I absolutely love the look of luxe leather and fur during any time of the year — these pieces instantly add texture to your outfit, which gives an ensemble high visual interest. There's also a semblance of luxury associated with both of these textiles, as they're often hand-made and expensive. However, I am a huge advocate for animal rights and hate the cruelty that is associated with both the leather and fur industries. Animals shouldn't have to suffer for our fashion choices and luckily, they don't have to. There are so many great brands that offer faux fur and leather, which give you the same look and feel of real leather and fur, but come with no cruelty and often at a lower price!
In fact, I make it a point to make sure that all of the garments in my wardrobe are vegan, especially shoes, jackets, and purses (which are often the greatest offenders). Despite what so many people say, it is possible to get high quality pieces that aren't made of real animal skin. We could debate the ethics of veganism in terms of food consumption for days, but can't we all agree that something like fashion — something that isn't a matter of physical survival — should be a cruelty-free practice?
When I say that you can get the same look while wearing vegan fur and leather, I mean it. In fact, I think you will be surprised at the quality of these items and won't even be able to tell the difference between faux and real. So here's a breakdown of some of the best brands out there to try if you want to wear animal friendly fashion.
Falabela Quilted Metallic Mini Backpack, $865, stellamccartney.com
The daughter of Paul McCartney, Stella has become a household name in her own right, as she dominates the world of high-fashion with her ethereal taste. She's openly spoken out about the cruelty of the fur and leather industries before, and prides herself on producing only vegan clothing. "I was brought up as a vegetarian on an organic farm in the countryside way, so it kind of came very naturally to me," McCartney explains in a Q&A on her website. "However, the decision not to use leather or fur is not just because I don’t eat animals or that I think that millions of animals each year shouldn’t be killed for the sake of fashion. It’s because I also believe in the connection between fur and leather and the environment. There’s a huge connection."
Not only is all of her clothing cruelty-free, but she recently launched the collection Fur Free Fur, which is a vegan collection of items that features fur-like textiles and fabrics. The pieces are gorgeous and if you're looking for something faux, this line is the way to go!
Lavender April bag, $65, urbanexpressions.com
If you're searching for the perfect cruelty-free purse or handbag, you have to stop at Urban Expressions! The company was founded by two best friends who had a vision for a retailer based on selling high-quality, eco-friendly bags and accessories. Their prices are also very affordable and they're styles are fresh and funky. If you're looking for budget-friendly, luxurious, vegan leather handbags and jewelry, then this is the place to shop!
Siberian Wolf Shrug, $133, helenmoore.com
This company has a wide variety of vegan fur products available, from vests to pillows to scarves and shawls. This family owned business is England-based and also manufactures all of their wares within the country. They ship to many countries throughout Europe and feature very innovative products that all include faux fur! If you like simple, sophisticated fashion, Helen Moore is the vegan fur company for you.
Max Cerulean from Cri de Coeur lace-up sandals, $80, mooshoes.com
Shoes can be one of the hardest items to find in cruelty-free form, but Moo Shoes offer a solution! They sell a wide variety of footwear options for both men and women, including sandals, sneakers, high-heels, flats, and boots. Their shoes are of high quality and of a slightly higher price point, but based on the amount of recommendations they get, it's all worth it!
Matt & Nat "Fabi" Backpack, $165, vickerey.com
This is your one-stop shop for all things vegan and this online retailer offers a large collection of stylish faux leather jackets, shoes, handbags, belts, and more! The site also offers a lot of discounts and promotions, so you can get in on the fashion for a more affordable price point. I absolutely love their classic styles and versatile accessories.
Pixie & Mood
Aztec Print "Steph" Bag, $90, pixiemood.com
This is one of my personal favorite vegan handbags and accessories company, and I have a beloved bag from this brand that I've been using every day for almost six months! This designer offers a unique take on style so if you love one-of-a-kind pieces, you will adore the options offered at Pixie & Mood. Their prices are also reasonable, as most of their handbags range from $40-80.
Organic "Moleskin" Vegan Trench Coat $380, vautecouture.com
A play on words (vaute is a combination of haute and vegan), this high end designer offers a wide selection of apparel that is all made from vegan fabrics. With the company's slogan being "high tech, high function, high ethics," their apparel is extremely versatile, with classic silhouettes, architectural shapes, and eye-catching details.
Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Brands