Vegan Leather Boomin’

veg5

$305.00 USD – Clutch – VivaCreatures

It was called “pleather” when Michael Jackson donned plasticky, synthetic leather in his early moonwalking days. It became famous for clothing rock stars and club kids in the 1980s.

Now it’s back with a new target audience and a new, appropriately hip name: vegan leather. And it’s a hit.

Demand for guilt-free faux animal hides is especially strong among millennial shoppers. They are more eco-conscious but also have been raised on fast fashion in which style trumps durability, analysts said.

$450.00 USD

$450.00 USD – Jumpsuit – KAHRI

Luxe brands such as Stella McCartney and Joseph Altuzarra have sent vegan leather jackets and bags with sky-high prices down the runway. Major department stores are increasing their offerings.

“Vegan is a new phrase that has now become a catchword for entrepreneurs to start new businesses,” said Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association. “It’s so acceptable even in fashion magazines.”

veg2

$149.99 USD – Jacket – TUCKBrand

The science of fake leather has evolved, too. It is still usually made by coating plastic on fabric. But as textile technology has evolved, mills can churn out materials that look and feel like close kin of the real thing but with a greater array of colors and patterns.

At the same time, more Americans are turning to veganism or vegetarianism — about 30 million adults, or one-eighth of the population over age 18, according to the Humane Research Council. Two-thirds of vegans or vegetarians say protecting animals is a big motivator for their diets, a stance that is seeping beyond the supermarket.

“People are seeing themselves more as conscientious,” said Leanne Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture. “After food is fashion.”

Hilgart made headlines in 2013 as the first all-vegan fashion designer to show at New York Fashion Week. Vaute (a mash-up of “vegan” and “haute”) specializes in stylish outerwear free of leather, wool and all other animal products.

veg4

$110.00 USD – Coat – Preppytrendy

The target customer is any trendy woman who would drop serious cash — $500 or more — on a coat, Hilgart said. Sales grew 60 percent last year compared with 2013.

The wealth of new options is a relief to Sarah Robles, 23, a “pescetarian” who eats seafood but not meat. Robles said she tries to avoid leather out of concern for animal welfare. Plus, faux leather options tend to be cheaper and require less maintenance, the actress said.

$229.00 USD - Nite Rider Bag - JungleTribe

$229.00 USD – Nite Rider Bag – JungleTribe

“Fake leather stuff is getting better and better,” she said. “It used to be just ugly knockoffs, but now I have so many cute shoes and bags, and they last longer than my real leather stuff.”

Retailers say they are still battling the stereotypes of shoppers who associate faux leather with the poor quality and pleather eyesores of decades past.

“We have all had the mind-set that it looks fake and shiny and doesn’t feel good,” said Ana Hartl, managing director of creative at Free People, part of Urban Outfitters Inc. A few years ago, Hartl said, she began noticing that some faux fabrics were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. “People are genuinely shocked that it’s vegan,” she said.

veg9

$125.00 USD – Shoes – RoniKantorShoes

Free People has more than doubled its vegan offerings since debuting its first collection in 2011. In the past two years it has launched vegan shoes and handbags. Vegan sales have surpassed leather in some categories, including jackets and vests.

Vegan leather also has been a hit for Los Angeles retailer Sole Society. It introduced vegan leather handbags a year ago, Chief Executive Andy Solomon said. They proved so popular with shoppers that now about half of its handbags are made of vegan leather. Sole Society hopes to increase that to 65 percent this year and is looking into vegan shoes.

“It’s a nice selling feature,” he said. “It gets folks over the hump to press the buy button.”

For more information check out our source, Star Tribune / LA Times / Free People

Local Mother’s Day

Show your Momma some love by shopping local this Mother’s Day.  By shifting just a portion of your spending, you can help create more jobs, a stronger economy and build a better community here in Toronto.  So take a short peruse through these charming Mother’s Day gifts from our favorite Toronto Etsy Shops.

CC

Cat’s Cradle Ceramic Dish – $45.00 CAD

Local Father-Daughter Team, Una and Aleks, from Whistle And Work created this amazing hand-painted, ceramic dish.  The illustration is an intricate game of Cat’s Cradle, which my Momma taught me how to play at a very young age.  We certainly did spend a lot of time futzing with the Cat’s Cradle string.  This ceramic dish is perfect for any nostalgic Mother-Daughter pair.  The dish is very versatile and can be used to store soaps, jewelry or candies.  I can picture my Mom eating a big piece of chocolate cake off it.  Whatever Mom will use it for, it will always remind her of her babies.

Leather Statement Necklace - $65.77 CAD

Leather Statement Necklace – $65.77 CAD

Kostimusha is such an amazing Etsy shop – it’s impossible to pick a favorite piece.  Kostimusha’s pieces are often asymmetrical, rough and purposely imperfect. They celebrate individuality, uniqueness and creative freedom. All items in the shop are handmade with an emotion and with great attention paid on detail.  I love the idea of a leather statement necklace as a gift for Mom as these types of necklaces are rare and instantly upgrade a look to edgy chic.  My Momma is a motorcycle biker and a school teacher.  This statement necklace is edgy, feminine and unique – just like Mom.  It would also compliment her everyday clothing like jeans, leather or even a little black dress.

Mother's Day Card - $7.88 CAD

Mother’s Day Card – $7.88 CAD

Mom makes life more beautiful.  Why not reciprocate her pretty ways and send her a little bouquet of beauty?  I’ll be sending Mom a card this Mother’s Day and I am especially loving this sweet and savvy greeting created by Rovena at Handmade By Rovena.  The handmade card features a gently raised bouquet of pink cherry blossoms and sweet white flowers. The bouquet is wrapped up with baker’s twine for a nice finishing touch – perfect for Mom.  Be sure to check out Handmade By Rovena for all of your stationary needs. Rovena has a heap of quirky cards that reflect her life as a mother, a scientist and a creative paper artist.

Setting Free the Bears - Silkscreened Cotton Tote Bag - $22.00 CAD

Silk-screened Cotton Tote Bag – $22.00 CAD

My Mom is a total sucker for tote bags.  She uses them to carry school work, as a plastic bag alternative and to haul around her usual stack of library books.  This grizzly bear tote bag is designed and screen printed by Heart’s Haven.  The tote is called “Setting Free the Bears!” which is named after the famous John Irving novel.  We know book-loving Momma would adore this tote.  And who in their right mind could resist the grizzly bear?!  This strong cotton tote bag is also perfect for Mom as it can probably carry 100 times more than she can carry.  Go check out Heart’s Haven shop you for more awesome handmade accessories.

Vegan Seaweed Salt Scrub - $11.88 CAD

Vegan Seaweed Salt Scrub – $11.88 CAD

Does your Momma love bubble baths and beauty products?  It’s certainly the case with my Mom and I.  As a fellow bath and beauty lover, I feel like I have the authority to tell you not to miss out on this local ‘n’ lovely organic beauty shop called The Basic Elements.  The best part about The Basic Elements is that their products are 100% safe for Moms skin!  Their products are free of chemicals, detergents, dyes, synthetics and preservatives.  This restorative seaweed scrub is perfect for pampering Momma.  The scrub will detoxify, polish and massage her skin.  But wait, there’s more!  The seaweed scrub contains nourishing grapeseed and essential oils that condition and soften the skin.  Check The Basic Elements Etsy Shop frequently as they are often rolling out new products every few weeks.

Vintage Potato Masher - $8.00 CAD

Potato Masher – $8.00 CAD

Because our Momma makes the best mashed potatoes!  I love, love, love the Coco And Bear Etsy Shop.  Coco And Bear is full of unique vintage finds for your home, office or business.  It’s really well merchandised and we love their style of photography.  This farmhouse style potato masher is simply amazing.  I remember a similar masher in my Mothers kitchen.  Just looking at this photograph, I can picture Mom rattling those pots and pans during a long holiday weekend.  Often she would pass the wirey potato masher to me over a pot of steaming potatoes and say, “Have at it!”  If your Mom loves that shabby chic style, this would be a great lil’ addition to her home.

So there you go Toronto.  Local homegrown goodness for the coolest lady in your life.  Be sure to check out Etsy for even more local Mother’ Day gifts.  Nothing could make your Momma more proud than buying products absolutely unique to your area.  Happy shopping locally!

Upcyclin’ Inmates

When it comes to sustainable clothing, Eastern European prisons are hardly the first to come to mind.  But that assumption has been proven wrong by Heavy Eco, an eco-conscious and socially progressive fashion label that sells products designed and made by inmates in Estonian prisons.
heavy-eco-prison-bags-tees-2.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart

Bags, iPad and computer sleeves and wallets are made from discarded billboards; t-shirts and underwear are made from organic cotton from India.
heavy-eco-prison-bags-tees.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart

Heavy Eco argues that social injustice and childhood difficulties are what led many of the involved inmates to prison in the first place. It donates 50% of its profits to “homeless and orphanage children,” though it does not mention any specific charity or organization.

As far as the inmates are concerned, Heavy Eco explains that they make the minimum wage (an EU regulation). Designing and making original clothing is an outlet for creativity and teaches job skills. At the very least, it’s a way to kill time. The project was co-financed by the European Social Fund, the EU’s employment support arm.