5 Things To Know About Vegan Fashion Retailing: Opportunities & Tips

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The demand for vegan fashion is growing exponentially - in line with the growth of veganism globally.

Just one indicator of this are keyword online searches for 'vegan', 'vegan leather', 'vegan fashion'. In March 2019 Lyst reported that searches for “vegan leather” increased by 119% since October 2018 and the term “vegan fashion” was responsible for over 9.3 million social impressions.

On one view, the growth in vegan fashion is attributable to the growth in individuals choosing the vegan lifestyle.  On another view, the growth in vegan fashion reflects the growth in a new category of vegan fashion in the fashion industry. As the fashion industry responds to changing consumer attitudes demanding a more environmentally-sustainable and animal-friendly type of fashion.
Beauty products have led a staggering response to the demand for cruelty-free not-tested-on-animals products:  of all the new vegan items launched in the UK last year, a staggering 82 percent belonged to the beauty category. The beauty sector was also responsible for 40 percent of vegan product launches in the US and 62 percent in Germany last year.  Fashion United
peta cruelty-free beauty products logos
Peta approval for beauty products not tested on animals. 
Next fashion sector to respond to growing demand for vegan products is the shoe industry: vegan shoes accounted for 32 percent of the footwear market in the US last year, up from 16 percent in 2017...vegan footwear accounted for 16 percent of the total UK market in 2018, up from 15 percent in 2017
Large retailers have seized the growing market opportunity for vegan fashion: Marks&Spencer is launching a range of affordable vegan shoes for men and women this month to meet growing demand for cruelty-free fashion. Fashion Network
From the point of view of James&Co, there is a huge and growing opportunity for responding to the consumer demand in the sector for womens' vegan outerwear! 
James&Co vegan leather jacket wear jumpingJames&Co Zoe vegan leather jacket - tailored in eco vegan leather
The growing demand by consumers for vegan products goes hand in hand with rising consumer expectations that the seller of the products can attest to the fact that the products are indeed vegan ie that they have absolutely no component that comes from animals.
The recent release by the British Retail Consortium of 'Voluntary Guideline On Veganism In Fashion' stated this as the reason for drafting and releasing the Guideline: Consumers wishing to purchase vegan products are looking for assurances from retailers in the form of certification, labelling, or registration. However, retailers will need to consider all relevant impacts of any alternative materials used in vegan products.
voluntary guideline on veganism in fashion
It is a UK publication and a voluntary guideline, but it is our view that retailers of vegan fashion everywhere are well advised to read it and apply it in their business.  The guideline is the first quasi-regulatory response to consumers expectations about goods being sold.  But never forget that laws and regulations relating to the sale of goods to consumers and truth in advertising are always there. 
2 big take-outs from the Guideline:
  • retailers need confirmation from their suppliers that the fabrics used are not from animals.  And that components used to make them such as glues and waxes are not from animals.
  • vegan is not the same as sustainable.  Don't label a product as sustainable just because it is vegan. We'll write more about this in our next blog.

We've summarised the 5 points you need to know as a vegan clothing retailer in an infographic. Print it out and display it where you find it handy! And email us for any further info and to sign up as a James&Co retail partner

5 things you need to know in vegan fashion retailing

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