London Fashion Week, taking place in February, is a celebration of all things British style – its creativity, innovation and excellence. As the fashion industry prepares 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 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.
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.
Ration.L is a vegan, gender-neutral trainers brand focusing on natural, eco-friendly vegan materials. The label's core values include longevity, designing with intent, favouring materials that tread lightly on the planet, and creating products that encourage a happier lifestyle. The brand's versatile, contemporary designs have been featured in VOGUE and the Observer.
The brand's founder, Kavita Basi, came to sustainability through q focus on her own health. At just 38 years old, having always been a healthy person and enjoying a successful, career-orientated life, Kavita collapsed with a seizure and her whole world fell apart. She spent two months in hospital and underwent four intense brain surgeries. Faced with the challenge of having to re-learn many cognitive and physical skills, she relied on her positive spirit, family and friends to help.
Her interest in sustainability, combined with wanting to live better due to her life-changing experience, led to the creation of Ration.L. Kavita now also works closely with charities built around helping those with neurological conditions as well as their family and friends.
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 vegan leathers made from non-food grade corn, the brand is also big on regenerated fabrics, with all its linings made from recycled plastic bottles.
KOMODO are one of those rare fashion pioneers – since 1988 they've been dedicated to creating stylish clothes that are sustainable and don’t have a negative impact on the environment. No greenwashing here!
A GOTS-certified brand, they mainly use sustainable materials such as cotton, linen and hemp – always organic. They also use Tencel, Modal and Cupro, made from natural raw materials that have been processed with a closed-loop system, which reuses the water and chemicals which are used in the production process. When KOMODO uses polyester, it always comes from 100% recycled sources, such as PET derived from recycled plastic bottles. They've even stopped plastic buttons in favour of biodegradable coconut or Corozo.
KOMODO mainly works with GOTS-certified suppliers, covering many aspects of sustainability in the fashion supply chains: worker safety, equality, rights and pay. Others are independently audited by organisations such as SEDEX, SAI and AMFORI. They like to build long-term relationships with their suppliers, and visit them regularly to monitor operations. The brand also has their own code of conduct that its suppliers follow.
Nominated for Eluxe Vegan Brand of the Year 2021, FRIDA ROME is a conscious luxury vegan brand, creating bold statement pieces that perfectly embody a modern woman's sophisticated yet contradictory nature. Their stunning Cactus Leather and Apple Leather creations are made in a traditional bag-making workshop a fifteen-minute drive from their office in Manchester. Working to maintain a highly skilled manufacturing capability on UK soil, this workshop is ethical and transparent in their operations.
Their iconic WEEK/END Cactus Leather bag – the first item in their collection – took centre stage on BBC's Dragon's Den earlier this year, when FRIDA ROME successfully secured investment to grow their amazing vegan fashion line. But this brand has always been a winner with us – since they launched in 2020 we've had their launch bag at the top of our bestseller list. We can't wait to see more from this amazing British vegan brand.
By Sascha Camilli
View all our brands at Immaculate on our Brands Page.
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Main image by FRIDA ROME
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