In recent years, the vegan fashion movement has gained greater momentum as more consumers seek out cruelty-free apparel and footwear options. And that trend will only continue to grow, according to experts speaking today at the WWDMagic trade show in Las Vegas.
Molly Tuttle, a vegan style influencer and founder of the blog Fashion Veggie, noted that the majority of her online followers are in the 30-and-under demographic set. “Young people today really care about environmental topics — it’s their world they’re inheriting,” she said. “And millennials want change, especially if they’re the ones who can help bring it about.”
She added that younger shoppers also expect a greater degree of transparency from brands and retailers about what they’re purchasing. “Soon you’ll be an outlier if you don’t give full transparency about your supply chain,” said Tuttle.
And while in the past, vegan fashion suffered from a stigma in terms of quality and sustainability, improvements in manufacturing are now changing opinions, explained actress and activist Daniella Monet. “And one of the best advantages of buying vegan is that you can get a beautiful product for a fraction of the cost,” she said.
Monet, who recently launched Kinder Beauty Box (a subscription-based service featuring ethically-sourced products) cited Stella McCartney as one of her favorite designers of cruelty-free fashions, and she pointed to strong vegan collections from fast-fashion labels. “But I do feel like there is a gap for products in this space where you’re shopping for something you love and want to wear forever, but you don’t want to pay a Stella McCartney price,” said Monet.
She also lamented the fact that more brands don’t do enough to market their vegan products.
That’s one area where the PETA organization is trying to help. Christina Sewell, fashion campaign manager for the nonprofit, said PETA works not only to show how animals are mistreated in the manufacturing process; it also is partnering with companies to draw much-needed attention to positive actions.
It has created a special hangtag featuring a “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo, which can be hung on items for display or posted online. Footwear brands such as BC, Aldo, Native and Rungg Shoes already carry the label.
Sewell encouraged fashion labels to change their messaging with customers. “The conversation you need to have with consumers is to slow things down,” she said. “Encourage them to think about what they’re buying as an investment piece and to think about the impact of every purchase they make.”