Researchers have found that veganism is “the single biggest way” for individuals to reduce their environmental impact on the earth. So it should come as no real surprise that vegan leather is taking the fashion world by storm.
But exactly what is vegan leather? And where can you find it?
What is vegan leather?
Vegan leather isn’t actually leather at all. It’s synthetic or plant-based material made to mimic the appearance of real leather. And it’s come on leaps and bounds in recent years, becoming more and more indistinguishable from the real thing.
Often, vegan leather is made from plastic. This rightly rings a few sustainability alarm bells. However, the best vegan leather brands use recycled plastic in their production, which goes some of the way to reducing their products’ environmental impact.
Forward-thinking fashion brands are going a few steps further. Working with plant products, they’ve found it’s possible to create good-looking, hard-wearing vegan leather from pineapple leaves, cork and even apple peels!
If you’re shopping around for leather – with all the style but none of the cruelty – here are a few of the vegan leather brands currently doing it best.
7 of the best vegan leather brands
Nanushka creator and designer, Sandra Sandor, is originally from Budapest. And she loves incorporating the modern bohemian style of her home country into her women’s and men’s fashion collections.
From vegan leather skirts to shirts, dresses to jumpsuits, there’s so much to lust after on the Nanushka site. Plus, it’s great to know that this is a brand constantly striving to up their sustainability game.
H&M are leading the way when it comes to sustainable, cruelty free mass market fashion. They played around with a vegan leather fabric made from pineapple leaf waste for their Conscious range in 2019. And in 2020, they brought Vegea to public attention.
Vegea is a form of vegan leather made from grape skins discarded by the wine industry. With it, H&M have created a range of incredibly soft vegan leather shoes and bags.
Who doesn’t love a Dr. Martens boot? There’s good reason these classics have stood the test of time. Thankfully, this is a brand that also knows how to move with the times.
They now offer a range of vegan leather footwear and bags alongside their regular offering. Their vegan leather is soft and supple, and definitely looks just as good as the real thing.
Designer, Stella McCartney, has always refused to use animal products in her fashion collections. So for luxurious, super-stylish vegan leather bags, shoes and garments, this is the place to go.
Stella uses alter-nappa vegan leather, made partly from recycled polyester and coated with a vegetable oil mix. And her brand is constantly striving to make ever-more ethical and sustainable choices.
Click to shop Stella McCartney
Gunas New York
Gunas New York has a great range of vegan leather bags. Our favourite has to be the Moby. It’s made from Mulbtex, which is 100% plastic and PVC free. It’s waterproof and it even ages just like real leather.
So what is Mulbtex? It’s a cotton base coated with pulp from mulberry leaves. This plant-based vegan leather gets a huge tick for its sustainability and cruelty free credentials.
Matt and Nat
Matt and Nat is a long-time vegan leather brand based in Canada. And they have an impressive list of products. Belts, briefcases, handbags, footwear, satchels, jackets… All made from vegan leather and lined with material made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
London-based, vegan leather brand, Labante, only uses recycled materials in its bags for men and women. There are so many styles and colours to choose from, all made from recycled plastic bottles, and coated with over 50% vegetable oil. But this a brand that takes it ethical values one step further by donating an incredible 10% of its profits to charitable causes.
If you want to make your vegan leather purchase even kinder to the planet, download TreeClicks before you check out. Our app or browser extension plants trees every time you shop with one of our partner stores – at no extra cost to you!