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Love, EP

Welcome to Empower Palette, a magazine blog. Shining light on fashion, beauty and health products that empower women. Don't hesitate to let me know what you want to see on the blog!

1st Woman-Owned Vegan Fashion House in NYFW

1st Woman-Owned Vegan Fashion House in NYFW

I think many of us are deceived when it comes to world of fashion. We know that much of the fabric worn like leather or silk comes from animals. But unlike raw chicken at the supermarket, there is a disconnect between the lives of the animals used to make our clothing and the clothing we try on at stores like River Island or H&M.

The fashion industry is truly harmful in terms of the chemicals used and the underpaid or underage humans working in toxic conditions. These chemicals also seep into the air, groundwater, and puts tons of toxins into the earth.

In addition, lots of fabric is wasted. Even when donating old clothes, many are never used and piled up in other countries.

Only about 20% of donated clothing is resold or used in the U.S. A percentage is sent to developing areas in China, Africa, and South America. About 45% is recycled in U.S. textile recycling facilities and the rest becomes U.S. trash.

Eleven percent of donations made to Goodwill in 2014, for example, were deemed unsaleable and carted to landfills — about 22 million pounds in all — costing the organization millions of dollars in transport fees and other expenses.

- Fashionista

Not only does major fashion harm humans, many fabrics are made from tortured animals. Now that it is the winter season, wool and down are very popular fabrics in coats and blankets. But there is a dirty truth behind those fabrics.

Wool is made from shearing sheep which are kept in confined spaces like in factory farming. Sheep are so quickly shaved that they get cuts, they bleed, and are thrown around the floors. Only to relive the nightmare once their coats grow back. Down is made from geese feathers. A worker sits in a chair with a goose upside down on their lap. The worker then plucks every feather from the goose which to you and me would feel like someone ripping off our fingernails. Many geese are plucked to death. Those that remain alive will relive this torture.

BUT I have POSITIVE NEWS!!

Today, I’m sharing with you a 180 degree TOTAL fashion industry rule breaker. A woman-owned brand making better alternatives and creating a space for conversation about the current dirty fashion culture.

Plus, I added tips at the end of this blog post to help you look for cruelty-free and non-toxic clothing.

& to remember: Keep that shit clean. Seriously. And demand more from your fashion.

VAUTE (“Haute” + V for Vegan, pronounced “vote”) is the world’s first vegan fashion brand, founded with a mission of taking animals out of the fashion equation, by creating something better, using innovative, high-tech, sustainable textiles, cut and sewn in NYC’s garment district with love. Vaute is the first vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week!

  • Woman-owned by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

  • Uses organic and recycled fibers

  • Learn more about the fabrics Vaute uses here

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, 10 minutes from the McDonald’s headquarters. I went from being Girl Scouts and concert band popular, to friendless when I discovered all the things going on in the world that didn’t feel right. Letter writing campaigns, calling makeup companies with a list of animal testing questions, and my own puffy paint statement tee shirts became my life.  I cried a lot. For the animals, and my lack of human friends. But at least I had art, music, and my animal friends.


Fast forward more than a decade and I discovered “the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra in a secondhand bookstore while modeling in Taipei. In it, it said there is abundance where your talents meet the needs of the world. I worked for 3 years on figuring out what that was, how I could serve the world, the animals, the movement, with the tools and passions I’ve been given in my life. The twists, the turns, the things that didn’t make sense until I put them all together, to create VAUTE.

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart via   Instagram

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart via Instagram

With Vaute, buying cruelty-free or sustainable is a vote for a cruelty-free and sustainable world. What you consume matters and supports whatever culture a company promotes. Whether good or bad.

So how can your buy better clothing? Here are LOTS of tips. It’s easier than you may think!

How to spot cruelty-free or vegan clothing:

Fabrics/words to look for: recycled, acrylic, synthetic, faux, polyester, cotton, “manmade” materials, textile

Fabrics to avoid:

  • Fur

  • Leather (from cattle, bison, deer, elk, moose, pig, goats, rabbit, cat, sheep, caribou, kangaroo, alligator, etc.)

  • Wool (from sheep 🐑)

  • Silk [from the cocoons of the larvae (babies) of the silkmoth]

  • Down (from geese)

  • Angora (rabbit fur 🐇)

  • Cashmere (from cashmere goats - a special breed 🐐)

  • Shearling (from sheep or lamb 🐑)

How to spot non-toxic clothing:

Stay away from ‘wrinkle-free’, ‘shrinkage-free’, ‘anti-cling’, ‘perspiration-proof’, ‘waterproof’, and ‘chlorine resistant’. These all contain and release formaldehyde. 😷 Also, stay away from Teflon which is used to make garments last longer.

Think of it as the nasty preservatives in food. These are the nasty preservatives in your clothing. 🙅 Note: There have even been lawsuits alleging high levels of formaldehyde in Victoria’s Secret bras.

Disperse Blue Dyes, especially dark blue, brown, and black synthetic put you at high risk for contact dermatitis. Also, Disperse Blue # 1 is classified as a human carcinogen due to high malignant tumor levels in lab animals. Another note: EP does not stand for animal testing and neither do I.

 Learn more about the toxins in clothing here.

Instead look for natural dyes like turmeric, dandelion roots, & beets. You can learn more about natural dyes here.

Look for cotton, (preferably organic), flax, & hemp fabrics

via   Instagram

Do your purchases match your beliefs/lifestyle? Did you know how harmful the fashion industry is?

Post a comment or question below and don’t hesitate to share this post and help create a cycle of cruelty-free fashion 😘

& remember to allow your authentic self to empower the women around you

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