Vegan. Cruelty-free. Plant-based. Whatever label you stamp on it, there is no denying that veganism is more than just a food trend or dietary choice – it’s a lifestyle, a culture. And as such, its tenets are moving into fashion, design and even architecture, with major brands dipping a toe into the waters.
Now that herbivorous restaurants are on the rise in every city, there’s a growing demand for vegan-friendly interiors – and the products and materials to fill them. With the increasing availability (and promotion) of these goods, other spaces are eschewing animal products as well.
U.K. designers Bompas & Parr, for instance, recently collaborated with Hilton Hotels to launch a vegan hotel suite in London. Free of leather, wool and feathers, the suite boasts cotton carpets, pillows stuffed with natural materials such as bamboo fibres, and surfaces – including a headboard – upholstered in Piñatex, a faux leather made from pineapple leaves.
Though plant-based materials generally come with a smaller footprint, Piñatex is leaving a big impression on the fashion world as well. Retailers such as H&M are making clothing from it, and Hugo Boss has launched a limited-edition vegan Piñatex sneaker in four colours.
Pineapples aren’t the only produce-aisle items that have been reimagined as textiles. Earlier this year, Philippe Starck (a longtime vegetarian) exhibited a vegan series of furniture upholstered in Apple Ten Lork, a leather-like fabric derived from apple peels and cores. The collection included 16 of his iconic designs for Cassina remodelled in various shades of this material from Italian brand Frumat.
Textiles are an obvious place to seek alternative solutions, but it may come as a surprise that many paints contain animal ingredients, such as the milk protein casein. Farrow & Ball has recently started promoting the vegan-friendliness of its paints and papers, boasting about the cruelty-free nature of its products on its website.
The company is hesitant to divulge details about its proprietary formulas, so it’s unclear if this is a new development or simply a new revelation that has allowed them a place on the bandwagon. But the brand confirms that there are no animal-derived ingredients in its Emulsion, Eggshell, Full Gloss and Exterior Masonry finishes, and no animal testing involved in its manufacturing processes.
As major brands from Cassina to Hugo Boss try a flora-not-fauna approach, veganism is becoming big business