6 Vegan Clothing / Footwear Brands We Dig
We’re all aware of the positive impact of living a more plant-based lifestyle, not only in what we eat but what we wear. Yet when most of us think of vegan fashion we think of old, oversized hemp shirts and unflattering, often uncomfortable, plastic-filled shoes. Luckily, we’ve come a long way in the past few years.
Today, as the demand for vegan clothing is on the rise, we are seeing an incredible breadth of innovative new plant-based alternative materials that rival the real deal. We’ve seen brands use apple, corn, pineapple, and even cactus food waste and turn it into a durable animal product alternative that will compete against your most beloved old boots.
Remember though, although a brand labels itself as “vegan” this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re using eco-friendly alternatives. It’s important to check that these alternatives aren’t just replaced with crude plastic and that they’re truly sustainable materials. The word “vegan” is a favourite to throw around in greenwashing circles.
At PARO, we also believe it’s important to think not just about the materials used, but look at the brand itself. We label vegan brands that use cruelty-free practices, only work with vegan certified suppliers and support NGOs for the protection of animals.
So whether you’re passionate about animal, environmental or labour issues or you're just looking for a great new shoe made out of plant leather that you can brag about, we’ve pulled together a list of the most innovative vegan footwear and clothing brands on PARO and beyond.
OUR FAVOURITE VEGAN CLOTHING BRANDS
Pat Guzik is a Polish based streetwear designer whose aesthetic is a graphic combo of Asian and slavic cultures. All her designs are made in collaboration with her partner Mateusz Kolek, and everything she sources and produces is made locally in Poland.
Pat believes in engaging everyone to join forces to make the fashion industry less harmful to the environment. She is a vegan, a certified fur free designer and partners with Polish NGO Otwarte Klatki to fight for animal rights and against fur farms.
Sonia Carrasco has worked with high-end designers from Alexander McQueen to Celine, yet always wanted to create her own line to help drive more awareness of responsible fashion through material choices, craftsmanship and transparency.
Sonia Carrasco works hard to ensure that all steps of their production and creative process have a limited impact on the environment. They focus on sourcing the best fabrics using only vegan substitute materials, this season they created a Vegan Suede from Sugarcane combined with hemp and organic cotton.
We also wanted to shout out Montreal-based brand Eden Power Corp. Eden Power was founded by Isaac Larose and Florence Provencher Proulx and incorporates the values of eco-consciousness into all areas of the brand and their own lives. They’ve covered all bases, from using renewable energy, opting to use public transport or electric vehicles, using natural wines as dye, and following a plant-based diet.
With an incredible passion for mycelium, they’ve also developed a range of mushroom-based hats, wine coolers and plant growers to sit alongside their hemp and organic cotton ready to wear pieces.
OUR FAVOURITE VEGAN FOOTWEAR BRANDS
Great vegan footwear brands can be few and far between, as finding a durable and great looking vegan alternative that’s not a plastic croc is a lot of hard work. Luckily, we’ve found some brands that are making huge headway and finding great new animal product alternatives made out of apple, corn and even pineapple. All from food waste of course!
VIRÓN, a footwear brand that is 100% plant-based, has slow fashion at its core and a philosophy deeply rooted in counter culture. On top of all that, they also use recycled natural rubber, upcycled canvas and biodegradable packaging. These really are your perfect alternative to leather shoes.
We also wanted to give a shout out to the sister brand of Viron, Rombaut, who maintain the same core focus of slow fashion and ethical practices.
With a more experimental design focus, Rombaut plays with color form and detailing using luxurious eco-friendly materials. Their aesthetic is that of purity, optimism and gloom. As well as using apple leather, Rombaut has also developed a super soft vegan leather made from cactus and most recently a sneaker foam made out of a resin created from algae and bio-based additives. Definitely a brand to keep an eye on as they continue to create incredible new materials.
Ganni has been at the forefront of sustainability for a while now, creating their Ganni Lab which is a deep dive into their responsible practices and what they’re still trying to work on.
Shoes have been a constant struggle for Ganni as, although they use recycled rubber, a large part of their collection is 100% PU leather, i.e. plastic. Of course, this is vegan but it’s not planet-friendly. This week, however, Ganni has just announced its Vegea line for Spring 2022. VEGEA™ is a new material that uses left-over grape skins from winemaking as well as vegetable oils and natural fibers from agriculture. The process requires no dangerous chemicals and 55% of the shoe is biobased materials. The other 45% is a water-based PU which is a non-toxic resin.
PARO’S TOP VEGAN PICKS
We know the vegan world can be daunting, bland and very, well, plastic. But we’ve worked really hard to find brands that don’t forego quality or the oceans just to be able to label an item of clothing but those that have found value environmental impact and have incredibly innovative, eco-friendly and great looking alternatives to animal products!
Below are our top vegan picks. See our whole vegan collection here.
LEFT: Viron 1997 Apple Leather boots | RIGHT: Viron 1992 White Apple Leather boots
LEFT: Sonia Carrasco Folded Shorts | RIGHT: Sonia Carrasco Deconstructed Blazer