Recycled-Cotton Aran Sweaters: Vegan Style and Animal-Friendly

Chicago native, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is a former model and the founder of Vaute, (Haute with a V for vegan and pronounced Vote). Founded in the summer of 2009 as a sustainable label, which would eliminate animals  forever from the fashion equation, and at the same time, create a dress coat warm enough to sustain a Chicago winter. Leanne left Chicago and transplanted herself and her business to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the following year. Vaute became the very first vegan label to exhibit at New York Fashion Week.


Vaute Vegan SweatersVaute Vegan Sweaters

As reported in CNN: "Vaute broke runway history as the very first vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week. Hilgart is the rebel of fashion week."

Pioneer Leanne Hilgart

As a child, her love for animals and talent for promotion reared its precocious head. At the tender age of 8, she ran her first campaign for animals by getting a few friends together, creating arts and crafts and selling them to raise money and awareness for homeless animals at a local shelter. As part of a school project on the horror of animal abuse, she created a slogan (Being Cruel Isn't Cool) and sold it to a national tee-shirt company. While in high school, she raised so much commotion and awareness concerning cat dissection that it led to pushing a bill into Illinois law.

She soon realized the potential power between business and the opportunity to create positive and enduring change. She discovered that a winter dress coat that was stylish, warm and vegan did not exist and that it was high time that it  did.  She launched Vaute without a background in fashion, outside investors and an almost insurmountable deadline and opened to a pile of hundreds of preorders from customers who had never even seen the coats and were willing to wait months before receiving them.

Currently in its seventh year of operation, PETA has named Hilgart "The Most Influential Designer" and celebrity fans include: Emily Deschanel, Angela Kinsey and Alicia Silverstone.


Men's Aran SweaterMen's Aran Sweater


The Aran Sweater

Inspired by a warm and cozy men's fisherman sweater that she bought from a London thrift shop, this special sweater sometimes referred to as a 'non-sheep treat' is made of 80% recycled cotton derived from industrial waste and is animal-free in every respect. Made in New York City using a new and unique waste-free technology,  according to Hilgart, "each sweater is made from one piece of continuous yarn, not from making panels of fabric to cut." Available for both men and women, the sweaters are featured in oatmeal, apricot and black.


Men and Women's Aran SweatersMen and Women's Aran Sweaters


The Future of Vaute  Couture

The future couldn't be brighter for Vaute Couture and Leanne hopes to expand her brand into the most beautiful weatherproof outerwear in the world with a love of planet earth, animals and workers. Innovative textiles keep things sustainable and eco-friendly. Lofty goals and continued pressure on the powers-that-be and social and moral consciousness is certain to evolve into a world where wearing animals will one day be a thing of  the past.

Can you think of other ways an individual can stand up and be a voice for animals?

Closing thoughts on animal-friendly fashion:
Vaute Couture proves that compassionate animal-friendly fashion can be cute, chic and sexy. ~