You can imagine my reaction when I found out that the world's first Vegan Fashion Week was coinciding with my site launch. The fact that I was in town that weekend and could actually attend the event was nothing short of a miracle, so I packed my bags and drove up to LA to see what was good. If you're more of a visual person, there is a gallery for you at the bottom of this page.
I didn't attend the opening event on Friday evening, but I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday visiting the vendors, attending the panels and getting to know some wonderful people. Designers, creators and entrepreneurs from all over the world had shown up with the message that we no longer needed to use animals in order to create a stylish product.
There were gothic bloomers handmade in Miami by a trio of women (Anastasia Bones), accessories made from recycled materials in the Philippines (Accoutrements LA), up-cycled jean jackets with cool slogans (Vegan Club) and delicate jewelry made from glass bottles (Cled). Some mainstream players were in attendance as well. Will's Vegan Shoes and Native Shoes both had booths, Jakke had a few items on display in the lounge (which for the life of me I could not figure out how to purchase) and CoverFX was a sponsor.
My big purchase was this amazing LBD dress from Enda - it was pricey but I know it was ethically made and the material travels well, so I'll have it as a staple in my closet for years.
Trying to look cool on day 1.
Posing on the art installation by Nicole Blue (@toliblue).
What I found most interesting about the show is that it re-emphasized something I already knew : vegan is an umbrella term that can mean anything from "made without animals" to "made without animals ethically in the U.S.A with recycled plastic from the ocean". What's great is that we are starting to understand the importance of knowing where our clothes come from and realizing that fast fashion (vegan or not) is damaging the planet. One woman I met at the show just found out that the factory she was using to produce her footwear was being sued for using real fur. She had to pull half her inventory and start an investigation. I felt bad for her, but it made me wonder about the factory conditions, and how little they must care about their employees or environmental regulations.
As vegans we care about animal rights because they do not have a voice. That empathy should seep into everything else. For many people at this show, the message was resoundingly clear: what was acceptable 5-10 years ago simply because it was vegan is not acceptable today. We can care about multiple causes, and we're going to look good doing it.
Overall Vegan Fashion week was a great event that I would like to see around for years to come. The panels that I attended were very interesting, so my hope is that next year they run all day in a room dedicated solely to education.
Who knows, maybe they will invite me to speak. 🙂