If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us one thing, it is how swiftly the course of our lives can change. Now more than ever before, it is important to help our planet flourish, protect nature and, at the very least, stop cruelty towards other creatures. In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of beauty, accessory and clothing labels that only use plant-derived raw materials and cruelty-free practices to make some very special products. This list is not strictly for vegans. Many of us will be delighted by the quality, range and designs that these brands showcase. Even if you don’t embrace the vegan lifestyle, shopping mindfully is an important step in the right direction. None of the fashion brands featured here use silk, fur, wool, suede or processes like screen printing with gelatin. The beauty products use formulations without honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, and gelatin, and none engage in animal-testing. The accessory and shoe labels use cruelty-free leather, wood, fabric and other innovative materials to create sturdy products with cool designs.
A PETA-approved vegan skincare brand with just four products customised to Indian skin is already intriguing. What’s more interesting is that founder Siddharth Somaiya is an artist by training who has experience creating specialty chemicals for the world’s largest personal care companies. With Organic Riot, he’s created a company that uses safe and superior ingredients, engages in ethical practices (especially against child labour), and has world-class standards.
theorganicriot.com; from Rs3,200
Veteran actor Rameshwari Talluri Seth used to produce homemade scrubs and soaps in her Karjat farmhouse and sell them at exhibitions with the help of her son Bhaskara and nephew Manu Seth. The popularity of their products motivated the family to transition from a mom-and-pop shop to a PETA-approved vegan skincare brand. Part of this process included painstakingly finding vegan derivatives that make for solid skincare ingredients and building a cruelty-free testing process.
neemlinaturals.com; from Rs225
The brand’s power-packed Hustle serum has magically found its way into the skincare kits of solid beauty influencers and those-in the-know. Founder Shamita Haldipurkar has accomplished two things with this disruptive launch. After extensive R&D, she’s managed to create a formulation that delivers all your skincare nutrients in one bottle, dramatically simplifying skincare routines. Haldipurkar is also a champion of mindful consumption; the company intends to launch one product every few months instead of o ering a complex range that leaves customers confused.
dyou.co; from Rs3,200
This PETA-approved vegan makeup brand was started by three scientists: Desiree Pereira, Lakshay Mohindroo, and Shivangi Shah. Their vision was to create a makeup brand for the Indian consumer keeping in mind skin tones, but also the country’s climate and cultural habits. Today Disguise’s innovative products have a cult following.
disguisecosmetics.com; from Rs200
Not all chemicals are bad for your skin and Vaunt Skincare’s products are the perfect case in point. Founder Natasha Parekh wanted to create an alternative to expensive skincare products. Drawing from her experience in the family business of aroma chemicals, she created an affordable and effective skincare brand. According to her, the thorough formulations make ingredients even more potent.
vauntskincare.com; from Rs545
Created by Robin Gupta and Prakher Mathur, these products are thoughtfully designed keeping both consumers and the environment in mind. This vegan brand believes in the combined power of nature and science, and uses a balance of active and botanical ingredients.
consciouschemist.com; from Rs699
After studying and working in California, founder Karishma Kewalramani discovered a gap in the beauty market when she returned to India. She decided to launch a trendy makeup brand created with beneficial ingredients that complemented dusky skin types. She enlisted a team that was equally passionate about breaking stereotypes and making the beauty industry more inclusive, and Fae Beauty, a “free and equal” beauty brand, was born.
faebeauty.in; from Rs600
A vegan lifestyle brand, Bon Organics focuses on skin and hair care but also sells products for babies, men and the home. Pondicherry-based Nishantainidevi Chandrasekaran launched this brand with the aim of creating products that were entirely handmade with certified organic ingredients.
bonorganics.com; from Rs150
Founder Likhitha Kantheti travelled to Hyderabad to establish sustainable supply chain channels with the city’s weaving communities. Her clothing is mostly made of untreated indigenous cotton in the form of khadi, malkha, linen and hemp fabric. She uses a lot of untreated handloom textiles to create soft, feminine apparel.
Instagram- @_rosaway_; from Rs2,500
Apurva Kothari founded what is possibly India’s oldest and most established vegan clothing brand. She uses organic and fair-trade cotton to help the country’s cotton farmers without compromising on style and fit. The label first became famous for its uber comfortable T-shirts, but now sells clothing for men, women and kids and, starting recently, even canvas handbags.
nonasties.in; from Rs599
THE SANTRA PROJECT
Bengaluru-based Tanisha Thyagarajan is a textile designer who started her own slow fashion label after a trip to Kutch, where she interacted with local artisans. For The Santra Project collections, she uses handwoven cotton and clamp dyeing with natural pigments like indigo, madder root and pomegranate skins to make easy clothing with a graphic yet timeless aesthetic.
thesantraproject.com; from Rs1,750
Don’t blame us for introducing this simultaneously chic and wearable clothing label to you. Fatima Punjaabi makes breezy yet modern dresses, co-ord sets, tunics and even saris. Her free-flowing designs have been worn by some of Bollywood’s leading ladies, including Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Bhumi Pednekar.
stylemati.in; from Rs2,500
Founded by NIFT graduate Bhoomi Dani and Priyam Shah, this Ahmedabad-based label champions the age-old craft of Ajrakh block printing and the traditional artisans who work in the medium. Products are made entirely from 100 percent cotton and natural dyes. The statement saris, jackets and tote bags highlight India’s craft traditions in a contemporary and fun format. Bestsellers include gorgeous Ajrakh kaftans, funky brogues and vibrant cotton scarves.
vrajbhoomi.in; from Rs350
Though Brown Boy is a lesser-known T-shirt brand, its tees have been worn by Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Ranveer Singh, and Taapsee Pannu. These fans are a testament to the vegan and organic cotton tees, which are printed with water-based inks and natural dyes. They also make sweatshirts and tank tops. The apparel is sold in stores in the United States, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and India and also through Instagram. They’ve recently launched an upcycled copper jewellery collection.
Instagram- @shopbrownboy; from Rs1,500
For formal men’s shoes, sturdy bags and smart cardholders, look no further. The Alternate is a vegan menswear label with woven slip-ons, mules, loafers and even an occasion-wear velour collection made with imported, vegan materials but entirely handcrafted in India. Their handbag collection includes backpacks, briefcases, laptop bags and travel-friendly duffels as well.
thealternate.in; from Rs950
Rumika Sharma, a NIFT alumna, created this vegan handbag brand with a two-part mission: to make cruelty-free fashion, and to employ an all-women team. Early this year Broke Mate won PETA India’s 2020 Vegan Fashion Award for the Best Vegan Bags brand. The minimal and functional purses incorporate pineapple leather, coconut leather, cork, paper leather and recycled PET bottles to appeal to conscious consumers.
brokemate.com; from Rs1,200
This vegan women’s shoe brand proves that cruelty-free footwear doesn’t have to look dowdy or old-fashioned. Their bright, trendy designs have been worn by Vidya Balan, Swara Bhaskar, Shibani Dandekar and others. PAIO supports a community of local artisans who use a mix of synthetic leathers (such as mushroom leather) and fabrics such as cotton, jute and hemp to create sandals, flats, juttis and even boots. A new collaboration with designer Payal Singhal features gorgeous embroidered mules and smart block heeled sandals.
paio.co; from Rs750
Material researcher Zuzana Gombosova from Slovakia and mechanical engineer and product designer Susmith CS from Kerala manufacture sheets of vegan and eco-friendly materials for use across industries. They also have an accessories line called Malai, where they use a biocomposite material to make unisex bags, wallets and backpacks with a clean resort aesthetic. This material is made of agricultural waste from the coconut industry.
malai.eco; from Rs1,500
This PETA-approved vegan brand boasts a robust collection, from pearl-studded statement heels to printed loafers for men. Founders Nupur Nagpal and Aakash Saikia use microfibers and cork to make fashion footwear with an emphasis on comfort. Their heels have been seen on Neha Dhupia, Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi.
chalkstudio.shop; from Rs2,499
A BIG INDIAN STORY
Founder Anuradha Alurkar is passionate about using Indian crafts in contemporary fashion, as well as creating conscious lifestyle products. She crafts products like kalamkari laptop bags and batik flats using plant-based materials like Piñatex (pineapple leather). A Big Indian Story is PETA-approved, and it’s also launching a cactus leather collection soon.
abigindianstory.com; from Rs2,000
Three things to love about this vegan bag label: First, its contemporary and cool aesthetic as well as its functionality. Second, the range of products, which includes bags, passport holders, sunglasses cases and specialty pouches for coins, headphones, stationary and more. Finally, the bespoke services it offers, including monogramming and custom designing.
moonrabbitlifestyle.com; from Rs299
Vegan and cruelty-free, yet trendy and affordable, CAI makes it easy to choose plant-based footwear. From closed shoes for kids to kitten heels for their mamas, over 200 styles give mindful consumers a lot to choose from. Founders Aradhana and Dhanraj Minawala ensure every single ingredient (down to the gum used for soles) is plant-derived. Their shoes have been spotted on actors like Kareena Kapoor, Disha Patani and Aditi Rao Hydari.
thecaistore.com; from Rs999