New York Fashion Week Through Vegan Eyes


Earlier this month, all eyes were on New York Fashion Week, the major event in the fashion world. Two times per year, it starts from New York, then goes to London, Milan and Paris.

During February 7-15, fashion brands presented their Fall 2018 collections. Watching and even participating in a few shows, I took some notes about the most interesting and most provoking shows from a cruelty-free perspective during Fashion Week in NYC.

Day 1

At the very beginning, I had a chance to walk for Pelush, a luxury faux fur brand. The show took place in the Penthouse at the Hotel on Rivington as a part of Animal Ashram’s Penthouse Vegan Pop-Up.

Pelush show at Animal Ashram event – New York Fashion Week

I met Anna Tagliabue, the founder and designer of Pelush, last year during an anti-fur march in New York. Since then we both had wanted to work together, and finally we did it.

Pelush show at Animal Ashram event – New York Fashion Week

“I believe in cruelty-free products and that is why I am involved,” Anna said of the event. “It’s great to showcase my work at this event during New York’s Fashion Week.”

Day 2

Tom Ford showed animal prints and, unfortunately, animal skins. He has practiced a vegan diet over the last year, yet the fur question is still hard for him.

“The fur thing – of course, is a natural thing,” said Tom Ford in an interview with WWD. “[Going vegan] starts to make you question that… I have started using much more fake fur. I’m not yet ready to say that I’m fur-free.”

Tom Ford Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

In the show he used both faux and animal-based furs, but I can’t really tell which models were fake and which real.

Saks Potts has a great sense of style, but uses it in the wrong direction. Almost every piece in their fall collection is made with animal fur. I hope designers Barbara Potts and Catherine Saks will soon realize that their brand would be gorgeous even without anyone’s skin.

Saks Potts Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Day 3

NYC-based brand Nomia, which doesn’t use leather or fur, presented its new collection. The brand’s designer Yara Flinn creates faux leather jackets, skirts, easy jumpsuits and dresses, and debuted her first-ever shoes: vegan leather stretch boots.

Nomia Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Day 4

Alexander Wang‘s show is one of the most expected ones at every fashion week. And, unfortunately, Wang showed off a lot of dead animal skins this year.

Alexander Wang Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Last year Stella McCartney showcased “skin-free-skin”, modern animal-friendly technical fabrics that are indistinguishable from the real thing. Now is a good time for designers like Alexander Wang to follow her example and stop producing clothing made from animals. There is no excuse to keep doing it.

Day 5

Both real and faux furs were presented at Sies Marjan‘s show. Even if I can’t exactly point out real furs by sight, I can say for sure that it is better to use faux. The brand has started using fake fur, so why keep producing real at the same time? I like the colors of the show, and I wish Sies Marjan would drop using animal fur completely.

Sies Marjan Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Day 6

Svetlana Bevza’s show titled “Faux Reality” was her second show ever in New York. We met with her years ago in our hometown Kiev, where I walked for Bevza’s show. Therefore, I was extremely excited to see her work at NYFW.

When I looked at the Bevza Fall 2018 coats for the first time, for a couple of seconds I thought they were fur coats. Actually, they were puffy nylon coats printed with animal skins and filled with down alternative, so fully animal-free.

Bevza Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week

“Puffers are super popular, but they look really sporty,” she said. “We wanted to show it in our style as elegant stuffed coats.” I like the idea of illusion rather than imitation.

Day  7

Fur trim on sweaters and dresses is something totally useless and unnecessary, yet it causes suffering and pain to animals. When people think about fur trim, they might imagine it to be simply leftovers from fur production, which would otherwise go to waste. However, in reality animals are killed for fur trims as well.

Sally LaPointe Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Day 8

What an end to New York Fashion Week! Michael Kors proved he has gone fur-free, and animal rights activists took over the street in front of Marc Jacobs’ show and confronted Anna Wintour.

At the end of 2017, Michael Kors announced that the brand will become fur-free by the end of 2018 and, until then, no fur pieces will be shown at runway shows – and here we go, faux furs by Kors.

Michael Kors Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, animal rights activists marched to the Park Avenue Armory uptown, carrying signs that bore PETA logos and slogans like “Fur Is Dead.” They chanted, Marc Jacobs, animal abuser! and shame, shame, shame on you as guests made their way into the venue. When Anna Wintour arrived they chanted shame in you, shame on you, Anna Wintour! and shame on you for supporting bloody fur industry!”

“We want him to stop using fur,” said Leo Nardo, one of the organizers of the protest. “We are here to stand up for the animals who cannot stand up for themselves. He should know that we will continue to protest him as long as he uses fur.”

Marc Jacobs Fall 2018 – New York Fashion Week.


No doubt we can see good changes in the fashion industry. Big-name brands are dropping real fur, and designers are creating faux furs, vegan leather, down alternatives, etc. Nevertheless, we have A LOT of work to do, because customers and brands still value animal skins as symbols of luxury and wealth, thus creating a demand for it.

We must work harder; campaign more and more against the use of fur, leather and other animal-based fabrics; keep raising awareness about cruelty to animals used in fashion; advocate for animal rights; and do it nonstop.

Visit Human 21 for more animal-free womenswear and vegan fashion news!

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Using animals in the fashion industry is cruel and unnecessary. At you'll find a curated feed of animal-free womenswear and a blog with the latest news in vegan fashion. Click to see author's profile.

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