Sunday, 10 January 2016

[LUXE] How To Shop Vegan Luxe

Giving up leather for me was an easy decision to make, but not exactly easy when put into practice. I can however proudly say it has been around 2 years since I've given up purchasing anything made from animal skin but I have had to make some fashion sacrifices along the way. However, over the years I have learnt a few things about getting my hands on some deliciously luxe, cruelty-free things, so if you love designer fashion but want to find some animal friendly options, keep reading.

Let me give you some background - I used to save up money and purchase second hand Louis Vuitton items that I would eagerly watch being listed at reputable consignment stores, my boyfriend (now husband) used to gift me with Louis Vuitton wallets and Christian Louboutin shoes and my friends would gift me leather bags for my birthday - the dream right? And like a lot of girls, my one fashion goal was to purchase a classic Chanel flap bag, that is until one day I watched a short video by PETA on the leather industry.

See the video here

Suddenly the idea of a leather bag repelled me and all I could see were those cows being marched hundreds of kilometres without food or water to their deaths. If a cow collapsed or refused to move out of pure exhaustion - the handler would rub chilli powder in its eyes to make it keep going. Aside from the torturous ways these cows were killed the lives they led prior to being brutally executed was something out of nightmares.

Most of the world's leather comes from China or India where animal welfare laws are either non existant or not enforced. In the US, according to PETA "many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats cut and some are even skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious."

I remember crying for hours after watching that video and thinking of ways I could get rid of all my leather items that I once held so dear. I remember telling my mum that I would give them all away on ebay for free, or give them away to people only once they had endured the video that I saw. My mother calmed me down and told me not to throw away the presents I had recieved or purchased myself, but to instead not partake in purchasing anymore. Since that day, I struggled through, but kept the promise I made to myself to never purchase leather or anything made from an animal - and yes that included my car seats (which I opted for faux leather) - the salesman thought I was mad, and all the furniture in my  house.

Being a girl that loves fashion, especially designer fashion, I found it quite hard at first to sit back and not buy that bag that I used to save up for, and my husband found it especially hard to buy gifts for me. I used to smile when a friend purchased a bag that I had always wanted or when I saw some shoes that I could have purchased if not for my deep love of animals but deep down I would feel sad and yes, perhaps a little jealous - first world problems right?

With a little research and perseverance, I discovered that I didn't have to give up designer fashion all together. I've made some amazing finds including the Rubber Effect Givenchy Antigona which I hold most dear and I wanted to share some tips with you on how to shop vegan luxe.

1. Don't give up! You can still own a designer item as a lot of designers these days choose man made materials for some of their products (if not for the look/feel or to keep prices low).

2. Do your research. My biggest advice is to do your research online before purchasing something that you think may be vegan.  Recently I purchased some Givenchy slides (featured in the shoot below) and right after buying them, I decided to look up their price online. Instantly I saw the line "leather upper strap" and my heart sank so fast! Determined to prove to myself that I did not just buy something leather, I looked up a few more stores. Thankfully I found out that there were two versions - the full rubber one (which I had just purchased - phew!) and one with a shiny patent leather strap. My advice would be to search for the item on a few different stores as some list material, and some don't.

3. Don't jump to conclusions. The Givenchy Antigona bag that I have was a little tricky. Some online stores said leather handle and strap, while others listed the materials as 100% PVC/Polyurethane and Polyster. After a little more research I found that brands are technically allowed to call Polyurethane "leather" which some stores use to boast the quality of the item. If all the research is done and you're still confused, you can always ring or email the brand. I found that Chanel is more than happy to reply back with a list of all their materials.

4. Know your lingo. 
PU stands for Polyurethane which is slightly more eco-friendly than it's partner PVC. Try to avoid PVC as much as possible as it is really bad for the environment!
Bonded Leather actually contains animal hide so steer clear of that.
Suede, if genuine is also made from animal skin.
If you see the terms Faux, Pleather, Suedette or Leatherette - then this usually means that they are man made materials - so A-OK!

5. Stella McCartney. At the moment Stella McCartney's range of shoes and bags are the most luxe vegan items you can purchase. If you want something that is eco-friendly, animal friendly yet instantly recognised - Stella's your girl #veganfashiongoals. Vivienne Westwood also has some pretty great animal friendly options and recently vowed never to use fur in her designs.

6. Be patient. This relates to my number 1 advice of not giving up. Slowly yet surely more vegan friendly items are popping up in the designer world. I have a huge list of Chanel bags to go through with a consultant who has told me some are "animal friendly" however I want to clarify more with her as to whether the logos and straps are all leather free as well. Always keep a look out when new collections are released as you never know what you'll find.

Happy luxe shopping!

  Vintage Floppy Hat: Shop similar 
 Zara top in XL: Shop similar
Cotton On Jeans: Shop here
[VEGAN] Givenchy Slides: Shop here
[VEGAN] Matt and Nat Bag: Shop here

For the love of animals,

Nadhisha xxx

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