Hello, Vaute Coat. (Goodbye, XL Blue!*)

August 26th, 2009 10:07 pm by Kelly Garbato


Vaute Couture

Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They’re a vegan fashion house based in Chicago? Supportive of emerging artists, eco-friendly and cruelty-free? Founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgar was recently named one of the “20 Under 30” by VegNews magazine? (You remember! – the list that made the rest of us vegans feel like sorry slackers?)

– anyhow, in 2008, Vaute Couture announced that they wanted to design and launch a special new winter coat, the sale of which would benefit Farm Sanctuary. VC left the specifics of the planned peacoat up to a popular vote, which closed last October. The result? A seriously cute pea/dress coat, dubbed the Vaute Coat (and also known, quite appropriately, as the “Farm Sanctuary benefit coat”). Naturally, it’s 100% vegan and way too expensive for my pocketbook. But if you *heart* fashion and Farm Sanctuary – or *heart* someone who does (a blogger, by any chance? maybe she has a potty mouth and wears a size medium?) – the Vaute Coat would make a sweet x-mas gift, just not to die for.

Here are the details, via Farm Sanctuary:

Introducing Fall/Winter’s Must-Have Item: The First High Style + Function Coat with a Conscience

– Sales of Vaute Couture’s 100% Vegan, Ethically Produced Coat to Benefit Farm Sanctuary’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Work for Abused Farm Animals –

– Activist Fashion House on Forefront of Vegan Fashion Trend –


Chicago, IL – July 14, 2009 – When Michael Jackson sang about turning up the collar on his favorite winter coat in “Man in the Mirror,” his anthem to discovering your ethical core, he very well could have been singing about Vaute Couture’s mission to change the world one fabulously chic, vegan, eco-conscious coat at a time. This fall/winter, the Chicago-based activist fashion house is “gonna make a change” for farm animals with the launch of their limited run “Vaute” coat. Already on the wish list of conscientious fashion forward women around the world and guaranteed to become your favorite winter coat, all profits from the sale of this runway-worthy coat are being donated to Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, to support their vital mission to end cruelty to animals and promote compassionate living through rescue, education and advocacy.

A Coat with a Conscience

Being truly lovely starts from the inside. The alluring pea/dress coat — inspired by the winning illustration chosen by 8,000 voters from the Vaute Couture community, and interpreted into a feminine hourglass silhouette with oversized asymmetrical collar, puffed sleeves and inverted pleated skirt — is fully lined in a windproof 100 percent recycled zero waste satin ripstop, and is wind, water and snow resistant. The product of eight months of fabric research, it is constructed of a brand new technologically advanced fabric from the Polartec® Wind Pro ® Series that is luxuriously soft and designed to retain heat while staying slim and flattering. Hilgart chose fabrics with Chicago women in mind, offering performance level quality in sweet cuts as an answer to the hoards of North Face wearing women who want something just as comfortable but with a more feminine look. It is vegan, eco-conscious, artist inspired, and made on a living wage in Chicago.

Entrepreneurship = The New Activism

Born out of founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart’s desire to merge her passion for design and voice for the animals (and to produce a fabulous vegan coat to endure a Chicago winter!), Vaute Couture (as in “haute couture,” but with a “V” for vegan and pronounced “vote” because a purchase is a vote made with your dollar) is committed to discovering, supporting and developing more ethical production methods and high function materials that are animal, earth and socially conscious.

“Our raison d’être is to make it easier and more carefree to live a compassionate life full of style, comfort and warmth,” said Hilgart, a Ford model who was on contract in Hong Kong last summer when she started Vaute Couture and was recently named one of VegNews Magazine’s “20 Under 30” activists to watch. “When I visited Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter and spent time with the lovely and intelligent animals who live there, it was a great motivator to keep working on their behalf. The rescued animals come from conditions so stressful and violent, I’m touched and inspired by the love and friendship that they give us after all they’ve been through. Farm Sanctuary is a magical place; it’s one of my favorites in the world. The Vaute coat is my way of honoring their courage and driving the industry toward more ethical standards for high design and function fabrics.”

Why Vegan?

Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle. Choosing not to use or consume any animal products, including dairy, eggs, fur, leather, down, or wool provides numerous benefits for animals, the environment and an individual’s own personal wellbeing. Dressy winter coats, until now, have been almost exclusively made of wool, and are the end product of a cruel and violent process where sheep are roughly handled, cut and mistreated in the name of profit. Last year, 30 labels, including Timberland, H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch, signed on to ban Australian wool (BusinessWeek) in protest of this industry’s engagement in egregiously cruel practices, such as mulesing (a very painful mutilation) and live sheep export. Yet no fashion label has focused on developing a stylish wool-alternative coat, until now.

“When consumers become aware of the suffering that went into the production of their coats, most are no longer comfortable wearing the results of that abuse on their backs,” explained Farm Sanctuary’s Development Director Samantha Ragsdale. “Farm Sanctuary is honored to have the support of such a compassionate, visionary design house. Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart and Vaute Couture are light-years ahead of the industry.”

The Vaute Coat is a must-have for non-vegan/eco women too. “The fabrics we chose aren’t just vegan alternatives, they are a great innovation for sensitive skin too,” noted Hilgart. “In addition to their weather protection qualities, these cruelty-free fabrics are incredibly sensual next to your skin, which is great news for women who are sensitive to rough fabrics like wool.”

Equally gorgeous over dresses, jeans, or leggings, the Luxe Vaute coat can be ordered at https://www.vautecouture.com/p-17-vaute-coat-preorder.aspx and is available in Black, Cobalt Blue, Gray, and Ivory, as well as a Honeycomb Recycled Black version, and in sizes XS-XL.

More information about cruelty-free fashion is available at http://vegforlife.org/wears.htm.

The coat is only being produced in a limited run for 2009, with an initial availability of 25 per style/color this season.

* Incidentally, the XL Blue was the first (and, at the time of this writing, the only) style to sell out.

Just sayin’.



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One Response to “Hello, Vaute Coat. (Goodbye, XL Blue!*)”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Oh my, what a lovely coat. A lovely coat that I will never ever be able to afford. :( Ah well, a girl can dream!

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