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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Humans Are Vain tells you how much you’re saving with each shoe — in climate costs

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Vegan fashion brand Humans Are Vain now has a climate impact calculator for each product in its catalogue to show you how much you’re saving.

Chris Margetts, co-founder of Humans Are Vain, told The Vegan Review in December: “While working in the fashion industry, I always felt stuck between two vanities: the end user who just wanted fast cheap products and the corporations who only cared about profit and flashy cars.”

He was talking about the story behind the brand’s name, but it stands for much more than that. Humans Are Vain is putting its money where its mouth is — as a sustainable and vegan fashion brand, it’s telling you exactly what your impact is every time you buy a product from its website.

People are calling for carbon labelling on food, and they should too. But why should we not have impact labels on the stuff we wear too?

It’s that idea that has led to Humans Are Vain introducing the impact calendar on its website, which is verified by Compare Ethics. With every tote bag, cap, shoe, sneaker and boot, you’ll find a customised calculation telling you that it’s vegan, how much waste the product saves from going into landfill, as well as the number of plastic bottles it saves, either from landfill or the oceans.

compare ethics

“We have been looking into ways of verifying our sustainability claims since the brand began and this calculator gives a clear message to the customer about the impact of our products,” says Margetts. Given the state of the world, how a product performs isn’t the only thing that should be on its description — how it impacts the planet is equally important.

“All areas of sustainability are important to us and every action we take is assessed for environmental impact,” explains Margetts, “but we selected those particular metrics because the material innovation and recycling has been the backbone of our business model, and this is what we wanted to highlight to the customer above anything else.”

The calculator will also tell you that the brand uses vegan leather, which is verified by the only metric available for it, the PETA-Approved Vegan label.

Read our in-depth interview with Humans Are Vain co-founder Chris Margetts.

Fast fashion is notorious for its negative impact on the environment and animals as well as poor labour conditions. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined, according to an environmental audit by the UK government. In total, the UN says the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of all carbon emissions.

Sustainable fashion has never been more important, and highlighting the negative or positive impact of each product and brand on climate change is paramount.

humans are vainThis is where Humans are Vain comes in. Its goal is “to provide the customer with clear and transparent information, allowing them to make an informed purchase”. So far, Humans Are Vain has sold 3,100 units via wholesale, 532 on its website, and another 40% through other marketplaces.

This means that the vegan fashion brand has saved 39,756 plastic bottles from going to landfill, with the average sneaker saving 12 bottles. It has also saved more than 2,385kg of waste from landfill with its overall sales, as the average product helps save 720g.

Margetts explains what sets Humans Are Vain apart from the rest: “We only use the latest innovative sustainable and recycled materials in our products, which we constantly upgrade as the technology improves, and we combine all this with timeless minimal design. We also operate a circular economy and design all our products into this, so even our old shoes can be turned into new soles.”

He adds: “We are also working on new sustainable production methods to ensure we are producing products in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We have one project at the moment, for example, where we are working with Stockholm University to 3D-print footwear from old clothes.”

That is one of a few big plans the brand has in store for the rest of 2021. These include launching its first clothing line “using some amazing sustainable materials”, releasing more footwear styles, and opening a dedicated warehouse in the US. You can rest assured that its climate-friendly impact is only going to get better.

Anay Mridul
Anay is the managing editor of The Vegan Review. A journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.