The Evolution of Vancouver Vegan Fashion

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A few years ago, Vancouver shoe designer John Fleuvog announced that his company was designing a line of vegan shoes. Fleuvog is known for unique, quirky designs, and uses leather for the majority of his pieces. At the time, I was a few years into eating as a vegan, and had recently decided to take all animal products out of my wardrobe. Frustrated by the glaring lack of selection in vegan fashion at the time, and as a woman who loves shoes and appreciates a pair of good heels any day, the prospect of vegan Fleuvogs was incredibly promising.  Skip ahead to release day, waiting with baited breath, and to my dismay: the shoes were all hemp-based, beige, lace-up flats. (Note- since then, Fleuvog has incorporated several new designs into the line, in varying materials, colours and styles, that are all vegan.)

The prevalence of the colour beige, and the frequent use of hemp, is something I have observed consistently, while transitioning my wardrobe and continuing to shop for clothing and shoes nowadays, as a vegan (dare I say) fashion-forward female in Vancouver.  For the record, I have no direct opposition to the colour beige, or the great possibilities of hemp fabrics and materials. I just appreciate as much variety in my fashion options as someone who happens to wear leather, fur, and other animal products. Those who choose vegan clothing have a wide variety of different tastes and styles, so there is no reason why our options should be grouped into one colour, fabric or aesthetic.

Perception has slowly been shifting, evidenced by designers in the mainstream, high-end circuit such as Stella McCartney. While the majority of us don’t have $1200+ to drop on a vegan purse, there are several local businesses and groups that offer beautiful products, selection, and are slowly working to change the vegan fashion game in our fair city.  The 22nd year of Vancouver Fashion Week kicks off on Monday the 16. In honour of this, we want to highlight some of our favourite local gems.

 

1)    Nice Shoes (https://niceshoes.ca/): Not only does Nice shoes boast a selection of shoes appropriate for day wear, night wear, hiking and industrial environments, they’re footsteps away from the amazing baking at Fairy Cakes on Fraser Street. I have a pair of motorcycle boots that I purchased last year, which held up through winter, and recently kicked ass on a weekend motorcycle ride to Harrison Hot Spring and back.

2)    Bambii Clothing (https://www.facebook.com/Bambiiclothing): The Bambii ladies have swagger, sass, and it comes through in their clothing.  Snapbacks,

3)    Queen Bee Luxuries (76 Kingsway http://queenbeeluxuries.com/): A wide selection of vegan body care products, funky clothes and accessories.  Queen Bee puts an alternative twist on eco-friendly, operating as a collective that sells upcycled retro lingerie, vegan body care,sub-culture inspired accessories using recycled and reusable materials and home décor and pin up art.

4)    V Shoen (Victoria) https://www.vshoen.com/: After purchasing the best pair of vegan black riding boots from VShoen, I was disappointed when I learned they were closing. That said, they are now operating the business through their website, and the styles and sales are plentiful.

Other amazing sites(not local):

1)    Stella Grey (http://stellagreybags.com/): My go-to, classic black bag is from Stella Grey. I ordered it over two years ago, and it came after many poor quality predecessors. It has survived two years of lugging around my computer, a selection of glass containers (every good vegan has snacks on hand), being thrown around at outdoor concerts, and more. Not one seam shows any give, and the “leather” has worn beautifully. I can’t say enough about Stella Grey.

***Stella Grey has offered The Vegan Project community a 20% discount on all online orders for the next 30 days using the coupon code ‘vegan20’!***

2)    Gunas (http://www.gunasthebrand.com/):  Sophie Monk, Anne Hathaway, Jenny McCarthy, and a wide variety of non-leather-wearing babes are all fans of US-based Gunas. Along with being produced in-house in their own studio, depending on the style and requirement, some of the bags are individually handcrafted in socially responsible factories around the globe. Hence most  bags are produced as Limited Editions only.

3)    Sanctuary (https://sanctuaryclothing.com/shop): Vegan ‘leather leggings’. I say no more.

-Zoe-

Instagram: @zoemarg

Contact: zoempeled@gmail.com

~The Vegan Project

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