Good news everyone, veganism is on the rise! And with that, vegan fashion, especially vegan leather, also is. I can’t begin to tell you how fuzzy it makes me feel when I see more and more people becoming aware of how small actions such as buying vegan sneakers and vegan shoes can have the greatest of impact on our planet, the people and animals. Veganism is not only changing the way we eat, but it is also positively changing our shopping habits, and the sustainable fashion industry is also gaining some sweet sweet momentum. That makes me happy.
Why Vegan Fashion & Vegan Sneakers though
Several brands are now offering vegan leather as an alternative to the polluting animal skin leather we have been so used to wear. And these have come a long way in their quality, look, feel, and durability. Traditional leather and the dye used for its production wrecks havoc on our planet, polluting rivers, releasing toxic chemicals and hazardous waste in water streams and ecosystems. Animal leather doesn’t only damage the environment but is also detrimental to the workers and people who live in the vicinity of leather tanneries. Harmful toxins released during production increase chances of cancer, respiratory problems and can cause deadly diseases. I warmly invite you to watch The True Cost on Netflix to learn more about the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry.
By switching to vegan leather shoes, a vegan backpack, or vegan clothing, you are supporting basic human rights, ethical treatment of animals and helping protect our one and only planet. It’s a win-win situation in every possible aspect. Here’s my vegan leather dance, you’re welcome:
Aren’t Vegan Shoes bad for the environment too?
It’s a complicated issue because the environmental impact goes beyond manufacturing the material, especially when compared to traditional animal-made leather. Animal materials that require a lot of energy for the feeding of animals before processing, making it a bit difficult to compare with their vegan leather counterpart. And obviously not all vegan alternatives are made equal. Several are derivatives of plastic, which is not ideal. According to a report mentioned in this article which seems to be backed by solid sources, vegan leather contributes one-third of the environmental impact compared to that of cow leather. Do your research, buy smart. But also buy less. A second-hand real leather item has less of a footprint than a brand new vegan one. Please always seek used items first when you shop.
How is Vegan Leather Made?
Vegan leather, also known as faux leather, is no longer the plastic-y affair it once was. Nowadays it can be made from a variety of different materials such as paper, cork, kelp, Piñatex (that’s pineapple!), Muskin, glazed cotton and waxed cotton, leatherette, olives, kombucha (!) and even apples! These materials create a cruelty-free fabric that is durable, and just as stylish as traditional leather – if that’s what you’re into.
Vegan clothing is now made by renowned designers and brands, and you can now wear cruelty free vegan clothing, vegan purses, vegan sneakers, vegan shoes, and enjoy many more vegan apparels. There are many more advantages too – vegan apparels are commonly more resistant to wears and tears, oftentimes waterproof (unlike traditional leather), eco-friendly, easy to maintain, have no gross leather smell, and are often handmade by small local shops.
Vegan Sneakers & Bags: My Vegan Leather Collection
This is my small and humble vegan leather collection.
The newest addition to my vegan fashion collection are these ultra-comfortable vegan leather booties from Mireia Playa. The brainchild of a vegan designer, all the products are Mireia Playa are fun, stylish and different, and these slip-on boots are super versatile, either dressed up or down. I love that they are slip-on because there is nothing worse than bending over with a big winter jacket to try and lace a pair of boots! Beyond being cute and comfy, they are produced in Spain using recycled materials and are shipped using no plastic. A really fab company worth checking out!
The Metropolitan Backpack by Lee Coren is my go-to, stylish vegan leather backpack, serving as a super functional and lightweight bag I use for travelling, commuting to work, and being out and about. I think it looks so good and you would never know it’s vegan. Lee Coren is a fully vegan apparel brand. Everything is designed and produced locally in Israel and use entirely cruelty-free, sustainable materials. Lee Coren products are 100% committed to providing high-quality vegan fashion items and support fair working conditions from start to finish, and I am 100% into it.
You’ll find a huge variety of fully vegan sneakers, boots, shoes, bags and accessories over at Wills Vegan Shoes. Everything is registered with the Vegan Society and PETA-Approved. How bomb are these blue sneakers though? And beyond this fact, they are ethically made in Portugal under European Union employment, discrimination and health & safety law, and super comfortable. I rest my case.
I had my first-hand experience of how bad the issue of plastic waste in the ocean was while scuba diving in South East Asia a few years ago. We tried to do our share by filling up the sleeves of our wetsuits to the brim with plastic floating around. It’s a pretty bleak realization to find out that what you see floating around the surface and contaminating beaches accounts for only 25% of the ocean’s plastic. It’s estimated that the remaining 75% is at the bottom of the sea. If there’s one resolution we should all make for 2020, it’s to be more mindful of the plastic waste we are generating. There’s some hope in that someone has found a purpose to this excessive waste we’ve created. Vegan ethical company NAE Vegan Shoes recently launched their RE-MOVE Shoes from the Ocean Project: shoes that are made of 100% recycled fabrics produced from collected ocean’s plastic. Get a 10% discount with AMELIE10.
This handy bag is the ideal everyday backpack, the vegan leather is made from cork and each bag is designed beautifully and made to last, right where the sustainable cork is sourced – in Portugal. Cork is durable and easy to keep clean, and one of the most sustainable vegan leather out there, making it a great durable purchase. It’s also waterproof!
The Drayton black tote from Wilby Clutch is a sleek and versatile wardrobe staple for stylish weekend outings to the market – well, and also more, obviously. It’s huge, and that’s really what she said, teehee. All products at Wilby are vegan and also PETA-approved, made in the UK, and super fashionable. They use organic and eco-friendly materials whenever possible, such as organic cotton and lining, recyclable cloth, eco-friendly backing and cork leather. Fancy!
Another great item from the Will’s vegan shoes collection are the work boots. How cute are these seriously? The Work boots are created with Italian vegan leather which is made of bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe in a carbon-neutral process. They are breathable and water-resistant and the insoles are made with recycled rubber. Another super-versatile item in my vegan wardrobe.
I bought these second hand on Kleiderkreisel, the German second-hand clothing marketplace, and I am in love. Have I said my new year resolution is to not buy anything new this year? So glad I was able to score these! Dr. Martens are a classic and they’ve expanded into vegan fashion with vegan leather shoes and bags. They are ethical and fashionable and will last for many years, thanks to the quality of vegan leather used in production. These are totes a must!
More vegan sneakers brands to check out
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links which give me a small cut if you make a purchase. This comes at no cost to you and allows me to continue running this blog! Thanks for your support!