Cruelty-free: the new cool?

Why is it that all the beautiful handbags are made of leather? And often, if it’s not made of leather, it looks cheap or unfashionable. No longer: Meet chic new fashion label Freedom of Animals, which produces 100 percent green and cruelty-free luxury handbags. Their elegant white-and-black PETA X Freedom of Animals Ina Tote, in particular, donates 20 percent of proceeds of each sale to PETA. Elle.com recently interviewed the founders for their thoughts on their inspiration, why sustainable fashion still lags behind, and their hopes for fashion’s future.

Luckily, cruelty-free design, while still not ubiquitous, is gaining its cool factor and becoming easier to find than ever before. Here, Care2 offers a list of 12 animal-friendly clothing companies and retailers that have pledged not to sell fur. Those down feathers in your winter jacket? Another story altogether: Animals usually suffer as the down is harvested for fashion. But leader Patagonia has promised its down is “100 percent traceable,” a weighty goal North Face won’t achieve for two more years. Those looking for animal-friendly fashions can check out PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing.

But I truly believe cruelty-free is fashion’s new must-have. Forbes’ 2015 30 Under 30 list, after all, sprinkled in a handful of forward-thinking, sustainably-minded entrepreneurs, including Natasha Tucker and Cora Hilts of Reve En Vert, an online boutique that sells locally made, sustainable fashion and provides carbon-neutral shipping (though they do sell some leather products).

I wish more designers–especially the big names–would move in this direction. My hope for consumers is that we, too, increasingly demand responsible products.

Tell me, what are your favorite animal-friendly fashion labels?

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