THE REALIZATION- I didn’t start eating Vegan to save the animals. To be honest, I started eating that way for much more selfish reasons. I don’t know what it is, but a couple months after I stopped eating any animal products, I just started to feel not quite right when it came to wearing animal either. Maybe eating vegan was making me more compassionate from the inside out. Maybe I was having some great epiphany! Or maybe I just started to see things exactly for what they are. When I recognized that butter is not an ingredient, it’s churned baby cow food from it’s Mom’s lactating nipples, I couldnt ignore that leather and fur are not just textile materials. They are skin peeled off dead animals (not trying to be vulgar, that’s factually exactly what they are). These are obviously things I knew before but for some reason I was able to turn a cheek in the past and I just can’t ignore it anymore. Call me “crazy” or “extreme” but leather just started to feel dirty and yucky to me so I’m not going to buy it anymore.
THE PROBLEM- No lie, replacing all my shoes and handbags is a little more daunting than I thought it would be. I didn’t realize how much animal skin was lurking in my closet. Also, when I started to look for replacement items I found it pretty hard to find things that I loved but were made from materials that I feel good about. “Premium genuine leather” has always been associated with high quality in my head. While words like “synthetic” and “faux” are typically associated with cheaper and lower quality goods. However, things are a changin’! People are getting more concious and technoogy is so good now that we can make materials that look and feel exactly like leather but are more durable, easily accessible, and don’t have to hurt a living, loving animal that needs their skin much more than we do.
THE SOLUTION- Since my initial realization/freak out, I’ve done a lot of research to find some great brands that make beautiful, high-quality, better-than-leather, faux/synthetic/vegan shoes, handbags, etc. I decided there is no point in getting rid of everything I own and buy all new things at once. My current collection took years to build and it just seems wasteful to throw things away. Also, there are certain items I’m not ready or willing to part with; like the Jimmy Choo shoes my sister bought me to wear on my wedding day and a Valentino bag given to me by one of my dearest clients. I’ve decided I will wear things until they wear out or go out of style then replace them with new cruelty free items little by little. As I slowly convert my closet into a haven of fashionable and friendly items, I will be sharing my new treasures with you. Also, if anyone knows of any awesome vegan brands that might help a sister out, I would LOVE to hear about them. Please leave a comment.
THE PROOF- Check out the cruelty-free fit I wore to a wedding recently!
THE CLUTCH- MATT & NAT Abiko Clutch, $95
MATT & NAT as in MAT(T)erial & NATure is a Montreal based company that exemplifies the ethics and standards I aim to live by andddd makes BEAUTIFUL quality sustainable vegan goods. Clearly, I’m already a huge fan and can’t wait to order more.
THE DRESS- Not that it’s faux leather or anything but in case you think it’s cute and want to know about it…
Endless Rose, Cut Out Knit Bodycon Dress, from Revolve $107
THE SHOES- A brand I used to love back in college and honestly had forgotten about until I searched “nude strappy heels” over and over again on the internet and read the materials of like a million pairs of cute nude heels that all said “leather” until finally I scrolled down to see the joyous word “synthetic”!
ALDO, Jamaicaa heel, $80
ALDO doesn’t necessarily brand themselves as a “vegan” brand -clearly they don’t know this would be a good approach for them to find a new niche market- maybe I’ll email corporate and help them out 😉 -but from my research it appears most of their shoes are free from real leather.