while the prices may well be eye watering, we think it’s an investment worth making.
Fashion Director Natalie Hartley shares her top five boots for the investment shopper – and shows you how to wear them.
THE CLASSIC CHELSEA BOOT STYLE
Guests seen outside Nanushka during New York Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2019 | GETTY
"IT WAS A NANUSHKA CHESTNUT PUFFER JACKET THAT EVERYONE WANTED TO BE SEEN WRAPPING UP IN AT THE SHOWS."
Seeking hide alternatives
Motivated by a desire to ‘preserve our planet for future generations,’ turning her back on leather hasn’t done Nanushka's fashion cred any harm. It was the brand's chestnut puffer jacket that everyone wanted to be seen wrapping up in at the shows last year, and its vegan leather skirts and tailored trousers lend a luxe touch to any outfit.
Of the benefits of using a leather alternative, she adds: ‘It means we can cut out the tanning process which is usually achieved by harsh chemicals. The vegan leather we use is also produced with less water and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals or PVC.’
And good news! Vegan leather is generally low maintenance: unlike a calfskin biker, its faux counterpart can, in most cases, be washed at home on a 30-degree cycle. So, if you’ve been put off buying leather leggings because of the need for a cleaning specialist, a vegan substitute offers a laundry-friendly alternative.
"TURNING HER BACK ON LEATHER HASN’T DONE HER FASHION CRED ANY HARM. IT WAS A NANUSHKA CHESTNUT PUFFER JACKET THAT EVERYONE WANTED TO BE SEEN WRAPPING UP IN AT THE SHOWS."
The ethical labels to love
A slew of new brands, including Georgia-based Matériel and NYC’s Orseund Iris have embraced vegan leather in their collections. In Los Angeles, footwear label Rafa creates most of its shoes using suede-effect fabric engineered from 80% recycled materials, such as plastic bottles.
These names are catering to demand from a more socially conscious consumer: Lyst, the global fashion search platform, reports that searches for vegan leather have increased by 50% this summer alone.
Stella’s star power
But the woman who paved the way for animal-free alternatives within the luxury market long before sustainability became a hot topic is Stella McCartney. The lifelong vegetarian has never compromised over her refusal to use leather and fur in her collections.
Instead, since 2013, the designer’s eponymous brand has used alter-nappa, made of polyester and polyurethane, for its iconic Falabella bags and shoes. They’re backed with recycled polyester and coated with 50 % vegetable oil, a renewable, natural resource.
image courtesy of stella mccartney
But is vegan leather actually better for the environment?
McCartney is the first to admit that synthetic alternatives to leather don’t come without their own environmental concerns. Polyester and polyurethane – which Nanushka’s vegan leather pieces are also composed of – are man-made. The former is derived from oil and polluting to produce, releasing plastic microfibers into the water system every time it’s washed.
According to McCartney’s calculations, vegan leather – once deforestation, tanning and water pollution from the chemicals involved to treat hides is accounted for – creates 24 times less of an environmental impact than Brazilian calf leather. Current iterations of vegan leather score highly where the welfare of animals are concerned, but it’s not setting the gold standard for sustainability just yet.
Morgane Le Caer, a Fashion Insights Reporter at Lyst, says: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised to see demand for vegan leather decline in favour of other bio-based alternatives such as lab-grown leather, which, although in its early stages of development, is already creating a lot of excitement among designers.’
With apple peel, pineapple leaves, cork and other fruit waste all being billed as leather alternatives of the future, maybe now’s the time to slip on something more sustainable than a real leather jacket.
SHOP OUR favourite VEGAN LEATHER pieces
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