I’ve always been a little skeptical of the term “vegan” when it comes to shoes and accessories – I mean doesn’t vegan just mean fake leather? I confess, not being a vegetarian, I’ve always been more worried about price and cuteness when it comes to shopping. And although I'm all about being planet and animal friendly, sacrficing style to go green might just be crossing the line.
Vegan can only be applied to items created without harming any animals. That means no leather, down, silk, or wool. So naturally, I was hard pressed to believe there was anything out there that was fashionable enough to take the place of classic leather creations. However, turns out I was mistaken. Vegan can be chic after all.
The reigning queen of green is none other than Stella McCartney, whose gorgeous shoes appeal to any fashionista – meat-eating or not. Just make sure you're feeling flush (she's eco-friendly, not wallet friendly). We love the Hannah ($665) and her to-die-for engraved platform sandals ($1095). Be sure to check out BlueFly.com for bargains on Stella’s stellar shoes.
Then there’s the new line by Natalie Portman for Te Casan. Nothing too earth shattering design-wise, but actually quite appealing – super luxe and ultra high quality. I love the bright poppy Mary Janes pictured here (alas, there’s already a wait-list).
But that, for me, is where the party ends. Casual vegan shoewear is few and far between. You can search for “vegetarian” on Zappos.com, but be prepared to wade through some seriously ugly options (why yes, I suppose Crocs are vegan!).
However, when it comes to bags, I'm psyched to announce that luxurious animal-happy handbags created with buttery-soft glazed vegan leather are out there. These adorable pleated clutches ($68 each) and the multi-purpose Troubadour bag in orange ($180) are simple, sleek, and don't have that ugly, fake, can't-hide-the-fact-that-it's-pleather look to them.
So what do you think? Are these choices chic enough to convince you to chuck your leather strappies for a vegan-friendly shoe? Can you part with your buttery leather hobo and tote a faux instead?