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As the banning of fur gathers momentum within fashion houses and even cities (Burberry, Gucci and Versace have just said no, as have West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco, while NYC currently has a bill and L.A. passed an ordinance in February to prohibit it in 2021), wool and leather are starting to be replaced by animal-free fabrics. Vegan leathers are being grown in labs using yeast collagen, wine grapes and mycelium (i.e., the root structure of mushrooms).
H&M is leading the way by working with Piñatex, a company based in London that fashions pineapple fibers into a sturdy vegan leather, and by designing with Orange Fiber, a silky fabric made from the waste of citrus fruit by-products. Dakota Fanning recently modeled some of these creations at H&M’s Conscious Launch Party in April, while other celebrities are taking to the carpet to show off their own favorite designers and up-and-coming brands.
Last year, the actress wore black Veerah shoes crafted from upcycled apple peels to an event. “Desirable product is now within reach,” says Suvari, adding that it’s no longer “a challenge to find items that [are] creative within a cruelty-free design.” (veerah.com, $298)
“Since adopting a vegan lifestyle 20 years ago, my wardrobe has been vegan,” says Silverstone, who wore Stella McCartney at December’s HFPA holiday party. McCartney partnered with Bolt Threads to make her iconic Falabella bag from lab-grown mushroom “leather.”
The star’s bespoke Met Gala suit by tailor Labassa Woolfe consisted of bamboo fabric by Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, with a “peace silk” lining from silkworms that weren’t boiled for the silk. “The suit feels similar to cashmere,” says stylist Joe Woolfe.
The silky dress worn by Fanning at H&M’s Conscious Launch Party in April was made of fibers from citrus peels. “It doesn’t have to look like a plant to be made from a plant,” Fanning told THR. “You would never know the difference with something that’s not sustainable.”
Livia Firth attended the Met Gala wearing a custom gown by Richard Quinn, with the outer, digitally printed layer made from GRS-certified Newlife, engineered from 100 percent post-consumer plastic bottles. “I am so excited for new technologies that allow us to use recycled-plastic-bottles organza, such as in this stunning Richard Quinn dress,” says Firth, producer and co-founder of Eco Age, which started the Green Carpet Challenge that prompted Emma Watson, Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o, Cameron Diaz and Emily Blunt to wear sustainable looks to the Met Gala.
Vegan actor Liam Hemsworth arrived to the Met Gala with wife Miley Cyrus wearing Brave Gentleman vegan shoes and a belt made with a hi-tech, EU Ecolabel-certified, PU microfiber. “Many people don’t realize that data shows how leather is, by far, the single worst material for the environment,” says Joshua Katcher, founder and designer of Brave Gentleman, whose “mission has always been to find superior solutions to animal fibers like leather.”
Sarah Paulson attended the European premiere of M. Night Shymalan’s Glass wearing a faux fur jacket designed by Los Angeles-based Hiraeth Collective, co-founded by actress Rooney Mara. “We at Hiraeth believe that years from now, we will look back at using animals for garments in an industrialized society as a shameful time in our history,” says Mara. “With close to one billion rabbits and upwards of 100 million other animals killed each year for their fur, animal-free is the compassionate and environmental choice.”
This story first appeared in the May 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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