Trends may change faster than the colors of the leaves, but there’s no better time than fall to spruce up your wardrobe using inspiration from the season’s cutting-edge collections. This year, vegan fashion is more of-the-moment, luxurious, and affordable than ever before. Here are some of the season’s sartorial essentials, and the cruelty-free picks you’ll need to get the look.
Although blustery autumn days are often associated with earth tones and neutrals, statement-making splashes of color are all over the fall 2011 runways. To brighten your look without channeling Cyndi Lauper on hallucinogens, mix one boldly hued piece into an otherwise subdued outfit. Try Alternative Apparel’s organic-cotton Slummy Tee Dress in crimson for a pop of primary red, or indulge in vegan label Vaute Couture’s Emily Coat in emerald. Its warm, weatherproof, and eco-friendly design will make it a staple of your closet as temperatures decline in the winter months. If you have extra moolah (and confidence), turn heads by pairing these brick-red Stella McCartney corduroy pants with a simple cream-colored top.
Designers like Givenchy, Chloé, and Marc Jacobs have fashion blogs buzzing about their leather skirts, but what about those of us who seek the punk-sophisticate look without wearing animal products? Bohemian clothiers Free People have created a new collection of vegan leather items, including an edgy but feminine pleated skirt, that have the slick aesthetic without the ethical conundrum. Don’t forget to accessorize: motorcycle-style ankle boots from NeuAura offer a tough but wearable look from the ankle down, or carry your wares in Matt & Nat’s menswear-inspired faux-leather briefcase. Want the rock ‘n’ roll vibe without going synthetic? Try an effortlessly cool bamboo-cotton blend Joan Jacket by Device, available from Ethical Ocean.
Gimme the Boot
It’s boot season! Shopping for non-leather boots used to be a drag, but more and more designers are crafting vegan versions that are both sturdy and hip. Cruelty-free footwear label Olsenhaus’s lookbook for this season is full of modern, provocative styles like the Andromeda, which has a hidden wedge, and the Millennium, which has a Blade Runner vibe. Cri de Couer also makes avant-garde but wearable pieces, like over-the-knee flat boots and peep-toe platforms. Mainstream designers have also jumped on the leather-free bangwagon; Jeffrey Campbell recently released a collection of vegan styles, including a revamped Lita boot (now known as the “Vita”), and Charles David also debuted a special line of $99 vegan boots at this year’s Fashion’s Night Out event in New York.
The Velveteen Habit
This year, velvet and velour have been making their way into everything from jackets and hats to shorts and leggings. Romantic yet simple, this versatile textile can be worn a number of ways. Melding concepts of hard and soft, Corpus’s velvet moto jacket will look great with or without a Harley. Vaute Couture’s revamped Vaute Coat is made from zero-waste recycled satin ripstop, but has a velvety feel and flattering A-line shape to boot. My Pet Square’s velvet Bustle Dress is perfect for a holiday party or a night out on the town, or pair Boutique’s velvet shorts with knit tights and your favorite cozy sweater. You can even keep things super-casual with some velvet Keds!
Plaid About You
Tartans and plaids, seen on recent runways from labels like Rag & Bone and Thakoon, have a cool and cozy look that goes perfectly with breezy fall weather. Unfortunately, these Scottish-inspired fabrics are often made with wool, but before you fret, check out ModCloth’s cruelty-free and schoolgirl-sweet Pretty In Plaid dress. For a more subtle dose of lumberjack, tuck your skinny jeans into the Just Trekkin’ In Boot, which is made from 100-percent man-made materials, or slip on red tartan tights from Jonathan Aston.
Shopping ethically doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Vegan fashion comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and budgets, and this season’s best trends are all waiting to be brought home to your closet, guilt-free.
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