PETA Fashion Awards 2017
The fashion industry is known for making statements – and in 2017, luxury labels, young designers, and independent brands made some big ones for animals.
Two major reports published this year reveal that a staggering three out of the four materials that have the worst environmental impact are animal-derived, with leather the most devastating. And as consumers have continued to demand ethical clothing for which animals weren’t beaten, slaughtered, or skinned, designers have taken note. The PETA Fashion Awards celebrate the biggest moments, greatest innovations, and standout brands that made 2017 a kinder year for animals and the environment.
PETA Fashion Awards 2017 Winners
Biggest Fashion Moment
Gucci Announces It’s Going Fur-Free
In a monumental victory for animals – and after more than 20 years of PETA protests – the luxury powerhouse finally announced in October that it would be going fur-free, joining the ranks of Armani, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood, and Stella McCartney.
Designer to Watch
With her first catwalk show at London Fashion Week in September, Faustine Steinmetz cemented her place as one of fashion’s most exciting young names. And she’s already defining her brand’s animal- and eco-friendly credentials by shunning fur, leather, and exotic skins, saying, “I don’t buy leather any more and I think it will continue to evolve even further as I become more informed.”
Vegea Wine Leather
Made in Italy, Vegea is a fully natural vegan material produced by processing the fibres and oils contained in grape marc. Designers of luxury clothing and accessories are already queuing up to get their hands on the new plant-derived leather when it hits the market next year.
The leather industry is not only cruel to animals but also catastrophic for the environment – and since millennials are increasingly demanding more ethical choices, it’s no wonder Zayn Malik and Versus Versace opted to use vegan “eco-leather” in their collaboration this summer. Pieces included a statement biker jacket, a miniskirt, and lace-up skinny trousers.
MOST PROGRESSIVE LUXURY RETAILER
YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP
The trend towards sustainable vegan fashion gathered significant momentum in 2017, and in response to its own customers’ demands, YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group announced it would introduce a ban on fur and angora across all its platforms. Matteo James Moroni, the group’s head of sustainability, said, “We have a strong sense of responsibility and recognize the importance of making a positive contribution to society. … [O]ur goal is to act as an industry-wide catalyst for change.”
Red Carpet Dress Award
H&M Custom Dress in BIONIC®, Worn by Rooney Mara
Proving that eco-friendly can be elegant, the custom-made H&M dress worn by Rooney Mara at the Vanity Fair Oscars party was fashioned from BIONIC®, an innovative recycled polyester made from recovered shoreline waste.
Taking top honours at The Green Carpet Fashion Awards for his couture garments, Tiziano Guardini is a pioneer in the use of natural materials such as raffia and pine bark as well as recycled fishing nets and plastics recovered at sea for clothing and accessories. What you most definitely won’t find in his creations is fur, wool, leather, or feathers.
Best Vegan Accessories
Founded in 1995, Matt & Nat – the It brand in the world of vegan accessories – has mastered the art of ethical bag-making. The company’s bags, wallets, and other items are 100 per cent vegan, and it continues to pioneer sustainable alternatives to leather while maintaining its trademark modern, minimalist style.
Best Vegan Shoes
A Stella signature, the Elyse has become one of the most recognisable – and imitated – shoes in fashion. The iconic chunky platform, which comes in a variety of different colours and styles – including a new sporty sneaker design – has always been made with superior cruelty-free materials, in line with the brand’s ethos of “being a responsible, honest, and modern company”.
Best Faux-Fur Brand
From plush faux-fur coats with bold slogans or classic animal prints to stylish vegan shearling aviator jackets, Jakke’s designs are fast making it the name in compassionate fashion. And because its faux furs feature a “Free From Fur” patch, fans of the brand can proudly wear their fur-free status on their sleeves.
Best Down-Free Coats
PUFFA – the British heritage brand and “Original Duvet Clothing Company” – is a household name and a timeless favourite of the royal family, sports stars, and supermodels. The company, which has gone 100 per cent feather-free, uses modern down alternatives that not only spare ducks and geese suffering but also are waterproof and warmer and lighter than feathers are.
Best Wool-Free Brand
CROP’s Kate Morris has created colourful knitwear that takes sheep and their wool out of the equation. The award-winning label’s garments – whose care labels are incorporated into the jacquard patterns to increase their longevity – can be worn across multiple seasons and are made from skin-friendly bamboo and organic cotton.
Best Vegan Slogan T-Shirts
Veganized World is known for its playful designs, which combine two of the biggest trends of 2017 – slogan T-shirts and the explosion in vegan living – and give some iconic logos an animal rights–themed makeover.
Animals are not ours to wear, and the cruelty that millions of animals around the globe endure to satisfy the demand for fashion is astounding. On fur farms, animals are driven insane inside tiny wire cages in which they spend their whole lives before being painfully slaughtered. The leather industry causes the deaths of over a billion animals every year, including cows, pigs, goats, and even dogs and cats. Investigations into the world’s biggest wool-exporting countries have revealed abuse of sheep – who are kicked, punched, and mutilated – on a huge scale. The down feathers used to stuff winter jackets are often torn from live birds, who endure this torture multiple times before eventually being slaughtered.
When used for their skin, wool, or feathers, animals are treated like nothing more than commodities. Thanks to brands such as our compassionate award-winners, this archaic treatment is being ditched for kinder and more sustainable vegan fashions. If you want to shop for animal-free clothing, check out some of our PETA-Approved Vegan fashion brands: