As everyone taking the vegan road knows, food is only the start. Animal products creep into our lives in so many places, not least in our clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Synthetic leather may have gotten a bad rap over the years, but times have well and truly changed.
From bespoke, in-house products such as Birko-Flor from Birkenstock, to widely used options in every color and texture under the sun, you can satisfy your desire to look great whilst protecting our furry friends.
Here’s our take on why vegan leather is so great, and our top picks that you’ll definitely want to add to your wardrobe.
Why It’s Hot
Advances in technology and techniques for manufacturing ethical leather alternatives mean that they are now more luxurious and sophisticated than ever.
It can be made to sparkle, shine, replicate and better suede, or give off hues real leather never could. In short, the possibilities are endless, making it an exciting choice for more and more designers. It’s also durable and waterproof.
Top designers such as Stella McCartney has used nothing else for years, and Michael Bastian and Joseph Altuzarra have also included it in their collections.
Be aware when shopping that vegan leather goes by a variety of names, the most common being faux leather, pleather, and leatherette.
Of course, not all products are created equal. Take your time to research exactly what’s being used before you buy. Having said that it has come a long way from its early outings on dodgy faux leather sofas.
Along with an increased appetite for sustainable clothes, the desire for ethical faux leather products seems here to stay.
Here are our top picks:
Our Top Picks
We’ve narrowed our list down to four essential areas: jackets, pants, shoes, and accessories.
With picks for every budget, you’re bound to find a retailer and product you’ll love.
Vegan Leather Jackets
Stocking everything a woman could want, Morning Lavender now has great options incorporating vegan leather.
Our top pick is their Beth Mocha Faux Suede jacket, currently available for $80.99. This luxurious and versatile jacket goes with anything, satisfying your wardrobe, wallet, and conscience.
ASOS comes in strongly with several offerings in faux leather jackets. Our top picks include this take on the timeless biker jacket classic, Oasis Leather Look Biker Jacket, currently retailing at $92, and their own label ASOS Aviator in Faux Leather, retailing at $119.
Men are also catered for at Zara, whose range of jackets extends from classic puffer jackets in black and tan, through to the edgy sequinned ‘Crash’ biker jacket. Styles ranging from $49 to $189.
Vegan Leather Pants
National retailers like Nordstrom now carry great ranges of faux leather pants for every budget.
Although at the top end of the scale, our eye was well and truly caught by Faux Leather Stretch Leggings from the queen of vegan leather, Stella McCartney. Currently on sale, they’ll set you back $272, but are a timeless classic.
For men looking for the unique look and feel of leather without harming animals, look no further than Sammy Dress. They have an incredible range of styles, whether you want something conservative or downright outrageous!
For something in between, check out their Zippered Faux Leather Tapered Pants, which currently come in at a refreshingly affordable $30.25.
Vegan Leather Shoes
For people following the vegan lifestyle, but with no desire to sacrifice fashion, vegan leather shoes are available in a range of styles, and from both niche and high-street retailers.
Bead and Reel is an ethical retailer, specializing in vegan clothing, shoes and accessories. We were particularly impressed by their shoe collection for women.
From $45 dollar sandals up to $269 booties, their designs are on point and leave no feeling of compromise.
For men, Will’s Vegan Shoes is a British company based in London that reflects the sartorial elegance you expect from one of the world’s hubs of fashion and tailoring.
Their classic brogues at $112 have style and ethical credentials coming out of their ears and are our top pick for men’s shoes.
If this is a little out of your budget, then it’s hard to beat our affordable top pick of Just Fab.
An online retailer who don’t specialize in faux leather products, but carry an excellent, and reasonably priced range of women’s boots in faux leather and suede styles.
Our top pick is the gorgeous Mayra Flat Boots, coming in at $44.95 and available in three stylish colors, along with a wide calf option. It’s tough to beat them on style, finish, and affordability.
Vegan Leather Accessories
From bags to wallets, leather is everywhere. Our top pick in faux leather accessories is Luca Chiara. They’re also super fun and affordable, with a wide range and an old-fashioned commitment to quality.
They stock a full range of accessories, from belts to bags and more. Their heritage in Italian craftsmanship really shines through in all of their products.
Our top pick for women is their Vegan Leather Navy Canvas Large Weekender Bag, currently on sale at a staggering $39.97. Perfect for a weekend away, this bag oozes style but doesn’t sacrifice ethics or practicality.
For men, it’s hard to look beyond the Leather Black Canvas Computer Bag, currently on sale at $29.97. Something you’ll use every day, safe in the knowledge its 100% ethically sourced.
For those times you’re feeling a bit more flush, Will’s Vegan Shoes also carries a sophisticated range of wallets, belts, and bags. Top picks include the classic women’s black City Bag, coming in at $138.
Our top pick for men is the Bifold Tan Coin Wallet. At $50 it’s luxurious, soft to the touch and the perfect accessory to any business suit.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve been a vegan for a while, you may have felt that you were missing out on some of the leather creations out there. Our top picks show that those days are long gone.
Rather than just imitating leather and suede, in many cases, they better it for look, feel and durability. Now that it’s been embraced by national retailers and fashion houses alike, there’s something out there for everybody.
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