These days, it’s fair to say that vegan products are commonplace. You could sustain yourself solely on the wisdom of vegan cookbooks. Dart around only in vegan trainers. Use vegan shampoo and conditioner followed by a vegan hair mask. Anything, really. What we’re basically trying to say is that you can now live a vegan existence without excessive fanfare. Vegan leather, however, is deserving of it.
We know, vegan leather can seem as nonsensical as non-alcoholic wine. But once you overcome its seemingly oxymoronic nature, it’s a revelation. Suddenly, items of clothing that were outlawed are perfectly accessible. There are vegan leather jackets to buy and vegan leather skirts to browse. You even consider a pair of vegan leather trousers. But – whether it comes in the form of clothes or bags or shoes – vegan leather would be nothing without the vegan leather brands that do it justice. On that note, here are the ones we adore the most.
Of all popular brands that feature vegan leather in their collections, Nanushka is undoubtedly the one that brought it to the fore. While it was a puffer jacket that tempted a discerning demographic at first, the brand (which is also sustainable) actually does vegan leather everything. At the time of writing, their website carries no less than 141 vegan leather pieces. We want them all.
Founded by Anouki Areshidze in 2013, ANOUKI offers clothes that are as bold as they are feminine. And, although Tbilisi is the birthplace of many great brands, it might be our favourite due to its use of vegan leather. From pale blue power suits to crystal-embellished peplum tops and chain-embellished emerald dresses, it offers among the most inventive pieces we have ever encountered.
In truth, whether or not something is made from vegan leather as opposed to animal hides may be of little importance to you. What should be of importance to you, however, is sustainability. Mashu is a brand with a mission to make beautiful bags that cause no harm to humans, animals or the environment. Their vegan leather is made from water-based polyurethane and stands alongside other vegan materials like BioVeg, Piñatex® and Desserto to create bags that are beautiful indeed.
While vegan leather is often better for the environment than what it replicates, it’s far from faultless. For example, a lot of vegan leather on the market tends to rely on PVC, a chemical that is both bad for the environment and the people that produce it. Vegan bag brand KWONN, however, avoid it like the plague. All their bags are crafted from a Japanese material that’s derived from sugarcane and other flora. Each will blend seamlessly with what you already wear.
If you want conclusive proof that vegan leather shoes are cool, look no further than Dutch brand YUME YUME. Founded in 2018 by Eva Korsten and Dave Hendriks, the duo create shoes that are both idiosyncratic and practical. Whether you’re looking for slides or hiking trainers, we recommend them wholeheartedly.
So, vegan leather shoes can be practical, but what about glamorous? If Piferi is involved, they can be extremely glamorous. These – as the brand itself states – are ‘vegan shoes made divine’. We’d even go so far as to say they’ve cajoled us into wearing potentially painful shoes again. But while the unique heels are a signature design feature, they do flats too. Either way, did someone just utter ‘June the 21st’?