Vegan Fashion, a lifestyle or just a new trend? The fashion industry is going through a process of fast-movement towards sustainability and ethical consumption. There are many initiatives in this respect, all bolstered by the power of social media influencers and their ardent supporters.
Activist such as Emma Watson and Natalie Portman, are making sustainable fashion ‘the latest trend’ and ‘cool’ for the young generation of fashion consumers.
The broad landscape that encapsulates sustainable fashion also includes veganism, which is regarded by fashion consumers more as a type of pro-environmental movement.
For example, Miley Cirus, in her recent showcase of the Converse collection, promotes to her young audience ‘vegan footwear’ as an eco-conscious alternative to existing fast fashion.
But long before the influencers’ era, Stella McCartney, a global leader in the sustainable fashion landscape ‘remodelled’ the concept of quality in personal luxury goods. She challenged the kind of textiles consumers should value and became the pioneer in non-leather and ‘vegan’ luxury trend.
Innovative Fabrics In Vegan Fashion
Nowadays, a growing number of fashion designers and labels have embarked on vegan fashion movement. A Fashion that creates with innovative eco-friendly and animal-free fabrics.
MuSkin (Mushroom leather), Kombucha leather, Lab-grown leather, Pinatex (Pineapple leather), and Wine Leather are just a few examples of high-quality vegan alternatives to animal skins.
Not just leather but all animal products in fashion need to be replaced by sustainable alternatives. And it is happening!
For instance, Stella McCartney runs a partnership with the technology innovator Bolt Threads – a biotechnology company located in California – to find better and safer alternatives to the conventional production of silk.
Moreover, a growing number of fashion brands have put sustainability at the heart of their branding, vision and mission.
These forward-thinking labels are searching for new methods of producing sustainable fashion goods. From waste materials such as cork to orange peels, innovative designers creating sustainable textiles.
However, irrespective of all these efforts at the merger of fashion with technology and innovation, there is a question that needs answering: what is driving people to engage with vegan fashion goods?
Eco-Conscious Vs Eco-Conspicuous?
So far, practitioners insist that there is a construct of “the ethical consumer” with ‘eco-consciousness’, which is the main driver behind the consumption of the pro-environmental products.
And yet, such theory is debatable as the price paid to become an ‘eco-friendly’ consumer is much higher than the price paid for ‘non-eco’ products, pointing to a consumption type associated more with the more affluent consumer segments.
As such, the investigation on consumers’ willingness to pay a premium price for sustainable fashion goods has become crucial for fashion brands: is it because they understand the ecological value of sustainable products, or is it just a new way of flamboyancy and status seeking behaviour?
In an attempt to explain consumers’ eco-buying motivations, the PhD candidate Mukta Ramchandani and Dr. Ivan Coste-Maniere tackled the above-mentioned challenge by creating a distinction between eco-conscious and eco-conspicuous consumption.
More on this research can be found in the chapters of “Models for Sustainable Framework in Luxury Fashion”, named Eco-conspicuous Versus Eco-conscious Consumption: Co-creating a New Definition of Luxury and Fashion.