Ethical fashion, and vegetarian shoes by proxy, have traditionally had unfortunate stigmas attached to them. Usually associated with tragic environmentalists with a holier than thou attitude, vegetarian shoes and ethical fashion have really come of age. There are two principle reasons for this. The first is the development of vegetarian materials other than hemp that allow the creation of much more fashion conscious clothing and footwear, and the other is the internet.
The first is particularly important. Put simply, vegetarian shoes and fashion in general tended to rely heavily on hemp before the invention of modern synthetic materials. Nowadays, faux-leather is so convincing that it is almost impossible to tell the difference and vegetarian shoes have been spotted on Cheryl Cole, Cameron Diaz and Natalie Portman to name but a few. The effect of these materials cannot be overstated. Ethical fashion is no longer a sniggered at as an oxymoron, it really is just that and boutique fashion is now available without the ethical price tag. Designers are using these materials to make clothes at least as beautiful and functional as those found in common high street shops.
The internet has also been tremendously important in the growth of the vegetarian shoes and ethical market. Being a ‘long tail’ concern, vegetarian shoe shops were previously only found in certain corners of London and Brighton, propped up by a very specific customer base found in large enough numbers in very specific localities. Now, the internet has allowed online vegan fashion boutiques to emerge and connect with a large niche market when taken as a whole.
The ethical fashion market is still a niche concern, but with the combination of fresh, exciting clothes and a distribution network that connects disparate customers to form a sustainable customer base means that it is on the rise. This can only be seen as a good thing. Most ethical fashion designers are as concerned with ethics and vegetarian materials as they are with the environment, so you can be sure that most ethical fashion is also green fashion.