Since starting my vegan fashion magazine Vilda, I've gotten a few quite curious reactions. "What do you mean, vegan fashion? Aren't all shoes leather? Oh, right, flip-flops aren't" and "but there isn't any meat in clothes" are only a few of the more bizarre ones. As I've gone about planning articles, interviewing people and investigating brands, I've come to a conclusion: people have quite a few misconceptions about vegan style. In this post, I'll try my best to clear some of them up.
Vegans all look, dress and smell like hippies.
As I write this, I am wearing a Diesel Black Gold dress, the Zara version of Chloe's Susanna boots and my favourite (carmine-free) red lipstick. I smell of The Body Shop's Vanilla Mist. No incense, no dreadlocks. Not all vegans are made equal and most of my Vilda magazine team looks (and smells, I guess) more like me than the stereotypical unshaved, unshowered, Birkenstock-wearing Standard Vegan (who's got more than a few things in common with the stereotypical Standard Feminist: neither is the only, or even the most frequent, version of the lifestyle).
Vegans don't know fashion.
Wrong again - style blogger Duckalicious is proof that we do. We know brands, we care about fashion and we find fashion fun and interesting. And we know how to dress - designer, stylist and impeccably dressed fashionista Morgan Bogle is a good example.
All vegan shoes are rather crappy quality.
Aside from the fact that I've had lots of leather shoes that fell apart just as quickly as the non-leather ones, there are plenty of vegan designers that make quality footwear. Stella McCartney is the first one that comes to mind, but check out Mink, Cri de Coeur and OlsenHaus for compassion and quality. And if all else fails, there's always the unbreakable Converse.
Vegan bags are all cheap plastic.
Once again, Stella McCartney proves 'em wrong on this one (I love how she does that every time), but we've also got Freedom of Animals and Angela + Roi to rival leather bags as durable, reliable and chic accessories.
It's impossible to make a good coat with no wool, right?
Wrong. Vaute Couture was the first designer to show at New York Fashion Week and they keep going strong with amazing cruelty-free winter coats. No more excuses - keeping warm and wool-free has never been easier (I have an amazingly stylish and gorgeous vegan Zara coat that has kept me warm for three winters. But out of an environmental and human-rights point of view, advertising Zara feels wrong).
All good evening dresses are made of silk.
Take a look at Dalia McPhee - luxurious vegan eveningwear that doesn't have the death of one single silk worm on its conscience. Very red carpet-worthy.
Nice try, vegans, but the A-list will always prefer animal products.
Nice try, cruelty-pushers, but Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, Eva Mendes, Hailee Steinfeld, Jamie King, Rashida Jones and Amy Poehler all disagree. They are only a few of the stars that have been seen carrying Jill Milan bags to events.