As someone who started her career in fashion a distant decade ago, I used to get a lot of feels around New York Fashion Week. It brought back memories of working late hours at the atelier and then being rewarded by the beautiful presentation; the glamour (obviously); the taste of Champagne; and most sharply, the feeling of not quite being myself. Being ethical vegan and environmentally conscious, I felt like a fish out of water in an industry that quite literally prized appearance more than anything else.
So it’s a particular pleasure to see that there is finally new kind of fashion week that even the most conscientious fashionista can look forward to: Vegan Fashion Week starting on February 1, 2018 in LA. This is seemingly the world’s first-ever vegan fashion week (at least on this scale), produced by a veteran stylist and French transplant Emmanuelle Rienda. An ethical vegan, Rienda says “veganism is not a mundane diet, this is a selfless choice to actively fight for the voiceless, modifying our everyday consumption (food, clothes, cosmetics…) and a deeply conscious choice that puts in perspective what “loving animals” really means.”
At the same time, Vegan Fashion Week won’t just feature exclusively vegan brands, but also vegan lines and products by nonvegan brands that are looking to shift towards that direction. As Rienda tells Vogue, “It’s not about being vegan or not. It’s about what you’re doing right now [to improve your label], and how can we all evolve together?”
Inclusiveness, of course, is key to making this movement effective to the larger audience (something we at PD always think about!). It’s not about burning non-vegan fashion to make a point, or dumpling red paint on a fur coat. It’s about showing how beautiful, chic, compassionate, and sustainable vegan fashion can be.
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New #veganfashion Editorial I had the pleasure to style is now published in @elegantmagazine. I am very grateful I got to work again with the best team of girls you can dream of in Los Angeles! Photo: @mathildebresson , Makeup: @charlotte_prevel, and #vegan model: @irenenupla with @elitela 🌺
In line with that spirit of inclusion, Vegan Fashion Week is also open to public (tickets are for purchase). This of course is in stark contrast to other Fashion Weeks that are strictly invitation only. You don’t need to be Anna Wintour or Cardi B to score seats at these shows. Also, there will be a Vegan Lounge where you can take a break from all the finery by indulging in vegan beauty, wellness, food, etc.
Rooney Mara’s HIRAETH Collective will be there. Because of course it is.
In the light of recent reveal about how the oceans are warming at a rate 40% higher than scientists have thought previously, and other terrifying news, it’s so easy to give up hope and think, “Does anything even matter anymore?” But the truth is that it now matters more than ever. And while fashion might feel frivolous at times, focusing on positive change is far better than not doing anything at all. As Rienda notes: ““We don’t have time [to waste] anymore—we have global warming, climate change, the way people are treated in the fashion industry . . . . It’s a real emergency, and our generation needs to act right now. I believe we can do it right away with what we wear and what we eat every day.” We can’t agree more.
What do you think about Vegan Fashion Week?
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Photo: Emmanuelle Rienda via Instagram; HIERATH Collective