What is a Vegan Bride to do?!
December is a popular time for engagements. Following Christmas and New Year’s Eve, many women will begin wedding planning. For brides looking for wedding attire that does not harm the environment, Annaborgia is a great option. Continue reading to hear from Annaborgia founder Daniela Degrassi, on how she launched a vegan bridal fashion company.
What inspired you to live a vegan lifestyle?
This is quite a curious story. I was watching Ridley Scott’s Noah and a scene in particular gave me the chills. It depicted a group of savages chasing after a tiny defenseless lamb. In the next scene, the skinned lamb was skewered on a grill roll and roasting over the fire. It shook me so hard and it got me thinking: nothing has changed in today’s society. We keep abusing the helpless and disposing of animals like they are our property. I suddenly decided I would not eat meat after that night. This decision set off a need to learn more about vegetarianism and during the next month I watched all sorts of documentaries that brought me to tears, learning a lot on animal abuse in farming and in the fashion industry. It was really tough to watch. I felt like, “how in the world did I not know about this?” There was no doubt in my mind that I would not be a silent accomplice anymore. I just had to go vegan.
Tell me more about your experience working in the Wedding industry.
I have 15 years background in Wedding and Portrait Photography. Learning the skills of photography was a tremendous opportunity to express my unique point of view. It literally changed my approach to life, always on a quest to find beauty, energy and emotions in unusual places and situations. I was so blessed to find people that appreciated my art and allowed me to create magic memories for them. Another plus was building relationships that would last beyond being hired for a day. Throughout the years I refined my skills, the early years were all about capturing the small details, and later on I loved styling my brides for more fashion/glamour poses against interesting backgrounds to create more editorial images. Perhaps a subconscious hint to what was coming next!
When and how did you launch Annaborgia?
While spending time in Italy for family reasons, I kept occupied by helping a friend build a fashion social media network. I got quite intrigued and learned a lot about the fashion industry. After attending a live runway show at Milan Fashion Week, I literally started having night dreams of my own creations. A clearer sign of my subconscious this time! And being the impulsive, lead-by-passion woman that I am, my next move was to research how to start my own label! That’s how I spent 2013.
Wedding Attire seemed like the perfect niche to focus on, having worked in the industry for many years and witnessing the outdated, one-time-only looks bridesmaids were forced to wear. I wanted to create an alternative, timeless, minimal but elegant line that could transition well into other social or casual daily wear. In 2014 I started looking around for a team to work on my samples and that was a long year of trial and error (apparently so common in the industry!) But as I learned from life, even the bad experiences help! It was during that year that I turned vegan and it was great timing for me to refine my niche even more. The search for cruelty-free textiles lead me to learn more about sustainability in fashion. I am glad I was able to adjust to these standards before we launched Annaborgia in 2015.
Who is the ideal Annaborgia shopper?
The conscious consumer with a sophisticated mind that refuses to give up style, comfort, and her need to express her personality through clothes, while still caring for the environment and all its living beings.
How do vegan fabrics compare to more traditional materials?
We still have so much to learn about fabrics! For our mini debut collection we’ve been working with high end textiles from Zentex, a Japanese Company with high quality industry standards. Our satin polyesters and laces are not being processed with any toxic dyes. Another plus of these fine materials is that they can be hand washed and hang dried (avoiding another toxic step: dry cleaning). We also found that they have great anti-wrinkle properties. I always carry my Kats Pants in my luggage on my frequent overseas flights and they always come out un-crumpled.
Who makes your clothes and where are they produced?
Although I design in Italy (where I still live most of the time) Annaborgia production takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve used a local manufacturer for our first run and we’re now switching to a more sartorial approach working with our own team of seamstresses. We like to be able to have maximum control during the production phase to guarantee the highest quality and care for each garment.
What challenges have you faced in sourcing ethical/sustainable materials?
The first textile show I attended was quite overwhelming! Most of the ethical materials I was looking at were not the right textiles for social attire. Luckily, working with a fabric representative has helped a lot. I am really grateful to have met Ivy Moya in Oakland who introduced us to Zentex. I am also quite involved in a couple of online communities for emerging designers and they’ve been such a great support and source of helpful information.
Are there any new sustainable production practices that you are looking to experiment with?
Being still in the early stages, I am really curious to try more sustainable materials soon. I was just emailing our rep about sourcing faux leather and suede for future designs and we look forward to getting the new swatches!
What are your hopes for the future of Annaborgia?
The canvas is wide open. We just launched our eStore a few months ago and we are now looking to bring Annaborgia into stores. I love the idea of sending our ethical line in different directions (not just ethical fashion stores) to spread the message loud and clear: It can be done. You don’t have to give up style to be an environmentalist!
For more information on Annaborgia visit:
Read more from our amazing contributors:
About the Author
Chelsey Lowe believes in the power of business to create sustainable, impactful, and positive social change. She is currently a Resident in Social Enterprise, developing strategy and coordinating business operations for the Social Enterprise Alliance Chicago Chapter. Chelsey holds a B.A. in Political Science and Geography/Urban Studies from Temple University.