Vegan Fashion – Lifestyle Or A New Fashion Craze?


Vegan Fashion – The Latest Craze In Ethical Consumption? – WTVOX Research Impact

Vegan Fashion – About The Movement

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. Pro-sustainable apparel movers 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 a pro-environmental and eco-conscious alternative to the classical fast fashion.

But long before the influencers’ era, Stella McCartney, a pioneer and global leader in the sustainable fashion landscape ‘remodelled’ the concept of quality in personal luxury goods, through new materials consumers should value, thus creating a new trend of non-leather or ‘vegan’ luxury products.
Vegan Fashion - WTVOX Research Impact - Stella MacCartney standing with vegan fur coat with a fox sitting on her shoulder

Vegan Fashion – Innovative Fabrics

Nowadays, a growing number of fashion designers, tech startups and fashion brands are seeking to respond to this new ‘eco-need’ from fashion buyers with the help of innovative and eco-friendly materials. For example, MuSkin (Mushroom leather), Kombucha leather, Lab-grown leather, Pinatex (Pineapple leather) and Wine Leather, the winner of H&M 2017 Global Change Award, are just a few of the companies pushing for high-quality vegan alternatives to animal skins.

It is not only leather that tech startups and their innovative projects seek to transform. For example, Stella McCartney runs a partnership with the technology innovator Bolt Threads – a biotechnology company located in California – together seeking to find better and safer alternatives to the conventional production of silk.
Vegan Fashion - WTVOX Research Impact - Layer of vegan leathers including pineapple leather (Pinatex) and mushroom leather in brown and grey
Moreover, a growing number of fashion brands have put sustainability at the heart of their branding, vision and mission. These forward-thinking companies are searching for new methods of producing sustainable fashion goods from waste materials such as using cork to make fashion accessories and orange peels to create new types of textiles. However, irrespective of all these efforts at the merger of fashion with technology and innovation, there is a question that needs answering: is consumers’ eco-consciousness the main driver behind their engagement with vegan fashion goods, as reflected by their consumption or is it something else there?

Vegan Fashion – 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.