As demand for ethically produced clothing and environmentally friendly materials is growing within men’s fashion, the PETA Menswear Awards celebrate the luxury labels, progressive tastemakers, and forward-thinking brands that have made big statements for animals in 2019. Selfridges made this year’s Biggest Luxury Fashion Moment by banning exotic skins, and Gola was awarded Best Vegan Makeover for its range of leather-free sneakers. Lewis Hamilton‘s range of vegan sneakers with Tommy Hilfiger was honoured with the Collaboration Award, Embassy of Bricks and Logs won Best Down-Free Collection for its eco-friendly outerwear made without feathers, and Watson & Wolfe won Best Vegan Accessories for its wallets, belts, and other leather-free designs.
“Ethical and compassionate menswear is here to stay, as these innovative and stylish winners prove,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “Forward-thinking designers are experimenting with sustainable, cutting-edge vegan materials and offering a vast array of animal-friendly styles for men who want to look good and feel good about their fashion choices.”
Other winners include Ashoka, which nabbed the Best Vegan Bags award for its sleek bags in materials such as apple leather; Hemp Tailor, which won Best Wool-Free Collection for its offering of hemp and cotton knitwear; ETHCS, which won the Best Streetwear award for its range of hoodies, T-shirts, and accessories with vegan messaging; NAE, which won Best Vegan Shoes for its range made with vegan materials such as microsuede, cork, and pineapple leather; Evig Grön, which won the Best Vegan Watches award for its leather-free Scandi-chic watch range; Rains, awarded Best Vegan Outerwear for its down-free puffer jackets; and Joshua Katcher, who was given the Essential Reading Award for his book Fashion Animals.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that the resources required to confine, raise, and kill animals before processing their fur, skin, hair, or feathers into fashion items are vast and that treatment with toxic, environmentally hazardous chemicals is often necessary to prevent these materials from decomposing. The Pulse of the Fashion Industry report revealed that three of the four most environmentally damaging materials are animal-derived. Leather was found to be the most polluting material in fashion – followed by silk – with double the impact of synthetic alternatives such as PU leather. The same report found that wool had a higher environmental impact than many synthetic fabrics because of its contribution to methane emissions, deforestation, desertification, and loss of biodiversity.