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The V word: the animal-free ethical trend booming across fashion, beauty and homewear

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By Kate Berry & Sally Blaxall, QHQ

With first ever Vegan Fashion Week held in LA last month and a high profile #Veganuary social media campaign to start the year, 2019 is turning out to be very vegan-friendly indeed. A record 250,000 people signed up to the campaign this year, giving up all meat and dairy products from their diets for the duration of January. The figures this year surpass the number of pledges in the last four years combined and the organisation predicts that 60% of those who took part in the challenge will stay vegan in the future.

(Photo: Dr Martens)

“Vegan Fashion Week is going to exist until every fashion house decides this is the norm. There is no room for cruelty or for ways of doing fashion that is polluting this planet.” - Emmanuelle Rienda, founder of Le Frenchlab

Vegan products are defined by PETA as being: “clothes, shoes and accessories that contain no leather, fur, wool, skin, exotic skins or any other animal-derived fabric.”

Veganism as a lifestyle choice is more popular than ever and with ever-rising #crueltyfree product demand, retailers, beauty brands and designers are raising their game to meet the animal-free market needs. “

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” - The Vegan Society

Vegan events are popping up worldwide, celebrating the vegan lifestyle with food, health activities, clothing and beauty products. This August in London, the ‘Bare Fashion’ event will take place, presenting two vegan fashion shows, a panel of speakers discussing veganism, a VIP lounge area, ethical pop-up shops and vegan food stands. There are also increasing numbers of animal-free products in high-street stores and new brands are establishing themselves as offering only 100% vegan products. Brands like Kooples ( thekooples.com ) are proudly displaying PETA’s approved vegan logo on their packaging.

(Photo: The Kooples)

Whilst others, such as British heritage footwear brand, Dr Martens have developed their vegan product line alongside their traditional product to offer more choice. Their iconic ‘DMs’ now come in13 different vegan boot styles, as well as 6 vegan shoe styles, two vegan sandal styles and there are three vegan bags in their latest collection. It’s not just fashion, the vegan beauty market is booming too with established brands such as Clarins launching vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics product lines in order to take

advantage of the growing demand from consumers seeking out cruelty-free cosmetics. Clarins new line is vegan, paraben-free, sulphate-free and phthalate-free, with packaging made from recycled material sourced from sustainably-managed forests. And established haircare brand, Wella Professionals has launched new vegan plant-based hair colour to the ever growing market.

(Photo: Clarins)

The UK’s first vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics show: Cruelty-Free, Vegan Beauty & Skincare Show, takes place in Manchester this month to showcase a wide range of non- toxic beauty products from a variety of environmentally-friendly companies.
The ‘clean beauty’ and ‘wellness’ trends once championed by Gwyneth Paltrow’s fashion- conscious website, Goop have morphed from niche to mainstream. A report released last month by the British Soil Association Certification showed how ‘conscious consumerism´ has pushed the UK organic beauty and wellbeing market to an all-time high, with millennials and Gen Zs buying in. The number of beauty products in Europe certified with Soil Association COSMOS doubled last year to reach more than 10,000 products across 794 brands, pushing the sector into its eighth consecutive year of growth.

The Global Wellness Economy Monitor report 2018 shows the market grew in value from $3.7 trillion in 2015 to $4.2 trillion in 2017 – an increase of 12.8 per cent:

“The wellness economy has grown at nearly twice the rate of global economic growth 3.6%. Personal care and beauty accounted for more than $1 billion in 2017.”

As more and more people strive to live a cruelty free lifestyle, this inevitably affects their homeware choices and raises the demand for ‘clean living’ and vegan homeware. Leather, down, fur, silk and wool are fairly easy to identify but animal products and materials tested on animals can find their way into paint, candles and accessories. Many commercial paints contain casein, a protein that is derived from milk. Homeware brand, Auro has now launched a specialist range of paints that are casein and cruelty free, based on organic oil resins and plant-based pigments. Increasingly, people suffering with allergies are turning to synthetic alternatives and there is a gathering mainstream homeware trend towards plant- based products and natural fibres – linen, cotton, hemp, natural fragrances and soy wax candles to contribute to a healthier, chemical-free home and lifestyle choice.

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