London Fashion Week, which is set to take place this month, is a celebration of all things British style – its creativity, innovation and excellence. As the fashion industry is preparing to move into a post-pandemic era where sustainability and ethics will be more of importance than ever, we list some of our favourite British brands that are leading the way when it comes to combining style with substance. Mindful of both animals, humans and the planet, these vegan brands show that dressing with both compassion and elegance is not only possible – it's more covetable than ever.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
Vegan accessory brands – particularly those focusing on bags – have been launching in droves in the last few years, making handbag shopping easier for the growing circle of animal-loving fashionistas. But none of them is quite like Luxtra, the brand that crafts handbags from fruit leathers and recycled fabrics. Already accustomed to pineapple and apple leather, and among the first to champion materials such as leather made from mangoes or cacti, Luxtra dares to choose plants over plastic – and the result is sleek, sophisticated, and extremely wearable.
Among the ever-growing offering of vegan fashion, men's styles are still somewhat of an afterthought. Helen Farr-Leander, founder of Watson & Wolfe, has set out to change that. Having spent a decade working at high-end label Aspinal of London, Farr-Leander knows the value of style and wearability – and her unisex designs provide an effortless complement to most wardrobes, regardless of gender. The brand's attention to sustainability is also second to none: along with choosing bio-based leathers made from non-food grade corn, the brand is also big on regenerated fabrics, with all its linings made from recycled plastic bottles.
This new British label, founded in 2020, is a one-stop destination for virtually any vegan shoe needs. From sneakers to stilettos, Allkind offers a selection of footwear that offers something for every taste and wardrobe. The brand's ethics extend beyond their sustainably made footwear – all their packaging is fully recyclable, and the label takes part in carbon offsetting by partnering with eco-investment company Offset Earth on initiatives such as rainforest protection and renewable energy, as well as tree-planting schemes.
If there is one classic that every style expert will advise you to have in your wardrobe, it's the white t-shirt. And with good reason: nothing will lend itself to daytime as well as evening, workwear as well as weekend, as effortlessly as this evergreen piece. The White T-Shirt Co founder Penny Jones knew this – and after a career in design, she set out to create the perfect white tee. As an eczema sufferer, Penny wanted to create a skin-friendly product, choosing soft and breathable organic cotton. Her timeless designs are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard to ensure a minimal impact on the environment – but an everlasting impact on your wardrobe.
Classic lines, subdued colours and versatile designs that will lend a touch of effortless glamour to any outfit – British brand Collection & Co is the perfect answer to the prayers of those who have been on the hunt for an affordable, ethical vegan footwear option. Whether you're looking for sandals, ankle boots or pumps, chances are you will find them here – and they will go perfectly with your outfit. Collection & Co are mindful of waste: the brand re-uses materials from previous collections and only produce limited quantities of each design (which is a great excuse to buy those shoes now – they might not be around forever).
We knew we could count on a British brand to create a selection of outerwear to cater to every weather condition – and with Culthread, winterwear just got a whole lot more stylish. The 100% vegan label specialises in glamorous, eye-catching faux furs – but also offers down-free puffers, filled with recycled-plastic filler Ecodown. And as any winterwear label that knows what it's doing, Culthread also offers accessories, such as mittens and scarves.
By Sascha Camilli
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Sascha Camilli is the founder of the world's first digital vegan fashion magazine, Vilda Magazine and the host of fashion podcast Catwalk Rebel. She was selected as one of Glamour UK's Most Empowering Nu-Gen Activists and is a frequent public speaker on the topic of vegan fashion and material innovation. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, read our interview with her.
Image by Luxtra London
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