PETA Menswear Fashion Awards 2016
Thanks to growing demand from consumers and pressure from animal rights groups, the fashion industry is starting to recognise the need to move away from using fur, leather, wool, down, and exotic skins.
These inspiring menswear brands are turning their backs on animal-derived materials in favour of modern fabrics that are environmentally friendly, durable, and – most importantly – cruelty-free. More and more vegan brands are emerging that offer whole collections of ethical fashions – from shoes and accessories to high-tech outerwear.
Menswear Brand of the Year
Joshua Katcher’s vegan menswear label broke boundaries this year when actor Benedict Cumberbatch graced the cover of GQ magazine in its sustainable designs. Fusing “future-textiles” with centuries-old craftsmanship, the brand continues to raise the bar in menswear design. Katcher has also shared his insights into cruelty-free fashion in lectures at institutions such as Princeton, Brown, and Parsons School of Design in the US.
Biggest Luxury Fashion Moment
Stella McCartney Launches Menswear Line
After decades as a leading force in animal-friendly and sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney announced this summer that she’s expanding into menswear. The men’s collection will follow her commitment to being entirely free of fur, leather, and feathers, and the debut line-up includes sustainably sourced vegan leather trainers.
Biggest Fashion Moment
Major Menswear Brands Ban Down
Following PETA’s exposé of the cruel down industry, in which birds are often “live-plucked” for their feathers, retailers including Topman, Burton, Nigel Hall Menswear, Dr Martens, White Stuff, and Primark committed to banning all down feathers in their future collections.
Using kapok – a natural seed fibre – Flocus has developed an innovative and effective award-winning material that is insulating, lightweight, and water-repellent. This superior alternative to down is set to make headway in the coming months, as more menswear brands banish cruelly produced feathers from their collections.
Dr Martens Vegan 1460 Boots
Dr Martens’ iconic 1460 boots are now available in a tough-as-nails vegan leather, which holds up against the original design for durability, comfort, and attitude.
Best Cruelty-Free Shoes
Since bursting onto the fashion scene in 2013, Mats Rombaut’s vegan footwear line has broken out of shoemaking traditions with new material innovations using stone, tree bark, coconuts, and other natural fibres. The brand remains committed to delivering sustainability alongside cutting-edge design.
Best Leather-Free Bags and Wallets
Matt & Nat
Committed to using only eco- and animal-friendly materials, Matt & Nat’s collections include vegan leather briefcases, weekend bags, backpacks, and wallets – and all linings are made out of 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles.
Vans x DSM Checkerboard
To celebrate the opening of its new store, fashion institution Dover Street Market collaborated with Vans on a collection of canvas checkerboard vegan shoes, inspired by the shoe manufacturer’s original skater style.
Best Cruelty-Free Formal Shoes
A step forward in the world of cruelty-free luxury footwear, Opificio V uses the traditional Goodyear technique in the crafting of its collection of exclusively vegan Italian designs.
Best Vegan Leather Jackets
Biker jackets are a fashion mainstay – and now, you can look cool without being cruel in the vegan leather jackets of Los Angeles–based brand James Payne. Designed to “be worn hard and stand out”, all the designs are made in the US by a collective of musicians, artists, writers, and designers.
Best Leather-Free Belts
Wills’ classic belts are handmade in Portugal using the finest vegan microfibres, which look, wear, breathe, and resist water just like leather, proving that in 2016, using animal skins is both cruel and unnecessary.
Best Vegan Watches
Launched this year, Votch is a forward-thinking watchmaker that combines classic design and style with high-quality, modern vegan leather.
Best Down-Free Coats
Save the Duck
Outerwear company Save the Duck is 100 per cent free of animal-derived materials, shunning goose and duck down for state-of-the-art Plumtech™ technology. This synthetic innovation is not only cruelty-free and more eco-friendly than feathers but also warmer, more breathable, and lighter – and unlike feathers, it retains its insulating capability even when wet.
Best Wool-Free Knitwear
Independent German brand Bleed has developed a knitwear collection with all the warmth and softness of wool – but without the cruelty or scratchiness. Classic waffle and heavy knits are made from organic cottons and linens, with the smallest possible ecological footprint.
Thanks to brands such as our award-winners, more and more cruelty-free options are becoming available for shoppers who want to avoid leather, wool, fur, and exotic skins. Globally, the fashion industry is responsible for the deaths of billions of animals every year, many of whom are bred in captivity and kept in horrific conditions, just so their skins can be used for “fashion”. Some – including minks and foxes – are killed after enduring a short, miserable life inside a cage on a fur farm, while others are tortured time and again as their feathers are plucked or their wool is shorn off multiple times before they’re eventually slaughtered.
You can vote with your wallet by choosing animal-free clothing and accessories, such as those sold by our fashion award-winners and our PETA-Approved Vegan brands: