Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is the founder of Vaute Couture, the vegan fashion house that specializes in sustainable outerwear. Leanne has done extensive research on the fabrics she uses—and she does it all for the good of the animals. A former model, vegan for 10 years and doing activism for animals since she was 8, Leanne realized there was a market for cruelty-free coats—and decided to start changing the world through fashion. Ecologically friendly and vegan, Vaute Couture fashions are a bright, warm light on cold, snowy days. We sat down with Leanne earlier this month after a photo shoot and talked to her about her passion to help animals and the environment, one fashionable jacket at a time. Biography Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is Founder & President of Vaute Couture, the first and only winter coat line on the market that is at once warm enough for below freezing weather, chic, and vegan. It also uses cutting edge weatherproof recycled & recyclable fabrics and local construction. She spent a year developing the line including 8 months of fabric research, and uses custom fabrics that take 3 months to produce, for a total of a 5 month production schedule. The line is currently self and community funded, and the first season’s production run was entirely funded by customer preorders. Leanne has been vegan since she was 17 and vegetarian since age 10, her background is not in fashion but in activism and start-ups, as she has been advocating for animals since she was 8 years old and helped push a bill into law at 17 for dissection alternatives in IL schools. She has been named 1 of 40 Redefining Green (Grist.org), 1 of 8 Brilliant Eco Entrepreneurs (VegNews Magazine), and 1 of 7 Best New Green Designers (Ecouterre), Vaute Couture has been named Company of the Year (VegNews Magazine), Best Fashion Company (Peta2), and the Vaute Coat named 1 of 22 Best Coats (Chicago Magazine), and Winner of the Polartec Apex Design Award (Polartec- award shared with North Face, Patagonia, and others.) The label has been featured in Marie Claire Magazine, on Oprah.com, on FOX TV’s Bones, and on TeenVogue.com.
Founded in 2011, From A to Vegan strives to share perspectives about veganism in the 21st century. From food to fashion, leisure to sustainability, our goal is to provide noteworthy and useful information to anyone thinking about or currently leading a life free of animal products. We think it's important to present different points of view and challenge common misperceptions about people and practices that are considered vegan. We hope to open minds to the possibility of a sustainable way of life through alternative choice. In the process, we hope to learn things about ourselves as well.