If you’ve heard enough #Veganuary chatter to last you a lifetime (or, y’know, until next January) I suggest you look away now...

Except don’t: Because some things are just worth talking about!

"Vegan leather" may sound like an oxymoron – but the reality is far from moronic. Recent findings revealed that nearly half of all UK vegans were found to have made the change in 2018, meanwhile Mintel reported that last year saw the UK overtake Germany as the leading nation for launches of plant-based foods. 

Predicting that, sooner or later, more industries would cotton on is hardly rocket science. (Which is handy, seeing as I’m definitely no rocket scientist.)

Abigail wears fringed jacket by Stella McCartney; red pleated dress by A.W.A.K.E. Mode; earrings by COS; sandals by Topshop.

It also doesn’t take a genius to see just how good the offer of vegan leather is right now. Gone are the days of plastic-like textures or clammy, rubbery finishes; the reality runs the gamut from buttery not-quite nappa to heavier hide-free hides that even the grittiest of bikers would be proud to wear. 

Abigail wears jacket, dress and accessories as before.

When Stella McCartney, the First Lady of cruelty-free fashion, established her brand in 2001, she was determined to do so without relying on animal-derived raw materials. Her nappa alternative has been in production since 2013, and last year saw the launch of her pioneering fur-free fur collection. So, contrary to popular belief, you’ll be able to live out your Wild West fringed-jacket fantasies – without resorting to the cattle you’re (not really) herdin’...

Abigail wears jacket, dress and accessories as before.

Newer to market, though no less impressive, is Sandra Sandor’s Nanushka. Originally established in 2006 – but really kicking it up a gear in 2016 – this Budapest design house has been championing vegan leather from an environmental and a practical perspective. "On top of being eco-friendly, it’s also washable," Sandra once told me. 

Now, I won’t bore you by extolling the virtues – numerous as they are – of a good little black dress. What I will say is that in the matter of little black leather dresses, you’d be hard pushed to find a better one.

(N.B. As the arctic conditions look set to continue, protect an exposed neckline from the inevitable dot-to-dot of goose pimples with a printed base-layer for warmth and an additional accent of colour.)

Abigail wears Anja midi dress by Nanushka; high-neck top by M.i.h Jeans x Bay Garnett; earrings and sandals as before.

Speaking of colour – and putting paid to the idea that vegan leather equates to monotony – Hillier Bartley has plenty where that came from. Katie and Luella’s Bowie-esque high-waisted trousers from Resort 2019 drew me like a moth to the flame. And rightfully so!

Abigail wears metallic purple trousers and green silk blouse by Hillier Bartley; earrings and sandals as before.

After all, with their metallic lilac finish, pearly buttons, and subtle crackle effect for a kick of shimmer... Can you really blame me?

Abigail wears trousers, blouse and accessories as before.

As a vegetarian for the best part of 17 years, all of the above is music to my herbivorous ears. However, you needn’t be a fully paid-up member of the Quorn brigade to appreciate the leaps and bounds that vegan leather has taken in recent years – nor, indeed, to view it as a viable alternative to the real bona-hide deal. 

What can I say? It’s not rocket science.

Get under the skin of vegan leather. Shop Abigail's edit here:

Also on Because Magazine:

+ This editor-approved collaboration is how to throw some seriously stylish shade this season. 

+ Do you know the difference between good taste and bad taste? Find out here...

+ Introducing the designer vanguard – and why you should be excited about them now.