Product designer Elizabeth Esponnette recently unveiled a collection of clothing she created as a statement that connects animals to fashion. Esponnette, an assistant professor at University of Oregon, designed “Cow”—a jacket made from leather with an attached cowhide head that audibly “moos” when pressure is applied—to illustrate how people often disconnect materials from end products in the fashion industry. Esponnette created the pieces to provoke conversation about why people are uncomfortable wearing unusual materials such as plants, crystal, and hot glue, but do not question their casual use of leather. In contrast, the collection also includes a vest made with chia seeds, which Esponnette says, “represents a symbiotic relationship between it and its user: the user needing oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide for respiration and the chia needing carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen for photosynthesis.” With the recent adoption of fur-free policies by fashion giants Hugo Boss and Armani, the efforts of vegan designers, awareness-building projects, and anti-fur, leather, and wool campaigns, are all becoming increasingly successful in working toward the elimination of animal products in the fashion industry.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Esponnette