When I decided to go vegan last October, I was completely prepared to forgo all foods containing animal products. I was not completely prepared to do was forgo all fashion items that utilized animal products. Leaving behind leathers, suede, wool, and silks was not something I had actually considered until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I was shopping with my mom, and we were perusing the ongoing Black Friday sales. I stumbled across a beautiful coat at Ann Taylor and was suddenly smacked with the realization that it was made of wool. I stood there, fingers digging into the fabric, trying desperately to determine if the coat “counted,” if buying it would somehow tip the cosmic karmic scale out of my favor. My mom must have noticed my distress, because she siddled up next to me.
“That’s gorgeous. Are you going to get it?” she asked.
I could feel my hands sweating. I wanted it. I had been looking for a coat just like it for months, and here it was, in my hands, the last one available in my size. “I don’t think I can,” I responded, slowly, agonizing over the words as they spilled out of my mouth. “It’s made with wool.”
In the moment when I said the words “I don’t think I can,” I thought I had meant that I was not “allowed” to buy the coat. What I was surprised to find in the following months was that “I don’t think I can” actually meant “I don’t think I can justify buying [insert x, y, or z product].” The difference between the two sentiments is key: the latter is a position of choice, and thus, of power. A few weeks later, I worked up the courage to research wool production methods and discovered what I had known in my heart that day at the mall to be true: the real reason I couldn’t buy the coat is because I knew I did not agree with how it was made. As a consumer, it is my responsibility not to give money to things I do not support. Clothing and accessories made with animal products now fall into that category.
When I stood in that busy store nearly a year ago, I also truly believed that becoming vegan meant I would no longer be able to buy trendy items. That attitude followed me around for months, until I actually did some research and found out not only are there vegan alternatives to the latest styles, there are plenty of them. Sure, finding exactly what you want might take a little longer, but that’s no different than if you were buying leather, wool, or silk items.
That being said, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has been looking for fashion-forward, animal-free shoes for fall. As I started to pull together a list for myself, I realized that other people might be interested in my finds as well. So here you go, dear readers! Below are five en-vogue, animal-free footwear options to get you through the early Autumn months. The leopard flats are en route to my home as we speak. 🙂
- Faux Leather Chain Ankle-Strap Flats in Chestnut ($24.90)
I’m a flats girl. They’re easy, they’re chic, and they’re perfect for workdays where you don’t feel like cramming your feet into heels. I love that these look like leather, and the ankle strap is so adorable. They would pair perfectly with a flowy dress, or even some dark-wash skinny jeans. And at less than $25.00? Sign me up.
- Madden Girl Domain Lace-Up Wedge Booties in Taupe (on sale for $49.99)
Prior to my transition to veganism, I was obsessed with Steve Madden. I don’t even want to think about the amount of Steve Madden shoes I’ve owned over the past eight years. Unfortunately, Steve Madden shoes are primarily made with leather and suede. Enter Madden Girl, an entirely vegan line, to the rescue! They’re PETA endorsed and everything, so you can rest easy knowing that no animals were harmed while you strut your stuff in style.
- ‘Finest’ Point Toe Ghillie Flat ($45.00)
I’ve been seeing leopard print shoes all over the place, but nearly all of them have a leather sole. Not these! A man-made sole and a textile upper portion make these flats an adorable, cruelty-free way to sport some spots this season.
- Madden Girl Westmont Combat Boot in Cognac ($64.99 on Amazon)
See? Another Madden Girl made the list. I have a feeling that my Steve Madden addiction is simply going to morph into a Madden Girl one. I’m totally okay with that. I love the idea of a heeled combat boot. These would be great for a happy hour with the girls or a casual date night.
- Faux Patent Leather Oxfords ($29.90)
I hadn’t purchased shoes from Forever 21 before going vegan. I assumed that they would be incredibly uncomfortable and then fall apart immediately. Earlier this summer, I picked up a pair of wedges on a whim for my trip to California. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they held up. They’re still going strong. With menswear shoes in style this season, dropping less than $30 on a pair of shoes is a huge steal. I love how intensely masculine these are. I can’t wait to stroll into a meeting with these on foot.
What are some of your favorite vegan fall styles? Feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to know!
Be sure to check back tomorrow. I’m watching Cowspiracy tonight on Netflix, and I’ll be posting my review tomorrow evening.
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