Hi! I'm Leanne, VAUTE's founder. I want to tell you a little bit about VAUTE coats, what they're made of and why. I spent my life savings and now 7 years of my life starting, growing, and running this little label of love. I appreciate your support, which allows us to support so many wonderful workers and fabric mills, plus our growing team in Brooklyn. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
Photo by Julia Cawley, in the VAUTE HQ in Brooklyn
I started VAUTE ("Haute" + V for Vegan, pronounced "Vote") to create positive change in the fashion industry through each element of business. As a kid who ran petitions in the lunchroom and started recycling programs at my summer job, I loved animals, the Earth, and people, and wanted to do what I could do help. When I grew up and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I realized by getting an internship at Sittercity.com, that business was a great vehicle for creating change. Because whether we know it or not, when we buy something we are voting for everything behind it- how it's made, what it's made of, by who.
I created VAUTE to do three things:
1. Support business practices that are sustainable, scalable, and create positive results for the world. Nothing is perfect (I and my company certainly are not) but we can get closer by going in a positive direction, and increasing support and demand for positive things. 2. Empower others to realize that their daily choices add up and can create positive change, instead of silently participating in supporting company practices we don't believe in. 3. Support and bring a new face to our favorite non-profits through collaborations, partnerships, and awareness of issues facing animals around the world, and what we can do to help.
1. VAUTE Coats are made locally in New York City's garment district. I hope to one day do local production per market so that there is less shipping, and so that production is supported in each local market. Our cut and sew teams are paid a living wage, many are home owners and they make our coats not as an assembly line but one coat per artist, who makes it with pride and love.
2. Everything we make is 100% Vegan. Our coats are made without wool, down, leather, fur, or silk, which are all traditional outerwear materials. While it's easy to think that wool is just a haircut, and down has naturally fallen out of geese, this couldn't be further from the truth. Wool and down are factory farmed materials, where animals are treated as cogs and the fibers are as efficiently produced as possible. This means cruel conditions, the animals are slaughtered after they're considered "spent" but first they are repeatedly subjected to the cruel processes of getting wool (which is done for swiftness, often lopping off parts of skin), and down (where geese are held upside down and live plucked from a very young age). I don't believe animals belong in business because with industrialization, it just can't be done to scale while considering the animals' well being. I also don't believe animals are ours to wear, and one day we will look at wearing animals as a thing of the past.
3. Fabric R&D is a big part of what we do, and sustainability is an important element of this both in textiles and in process. We often use organic fibers and recycled fibers, including recycled plastic bottles pulled out of Italian rivers, and recycled cotton fibers leftover from large corporations' lines. Our new sweater line is made with machines that use one piece of yarn to create an entire sweater, leaving no waste.
4. Our materials are at the cutting edge of innovation. We work with the high tech mills that Patagonia, North Face, and others work with to create the most weatherproof outerwear we can. It doesn't matter if you care about animals or the Earth or workers like we do, if you need a warm coat, that's what we're here to make! We'd love to keep you cozy warm and protected all season long.
If you have any questions or just want to talk, please call us at 347-422-0773 weekdays 10am-5pm EST, or email sales@VauteCouture.com.
thanks so much for the support! xoxo Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, Founder