With an estimated value of $2.4 billion, the global fashion industry is the third-largest manufacturing sector in the world and an essential part of economic development. On the other hand, it is also one of the major industries that accounts for ever-increasing pollution. This brings an immediate need for a midway solution that does not affect the environment, animals, or humans, while still generating good revenue for the economy. Looking at these alarming numbers, some fashion designers and other agencies are helping raise awareness on the issue while looking for eco-friendly alternatives to manufacturing fashion products and reducing wastage. Recent trending innovations in the fashion, cosmetic, and food industry comes with veganism. With fashion designers, brands, and influencers advocating for vegan fashion, vegan food, and vegan skincare, consumers are also slowly and gradually shifting their fashion choices to healthier and eco-friendly alternatives. Today, we are documenting the inspirational stories of fashion designers who are trying to bring a change to the present situation. These inspiring founder stories focus on ethical and sustainable fashion that does not come at the cost of a life or environment. But before introducing you to any founders’ story, let us find out what inspires them to become vegan fashion founders.
The Inspiration Behind Every Vegan Fashion Founder
The fashion industry is responsible for a whopping 10% of the annual carbon footprint. These emissions are the result of
- Animal slaughter for their fur, skin, and tusks
- Water pollution from tanneries
- Land pollution with cattle farming.
Besides pollution, manufacturing leather from animal skin gravely harms the humans working in tanneries and living nearby. The demand for animal skin to make leather is a huge contributor towards the animal, humans, and environmental exploitation. The surprising fact; even after such harmful impacts, only 1% of used clothes are recycled. At this pace, the fashion industry will record an enormous carbon emission of more than 50% by 2030.
Some fashion designers and independent labels do not seem to live with the thought of killing animals for one class of humans to live luxuriously. This thought drives them to bring a change while still not depriving people of luxurious fashion choices and inspires them to innovate eco-friendly alternatives to real leather. They found the answer in nature and created vegan leather with unconventional resources. Vegan leather is created with vegan textured eco-polyurethane, recycled plastic bottles, recycled paperboard, pineapple leaves, apple peels, and leaves of other plants. Vegan leather is also as luxurious as real leather. Let us now unravel the inspirational stories of fashion designers who have created a vegan fashion niche to deliver the message of ethical and sustainable living while promoting better working conditions for labor.
Inspirational Stories of Fashion Designers
Taryn from Vegetaryn. Being a vegan herself, Taryn wanted to pass on the message of veganism to the world. But this was not the case for her from the start. Drawn towards non-veg and unhealthy food all her life as a teenager, it was only during her college days that she realized the importance of clean and healthy eating, making conscious decisions on what went inside her body. This was when she focused more on whole, plant-based foods that drove her to realize the importance of veganism. In her own words, “Every time I eat, I am not just eating for myself, I know I am helping animals and the environment too.”
She wanted to channel her ideologies of not killing animals for food or fashion to something that could inspire others to do the same. This was why in 2014, she founded the vegan brand VEGETARYN, a fashion and lifestyle brand for everything vegan. She believes in fair-trade and sweatshop-free production while giving back to agencies like Kindred Spirits Care Farm, Mercy For Animals, PETA, and Rancho Relaxo; all focused on saving animals.
Jacky Wasserman from BEETxBEET. A graphic designer by qualification, Jacky Wasserman won a t-shirt design contest in 2008, from where her love for the fashion industry started. After going vegan in 2012, she wanted to combine her interests and bring something that could help her raise awareness on ethical and sustainable living through her other love, fashion. This was when she came up with BEETxBEET that speaks the language of veganism with a passion for music and fashion.
BEETxBEET is a streetwear fashion brand that focuses on spreading the message of clean eating, clean wearing, and treating every human and animal with care. She promotes this message with her vegan clothing line made in a sweatshop-free environment. She speaks for animal rights and social justice and supports the cause by donating to agencies like Mercy For Animals, Eat Drink Vegan, and Follow Your Heart.
Sugandh Goel Agrawal from Gunas, New York. An industrial designer by qualification, Sugandh lives with a passion for fashion and animal rights. Being a vegan herself, she believes, “animals are not meant to be a part of the fashion or food.” Inspired to do something for animals being slaughtered for fashion, she ventured on to finding eco-friendly alternatives to materials that would save the lives of animals while looking equally luxurious as real leather. In 2009, she founded GUNAS, a fashion and lifestyle brand that brings luxurious vegan leather handbags, shoes, clean beauty, and accessories.
She lives by her ideologies and raises awareness on animal rights and ethical and sustainable living through her brand. Gunas is the first and only brand in the USA that uses ‘mulbtex,’ a completely plastic-free material made with mulberry plant leaf pulp. Their products are manufactured with vegan and 100 % cruelty-free materials in a sweatshop-free environment promoting fair trade.
- Charlie McEvoy from Plant Faced. Charlie started her vegan journey in 2015 and wanted to inspire people to do the same through her love for fashion. But, nothing made a lasting impression on her ethical and sustainable choice of fashion. This was when she founded ‘Plant-Based,’ a vegan fashion and lifestyle brand that manufactures ethically made clothing and accessories with high-quality and sustainable fabrics following fair trade and a sweatshop-free environment. She is idealized for planting a tree for every product sold at ‘Plant Faced.’
- Tina Kandelaki and Linda Guseva from AnsaligyUSA. Technically not a fashion brand, Ansaligy is a vegan skincare brand founded by Tina Kandelaki and Linda Guseva in Russia. These girls knew skin needs to be nurtured with natural ingredients without bringing any harm to the environment or animals. They wanted to combine their skincare passion with their love for nature. This derived them to create a line of organic and cruelty-free skincare that every woman can have access to. Of course, the inspiration came from their mothers, who taught them what organic and plant-based skincare could do. After huge success in Russia and Ukraine, these girls have opened their vegan skincare range for women in the US to have access to healthy and nourished skin.
- Julia and Laura from Miakoda. Julia and Laura wanted to bring the luxury of physically and mentally comfortable clothing that does not come at the cost of nature or animals. This is why they launched ‘Miakoda,’ a vegan clothing line that brings you comfort physically with soft, cruelty-free fabrics and mentally by knowing that it did not come at the cost of environment, animal, or any other human being. These girls do not believe in differentiating between people based on their size or any other opinion. This is the reason their eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethically made clothing comes in every size.
The fashion industry employs 75 million people throughout its value chain. At the same time, it adds to the global carbon levels, harming animals and humans in the process. Thanks to these vegan fashion founders and influencers, many brands and people have shifted their fashion choices to vegan and cruelty-free. And, these were the stories of a few inspirational fashion founders who we believe inspire everyone to do their bit for the animals, humans, and environment. We hope you get inspired and start your journey of vegan food, vegan fashion, and vegan skincare.