Animal rights organization PETA has launched its first Fashion Awards, celebrating the designers and brands at the forefront of bringing ethical materials and designs into the spotlight.
The fashion industry, known for its dynamic and sometimes controversial trends, has witnessed a significant shift toward animal-free and environmentally conscious designs in recent years. The fashion industry saw some of the biggest shift toward animal-free materials over the last year, pushing the industry toward record-breaking sales. And for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), it’s been a year worth recognizing. The group launched its first-ever fashion awards, highlighting the designers and labels who are redefining fashion with ethical, sustainable materials.
“From faux-leather boots worn by Taylor Swift to Gucci making fashion history with its first vegan bag, animal-free fashion is in vogue in 2023,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. “Vegan fashion is not only chic and luxurious but also everywhere, and PETA is honoring the innovative designers and brands that are helping kind consumers keep animals out of their wardrobes.”
At the top of the list is Kylie Jenner, who received the Best Vegan Fashion Moment award. This recognition comes after her Khy brand’s launch party, which saw a constellation of stars like Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner donning Khy’s faux-leather pieces. PETA points to this moment as marking a significant shift in the industry, demonstrating the allure and viability of vegan fashion.
In the luxury segment, Gucci emerged as a frontrunner, clinching the Best Luxury Product award for its first vegan Horsebit 1955 Shoulder Bag. This black and signature Diamante patterned bag was introduced with support from the iconic singer and vegan activist Billie Eilish in October.
Versace was also honored with its Croc-Lacquered Cloquet Jacket from the fall/winter 2023 collection earning it the Hottest Vegan Leather Product accolade. This piece, crafted from recycled materials, underscores the brand’s commitment to sustainable luxury.
Stella McCartney, the unofficial queen of sustainable fashion, earned recognition for her Ryder Knee-High Stiletto Boots, a favorite of Taylor Swift. The boots have been named Best Vegan Heel. The boots are made from the brand’s Alter Mat vegan leather and VEGEA, a material derived from grape waste. McCartney also introduced a vegan leather bag made from upcycled Veuve Clicquot grape waste earlier this year.
Aupen won the Most Wanted Award for its vegan “it” bags, which have been seen on the arms of numerous celebrities, including Selena Gomez and Gabrielle Union, showcasing the rising demand for ethical fashion accessories.
Alice + Olivia and Max Mara have been recognized for their contributions to vegan fashion, winning Best Vegan Exotic-Skin Staple and Best Vegan Suede Staple, respectively. Alice + Olivia’s Ellis Vegan Leather Sleeveless Minidress and Max Mara’s Vegan Suede Belted Jacket are prime examples of luxury without cruelty.
Canada Goose’s Carlyle Quilted Shirt Jacket earned the Coolest Warmest Down-Free Fashion award. This achievement signifies a significant shift in outerwear towards more humane alternatives. It’s a significant achievement for Canada Goose, which was long the subject of PETA protests before it ditched fur in 2021.
Abercrombie & Fitch took home the Best Men’s Fashion award, commended for its extensive range of vegan menswear. This includes various jackets, each exemplifying the brand’s commitment to ethical fashion practices.
Gap, known for its wide-ranging apparel, was named the Overall Most Vegan-Friendly Company. Its commitment to animal-free products extends from its Vegan Leather Shop to its faux cashmere and down-free options.
Not all brands received accolades, though. PETA also handed out dishonors, naming H&M as the Villain of the Year for its support of the down industry and Reformation as the Greenwasher of the Year for its contradictory practices under the guise of sustainability.
In a statement shared via email, Reformation said that it “wholeheartedly” rejects what it called a “completely false” characterization.
“There is a tremendous amount of misinformation about what is actually sustainable in fashion, which is why we regularly publish detailed reports about our efforts,” Reformation said. “This is the exact opposite of greenwashing, which by definition is making and benefiting from unsubstantiated claims.”
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