Once upon a time, cutting-edge fashion equaled fur, leather, and wool — more simply: cruelty. Today’s consumers are more aware of what they’re really supporting with their purchases and many are saying “no way!” to the thought of wearing the fur or skin of another creature and instead, are looking for more animal and earth-friendly options to complete their wardrobes.
This shift of consciousness has made “cruelty-free,” “sustainable,” and “organic” more than just marketing buzzwords — they’re now labels that consumers are actively seeking out and distinctions that designers are proudly offering in their product lines. An added bonus? Many companies have incorporated stellar, forward-thinking business practices into their daily operations and make it a priority to give back, partnering with various environmental, humanitarian, and animal-related causes around the world. Compassion and consciousness… now they are styles that look good on everyone!
Here’s a roundup of seven awesome fur and leather-free designers — with offerings ranging from clothing to shoes and accessories — that’ll have you looking fabulous from your head right down to your toes:
What started out as a quest to craft a truly sustainable, organic cotton t-shirt has turned into so much more! Loomstate offers casual men’s and women’s fashion and maintains a rigid set of environmentally-safe and sustainable standards. The company also offers corporate gear and uniforms and regularly supports environmental and humanitarian charities with proceeds from sales of limited-edition pieces. Loomstate is based in N.Y. and offers international shipping to some countries.
2. Bungalow 360
It’s hard not to fall in love with this brand’s line of quirky, cute designs. Elephants? Hedgehogs? Funky stripes? Pelicans? Take your pick and wear it proudly — as a bag, hat, belt, umbrella, or wristlet. Products are crafted from natural canvas and water-based inks. This southern Calif.-based company donates solar energy systems to animal rescue organizations through its “Powered by Love” program. Purchase online or at select boutiques around the country.
A highly-acclaimed and celebrity favorite brand, Olsenhaus is a completely vegan fashion company, offering men, women, and kids’ shoes, along with a collection of accessories. This line is available at select department stores and boutiques in 14 countries, worldwide. Charitable partnerships include several animal rescue and welfare organizations and founder Elizabeth Olsen is dedicated to showing the world that it’s easy to live compassionately without having to sacrifice style.
Looking for a purse that makes a statement (literally!)? With bags emblazoned with messages ranging from pleas to spay and neuter companion animals to ones that discourage visits to the circus, Calico Dragon’s bags colorfully and creatively express the feelings that reside in your heart. They’re sure to turn heads and, hopefully, open a few eyes to new ways of thinking about animals. This Fla.-based company uses upcycled materials to produce its goods and they welcome international orders. A portion of their proceeds goes to animal charities such as the Sanwild Organization and The Wildcat Sanctuary.
In the fall of 2011, award-winning designer and animal activist, John Bartlett, launched “The Tiny Tim Collection,” which was specifically created to help raise funds for Bartlett’s nonprofit animal rescue organization, The Tiny Tim Rescue Fund. This completely cruelty-free line offers men, women, and kids’ tees and accessories featuring animal-centric designs and messages, as well as a selection of items for man’s (and woman’s!) best friend.
Luxury meets sustainability in Freedom of Animals’ line of sleek and modern handbags. The N.Y.-based company places high emphasis on sustainably-sourced and environmentally-friendly materials, locally made products, and ethical business practices. Five percent of proceeds go the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, which rescues elephants and rhinos that have been orphaned by poaching. Many of FOA’s bags are named after animals that have been saved by the Sheldrick organization.
Della offers beautiful, one-of-a-kind accessories, including laptop cases, headbands, bags, and men’s items. Although a Los-Angeles-based company, Della’s items are hand-crafted in Ghana with native textiles by a group of expert craftswomen and men — a unique business approach that was inspired by company founder, Tina Tangalakis’, volunteer humanitarian work. Proceeds are funneled back to the people of the company through literacy, money-management, and other enrichment programs.
Image source: John Bartlett / Facebook