The phrases “faux leather”, “vegan leather” and “pleather” may be synonymous when used to describe the manmade, imitation leather-like material used in clothing and apparel, but when a non-vegan clothing company deliberately chooses to use the word “vegan” in the names of some of their “faux” leather products, it seems to be a strong intentional statement to me.
Having observed the changing trends in leather vs. pleather (click here to see my previous post titled “2013 is the Year of Pleather”) and the prevalence and popularity of “faux” leather, it seems that apparel manufacturers fall into 4 different leather/pleather categories :
1) apparel companies that only opt for using real animal hides in all their leather clothing and don’t use faux leather at all
2) companies that only make handbags, shoes and apparel in faux leather but don’t make any bold statement on their label about it—just the little tag that says “manmade materials” suffices—the accidental vegan, as it were
3) all-vegan clothing companies in the “compassion for animals” market, who make their mission statement clear
4) Number 4 is the intriguing one, in my opinion, and deserves consideration: mainstream companies that are now manufacturing both leather and faux leather clothing and accessories but have deliberately chosen to use the word “vegan” to describe some of their apparel items.
This apparently new embracing of vegan-ness by otherwise non-vegan companies is worth examining. Vegan lifestyle consumers generally try to support as many all-vegan companies that they can when it comes to food, clothing, restaurants and everything consumable in our lives. These are the companies that are at the forefront of the movement and we at Vegan American Princess are always sampling, buying, suggesting and discussing vegan options, old, new and coming soon. When I saw several new products specifically labeled “vegan” from companies like American Eagle, Free People, Toms and Urban Outfitters, I was happily surprised!
Should I jump to the conclusion that some companies have started to see the light? Or, at least, can I conclude that they recognize that there is an important sector of the market that cares about the ethical treatment of animals and seeks out and purchases those products? Either way, it seems to be a direction that is well worth commending.
Not only do these companies seem to be showing that they are very well aware of the growth of veganism in this country but they are providing non-vegans a glimpse into a world of beautiful vegan goods that stand up to the comparison of the animal-derived products that they are so used to seeing. If these products are seen just as appealing, the average fashion-conscious consumer may make a shift towards espousing a more vegan outlook! Some of these interesting vegan products from mainstream companies that I’ve come across are….
In future, I plan to support these newly-semi-vegan companies in the hopes that more and more shifting towards vegan merchandising will result. I will also continue to support the all-vegan-all-the-time companies that have dedicated and committed themselves 100% to the mission of the ethical treatment of animals. What are your thoughts about this topic? Does seeing a label that says “vegan” mean anything to you? Are more likely or less likely to buy it if it has a vegan designation? I’d love to know about more mainstream companies venturing into the vegan market, so please tell us at Vegan American Princess!