The Spring/Summer 18 runways saw bright bold colours out in full force, covering the whole spectrum from fire-engine and tomato reds, bright fuschia, cobalt blue, ultraviolet, fleuro lime and sunshine yellow (Pantone’s Meadowlark Yellow is their key shade of the season). This look is actually really easy to wear, as if you’re tentative you can just add one simple accessory (such as a small crossbody bag in red) or take it to your nails (also the least expensive way to update your look). However, if you’re feeling brave you can copy the runway and go head-to-toe in either matching or clashing brights. See below for some great vegan bags and shoes to make this look yours. Just wear sunglasses.
Ridley Crossbody in Green by Gunas (feature image)
PETA-approved vegan brand Gunas is a New York-based bag and footwear company founded in 2009 by designer and animal lover Sugandh Agrawal, an award-winning industrial product designer who ditched her corporate career with KitchenAid to start her own brand of cruelty-free fashion. Her mission is strong and clear – animals are NOT meant to be a part of fashion (hurray to that!). The brand is now global, using artisan and small-scale ethical manufacturers from countries such as India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong, and has a wide range of vegan bags, including totes, satchels, cross-bodies, wallets and backpacks. This gorgeous Ridley Crossbody bag was inspired by the Ridley Sea Turtles that are the smallest species of turtle, and vulnerable to extinction.
Mia Low Heel Pump in Red by By Blanch
This Spanish vegan brand’s founder Mireia Blanch was born and raised in Barcelona in Spain, and after ten years working in the hotel industry and event management (while travelling the world) decided to return to her childhood love of fashion, and move back to Europe from New Zealand (she and the brand are now based in France). An animal-lover, Mireia launched the brand in 2014, and has since gone from strength to strength. The new collection is the best yet, with these low-heel patent Mia pumps (also available in black and cream) being the star of the show. All their shoes use a high-quality synthetic leather made of polyurethane with a vegetable oil coating, which is easy to clean and stain resistant. The polyurethane they use is made in Italy using a highly sophisticated procedure, while fully complying with the strictest of environmental protection standards (Ecolabel certification). I have these shoes and just find myself gazing down at my feet all day when I’m wearing them – they’re so so pretty!
Drawstring Backpack in Blue by JW Pei
JW Pei stands out from many vegan brands in that it uses a special trademarked material called Patina for all their vegan bags, which is made of high-grade polyurethane resin combined with ultra-fine microfibre bundles, that together mimic the microscopic structure of leather (the technology has been around for a while but so far mainly used on high-end sofas, luxury car seats and shoes). They say it’s the best vegan leather ever invented, combining beauty, high quality and excellent functionality – and it’s incredibly durable. Plus, the plastic element is made up of 50% recycled bottles, and they plan on making this 100% with two years. This Drawstring Backpack is available in several other colours (including a gorgeous bright yellow and pale blush pink); is super lightweight, with one interior zip pocket and one interior slit pocket; and fits a 13” laptop.
Water Block Heel Shoe in Bubblegum by Patricia Correia
Portuguese brand Patricia Correia has the most gorgeous collection of stilettos, block heels and ballet flats, in a delectable range of colours (the nearest pantone colour is helpfully provided for each shoe). For anyone who follows Immaculate Vegan on Instagram – you’ll know I’m a fan! This Water style is available in eight colours, and I just love the brightness of this pink shade – it looks fresh without being too girly.
Citibag in Yellow by Wilby
British vegan bags and accessories brand Wilby was formed in Chelsea, London in 2013, and still makes the majority of its bags in the UK. PETA-approved, they also try to use as many eco-friendly materials as possible, such as organic cotton, recyclable cloth and cork leather. They started by specialising in clutches and now produce a wide range of styles, including this sunny-coloured cork leather citibag with a detachable alloy chain. The spacious interior features a side pouch, while the sleek exterior features a hand-strap allowing the bag to double up as a clutch (they haven’t gone too far from their roots!).
Decollete Clelia in Bluette by Fera Libens
Italian vegan footwear brand Fera Libens is part of a start-up incubator set up jointly by the Bocconi University and the Milan Chamber of Commerce (with the support of the Milan City Council), and has a small range of all-vegan shoe styles that are super chic – you’d expect nothing less of a Milan fashion brand after all (especially one whose founder’s grandfather was a shoemaker). This high heel (9cm) pointed court shoe also comes in black and light grey, but I love this bright cobalt blue in particular – it would look great with black or navy cigarette pants.
Alice Crossbody in Violet by JW Pei
Another choice from JW Pei, who have a lot of brights in their collection (which is pretty substantial) – this time a small crossbody, so great for those who want a little bit of a colour pop – but not too much. This violet colour is just irresistible – and an easy way to instantly update your look (ultra violet and all other shades of purple and lavender covered the catwalks for Spring/Summer 18). Did we mention that they make their vegan bags in the same factory (in Huadu in China) that produces the vegan lines for Gucci and Prada? This elegant style comes with a detachable shoulder strap and has three internal compartments.
Bodega Nail Polish by Aila Cosmetics
US-based vegan beauty brand Aila Cosmetics (pronounced eye-luh) was founded by Podiatric Surgeon Dr Cary Gannon, and inspired by her desire to provide beautifully-curated luxe nail colours without compromising function or nail health, unlike many other nail brands she saw on the market. The company was born out of a particularly challenging time in her life (recovering from a rare cancer scare, finalising a divorce, managing her own medical practice whilst also caring for a child with a sensory disorder), which galvanised a series of life changes that led to the birth of Aila. Unsurprisingly, the entire range of gorgeous colours are vegan, entirely lacking in nasty chemicals (including parabens), and are chip-resistant, super shiny and long-lasting. Plus their names all have a great story to tell.
Rambler Mary-Jane Ballet Flat in Citrine by RAFA USA
LA-based luxury vegan brand RAFA has a gorgeous footwear collection, crafted from premium vegan suede in the most delectable of colours, and designed and hand-made by a group of 20 artisans in California. They describe their style as smart and timeless design that transcends trends, and they manage to be both fashion-forward (particularly in their use of colours) whilst very classic (their styles don’t change much between seasons, so if you invest in a pair, you know they’ll last). All their shoes are made using ecologically-friendly materials (they use recycled vegan textiles) and sustainable processes. This style is made to order and takes two weeks production time.
Five Best Vegan Red Nail Polishes
Five Best Vegan Ballet Flats