Vegan Fashion Week

The concept of veganism, as we know it today, tends to be associated with plants, nature, peace, and love for all animals-which is perhaps the main reason behind the inaccurate notion that high fashion is not compatible with a vegan lifestyle. Sure, luxurious and world-renowned trendsetting brands and fashion houses are historically known to incorporate exotic furs, leathers, kinds of cashmere, and other animal-derived fabrics to their garments; but let me tell you: vegan fashion is bound to be a game-changer. In fact, famous fashion houses like Stella McCartney, Chanel, Gucci, and Michael Kors have taken the pledge to abstain from using fur in the manufacture of their products.

Another milestone for fashion-loving vegans was made during the September 2018 London Fashion Week. According to Teen Vogue, the requirements to participate in this event included the certification that all used fur in featured garments was to be, exclusively, faux. These developments are significant when it comes to adopting a more sustainable and compassionate lifestyle, especially when we consider the fact that, besides the meat and animal by-product industry, the fashion industry is also largely responsible for the systematic torture of animals for aesthetic and lucrative purposes. 

While the thoughts of animal skinning, electrocution, confinement in bone-breaking cages, slaughterhouses, and chemical testings evoke sadness and disgust, it’s important we’re fully aware of the facts behind the fashion we wear on a day to day basis. The issue at hand is quite serious, but surely there’s something we can do to stop it! The easiest ways we can contribute to the livelihood of animals exploited by the fashion industry include reading labels, asking questions when in doubt, Googling vegan and cruelty-free brands, and supporting local and international labels that incorporate compassionate practices in their manufacturing processes. But what if I told you there’s a platform specifically dedicated to providing visibility and awareness to these very fashion designers, brands and companies? 

Introducing Vegan Fashion Week: an international week-long high fashion event that only features the work of cruelty-free, sustainable, and ethically sourced labels. More than a typical runway show, the Vegan Fashion Week also includes trade shows, vegan clothing swaps, a vegan lounge for guests, an awards show for vegan activists and celebrities, and a wide range of panel-type conferences where experts in the fashion industry, governmental laws, and sustainability movements come together to discuss relevant issues concerning the future of vegan fashion.

Founded in 2018 by animal rights activist and creative director Emmanuelle Rienda, this event was bound to be a total hit. It all started in 2016: after her personal awakening regarding the truth behind animal exploitation combined with her love for all animals, Rienda decided it was time to take things into her own hands and speak up for the voiceless. Shortly after, she created The Future of Fashion: an annual conference series wherein world-renowned designers, celebrities, and environmental and animal activists would have the opportunity to debate over creative and sustainable manufacture/distribution techniques. Due to the immediate press and success garnered by this event, Rienda decided to inaugurate the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week. 



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Emmanuelle Rienda, founder of Vegan Fashion Week

The ethos behind the event is actually pretty simple: according to Rienda, “(It) is not only to better the lives of the animals but also to raise awareness and educate people so they can make healthy choices while picking what they wear.” 

Just like many other runway and Fashion Week shows around the globe, the Vegan Fashion Week has had a particular theme every year thus far. This year’s topic was titled “Fashion is Activism”: a broad theme that allowed fashion designers the opportunity to interpret and expand upon climate, animal farming and ecological change throughout their apparel. 

Highlights of this year’s installment included a performance by actress and singer Kate Nash, a Vegan Makeup Artist award to insta-famous FX artist Madrona Redhawk, the highly anticipated Future of Fashion conferences, and runway presentations of emerging vegan designers such as Irina Tosheva, ENDA, Wasted LA, and Nicoline Hansen, to name a few.



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Backstage look inside Wasted LA’s runway show



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Nicoline Hansen


Glancez Vegan Fashion Week Runway Show

As time passes and environmental and ecological welfare become pressing subjects in modern politics, we can all agree that this also includes wildlife, and the preservation of fauna, as a whole. Without it, life as we know it would probably cease to exist. Now, I’m not asking you to go vegan (although that’s actually a pretty good start!), but I do think we should all delve a little deeper and educate ourselves on the sad reality behind animal farming and exploitation. Throughout conscious shopping, we can adapt ourselves to a more ethical, sustainable and caring lifestyle.


Thanks to international efforts such as the Vegan Fashion Week, we can see how this pro-environmental discourse is finally taking shape and being normalized within an otherwise consumerist society. Now, ask yourself what personal actions are you taking to contribute to this ever-growing movement. An easy way to do this is by starting small and identifying the materials used in your everyday clothing items and accessories. Let’s take it a little further: Is the animal cruelty employed to manufacture them really necessary? It’s actually not as pretty when you look into the cruel process. It’s not as if vegan substitutes aren’t growing more popular by the minute. And, anyway, whoever said vegan fashion can’t be chic? 



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