Means&Matters
Stories of Money and sustainability

Vegan Fashion Week: “A Conversation That Is Elevating the Fashion Industry”

Jan 15th 2021

For a decade, Emmanuelle Rienda had a successful career in fashion representing French designers in the U.S. market.

After being vegetarian for many years, she decided to go vegan in 2016, concerned about the environmental, sanitary, and economical harm caused by animal exploitation in the dairy and meat industries. But at her Los Angeles showroom, Emmanuelle realized she was part of the issue by promoting designs made of leather, wool and sometimes fur.

“I started to apply my philosophy, not only to what I was eating, but also to my career, and to what I was wearing.

“I decided to really think through my lifestyle,” Emmanuelle says. “I started to apply my philosophy, not only to what I was eating, but also to my career, and to what I was wearing.”

She closed her showroom, and in February 2019, launched Vegan Fashion Week at LA’s Natural History Museum. The event hosts fashion shows, trade shows, and conferences that bring designers, industry professionals, and celebrities together to promote cruelty-free fashion. Now a recurring event, Vegan Fashion Week has:

  • Featured more than 200 designers
  • Attracted more than 5,000 attendees to its 2019 events under the theme “Fashion is Activism”
  • Garnered media coverage globally with more than 3000 articles, including by Vogue, WWD and NY Times among other top-tier press

Emmanuelle wanted to break from the stereotypes that label veganism as divisive and lead positive change through conscious creativity.

“All life is interconnected. Animal exploitation and the current ecological disaster is directly linked to the health and economic crisis humanity is experiencing,” Emmanuelle says. “Let’s create new awareness and change behavior long-term. We need to rethink the way we consume, what we consume, and how to sync sustainability with ethics.”

Her cruelty-free, inclusive lifestyle led her to switch her bank to Bank of the West.

“They are environmentally conscious, and they’re also really supporting women empowerment and women business leaders.

“They are environmentally conscious, and they’re also really supporting women empowerment and women business leaders” Emmanuelle says. “This really resonated for me.”

Learn more about Bank of the West’s actions on sustainability and diversity here.

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