Some come across a granola bar labeled as “all natural,” or a trendy clothing brand that claims to be sustainable but, with ambiguous statements, who’s to say what any of that means? Actress Rooney Mara, a practicing vegan for nearly seven years, has shifted to the fashion industry to provide a ready-to-wear label that not only delivers clarity in sustainable practices, but also delivers dreamy, angel-with-an-edge vibes that will draw you in just to break your heart. The label, called Hiraeth, includes pieces that are leather, fur, wool and silk-free. Completely against the use of all animal products, Hiraeth, which Mara started with partners Sara Schloat and Chrys Wong, is the forward-thinking label for vegans (and meat-eaters who care about ethical responsibility or are interested in rocking a really cool pair of combat boots).
On naming the brand, Mara says, “It took us a long time; it’s a Welsh word that means a nostalgia or a longing for a home you can’t return to. It resonated with all of us and with the aesthetic we were all looking for.” And that’s exactly what you’ll feel when scrolling through Hiraeth‘s black magic-inspired Instagram feed. The nod to nostalgia is revealed through billowing silk-like fabrics with a stark contrast in the vegan leather bodices and aforementioned edgy combat boots. There’s detailed attention paid to draping in each structure that acknowledges craftsmanship and care.
As for the production process, the community that Hiraeth chooses to entrust with that craftsmanship is a delicate decision. Sara Schloat, one of Mara’s business partners, explains, “We only want to produce locally in Los Angeles because that’s where we have the most control in meeting the people who are making the product. We have a relationship with these people. It’s all made in our backyard, so we see the skilled craftsmanship happening.” Wong continues, “Between water recycling, environmental responsibility, only using factories who pay their workers well, the priority is that we are connected with the people who we are working with. A society where we’re all connected.”
Whether you’re vegan or not, the society that Hiraeth has cultivated in order to move in a wave of compassion in an impulsive and self-involved world, is the magnet moving in the right direction in hopes of attracting the rest of the industry. Mara’s other business partner, Chrys Wong, says, “We’re always interested in living better, the art of going more vegan feels right and relevant in today’s world.”
From brands going fur-free and a constant stream of human rights campaigns to seeing young stars like Sadie Sink and Madeline Brew adorned in Hiraeth on the red carpet, the fashion industry is making progress but change starts with the people behind the fashions caring. With only two collections a year, Mara states, “It’s not tons of on-trend clothing. It’s about beautiful clothing that will last in your wardrobe made by people who actually care.” Shop Hiraeth online and in-store at Barney’s.
Main image: Courtesy of Hiraeth