We found the The Vegan ‘It’ Bag
When we came across the Chloë Crossbody by Velvet Heartbeat, we knew had found our ‘it’ bag. The Chloë is round but structured, it comes in a choice of lush winter tones, and it’s named after our golden muse Chloë Sevigny.
While fervently planning our outfits around the Chloë, we had to know more. We sat down with creator Suzie Eggleton to talk about all things Velvet Heartbeat.
All materials used by Suzie are 100% vegan (this means no animal products or by-products). Why? Because animals shouldn’t suffer in the name of fashion.
The type of materials that Velvet Heartbeat uses falls into three categories:
1. Industry Deadstock
This includes stock never sold and removed from sale, fabrics with flaws that can be worked around, and end of roll lengths. The materials are high quality but surplus to other’s requirements. Having the potential to end up in landfill, Suzie would rather put them to good use.
2. Re-purposed/Vintage Materials
Velvet Heartbeat has used vintage zips from the 60s for some of its purses, yet they’re as good as brand new. Recycled hessian coffee sacks are used in the internal structures on some of the bags, including the Chloë.
3. Brand New Materials
Sometimes it's difficult to find suitable thread, supplies and labels which adhere to the first two requirements.
Excitingly, Suzie is currently researching sustainable vegan textiles like Piñatex®, mushroom and lab-grown leather for use in the future.
All of the Velvet Heartbeat bags are named after inspiring and beautiful women. Think Chloë Sevigny, Theda Bara, Winona Ryder, Lola Montez and Thora Birch.
Suzie asks for input from her social media followers, and she loves how this has pushed some of her designs and colour choices.
We asked Suzie what she loves the most about designing for her own brand. She enjoys the freedom to create what she wants within an ethical framework. She didn't get this freedom when working for others, for example the ability to choose not to use animal-derived materials like leather and silk.
Suzie's design is led by the materials she can find, rather than being based around new materials. Sometimes she'll find unique hardware in an emporium or a thrift shop, and the bags will grow from there.
As the designer behind one of New Zealand's leading vegan fashion brands, Suzie loves connecting with others to share her passions and values. If her brand can inspire a few people to choose fashion in a more thoughtful manner, then it's a success. On this note, Suzie curates the Choose Nice Zine which celebrates the local ethical fashion community.
Of course, you can check out www.velvetheartbeat.com for more rad fashion.