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Interview: sustainable brand Veggani founder Laura de Waal

By Justine Browning

Jul 2, 2018

Fashion |INTERVIEW

The animal and environmentally friendly handbag brand Veggani has launched an innovative new piece comprised of apple peels.

The product was developed by a juicing company in Northern Italy and involves the recycling of industrial waste from food processing centers and the recycled lining from other bags.

FashionUnited had the chance to speak with Veggani Founder and CEO Laura de Waal over the phone about the new accessory, the challenges she has faced as an entrepreneur and why sustainable fashion is set to expand.

”One pound of food waste thrown into landfills equates to 8 pounds of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. This re-use of food waste makes this material a more eco-friendly alternative to standard vegan leathers.”

Veggani Founder and CEO, Laura de Waal

Where did you draw inspiration for the new Apple Peel collection and what were the challenges with developing the line?

Our mission at VEGGANI is to design and create products that don’t compromise our ethics but promote them. Using the Apple peel vegan leather among other ‘fruit’ leathers matched with our mission the most as it is making use of large amounts of industrial food waste (apple peels). One pound of food waste thrown into landfills equates to 8 pounds of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. This re-use of food waste makes this material a more eco-friendly alternative to standard vegan leathers. The overall process of creating this line ran into no uncommon challenges as the material is very refined and similar, if not better than standard vegan leathers.

Read more on sustainable textile innovations:

How do you find that your brand offers something innovative that other company's don't? Do you think Veggani is indicative of the future of fashion?

We feel that VEGGANI and its principals are providing what today’s customers are starting to look for in fashion. You can see in recent news over the past few years with the banning of furs and various animal materials from a lot of the large brands. VEGGANI is always seeking to incorporate elements that promote guilt-free fashion.

How do you go about attracting new customers who aren't necessarily seeking out eco-friendly items?

While a huge part of our brand is that we use animal-friendly and eco-friendly materials, our goal is to create fashionable and stylish handbags that appeal to everyone.

You've partnered with a few charities, how did that relationship come about and why was it important?

Part of our mission as a brand has been to support and give back to communities that we work with. As a vegan brand, we promote the well being of animals and so supporting animal charities is an important and natural process for us.

Since you are crafting items with very specific types of fabrics and materials, what are some of the difficulties that you face when it comes to manufacturing?

One of the biggest difficulties, which is true for any fabric but especially true with new and alternative vegan leathers, is the consistency of the material itself. We have tested and sampled several vegetable and fruit leathers, however many of them are still in early stages of development. The apple leather is very consistent in its texture and thickness making it ideal to create a sustainable high-quality product.

Where are the items typically made?

The apple leather material is created in Italy while most of our products are made in Southeast Asia, we work with manufacturers and artisans in Thailand, Laos, China and India.

Veggani accessories, including the brand's Laos Bombshell Jewelry, a line that was developed to aid those affected by unexploded bombs still left behind in Laos from the Vietnam War, are available for purchase on the brand's website. Prices of the items range from 115 to 155 US dollars.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Veggani
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SUSTAINABILITY
Textile Innovations
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Veggani