Emmanuella Rienda

Emmanuella Rienda


Le Frenchlab’s Emmanuelle Rienda to Launch Vegan Fashion Week in L.A.

The reputation of cruelty-free, or vegan, fashion has generally not been synonymous with elevated, chic textiles and designs. Now, Emmanuelle Rienda is launching the inaugural Vegan Fashion Week to show the mainstream fashion industry how offerings in the cruelty-free category have evolved. After a successful launch of The Future of Fashion conference during the October 2018 edition of the L.A. Textile show, Rienda wanted to build on the progress she saw being made during that event.

“The main goal [of Vegan Fashion Week] was to become mainstream and have this message reach a larger audience,” Rienda, founder of the Los Angeles creative agency Le Frenchlab, said. “I want to get out of this vegan bubble where everyone is only talking to other people who are involved in vegan and sustainable fashion.”

Launching with an exclusive industry-only party focused on the theme of “Facing Our Time,” Vegan Fashion Week will begin Feb. 1 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles during an event that will invite discussion regarding ecological issues through the scope of science, nature and art. Nobel Peace Prize laureate and climate scientist Robert Lempert will address guests, who will be invited to enjoy a runway showcase featuring vegan designers and explore offerings from high-end, cruelty-free brands. Her choice to host Vegan Fashion Week’s launch at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles was intentional.

“It’s controversial on the vegan scene, because there is a lot of taxidermy, and some vegans believe it’s wrong,” she said. “What I am saying is that I want to talk to the mainstream audience, and the space is a tribute to animals without exploiting them. It’s similar to going to The Louvre and seeing the mummies.”

Vegan Fashion Week will continue Feb. 2–3 at the California Market Center with an experience that includes more than 60 major vegan fashion brands. Every decision that Rienda has made regarding the launch of the event has been carefully considered to ensure the inclusive nature of the event.

At the CMC, Vegan Fashion Week will offer a family-friendly atmosphere structured around educating attendees regarding the industry’s options, such as luxury footwear, silk alternatives, and leathers made from apple and pineapple fibers. If guests want to learn about the more controversial side of sourcing animal-based textiles, there will be a closed booth, named The Black Box, that will provide information regarding the processes within the industry.

“My work is to bring vegan options to mainstream fashion but in a very inclusive way. People are scared because there is a spectrum from extremists to more-inclusive activists,” Rienda explained. “Even if we have different ideas and opinions, we need to bring them together to create discussion and interact.”

A fashion show held in the Fashion Theater at the CMC will showcase designs from Ecopell, Matea Benedetti, Altiir, Enda, Mink Shoes, Manavai and Topanga, Calif.–based artist and designer Chloe Trujillo.

Recognizing the controversy of cruelty-free fashion’s reputation for relying on pollutive sources for fabrics and textiles, Rienda is making the connection between luxury vegan fashion and sustainable resources for apparel manufacturing.

“It’s not only about the animals, it’s about trying to give answers about sustainability and bringing on the biggest innovators,” she said. “I am bringing together all of these creative innovators in the world, who are bringing solutions for issues we are facing right now—the environment, fair trade and animal rights.”

The decision to launch Vegan Fashion Week in Los Angeles was made due to California’s passage and consideration of animal-friendly legislation in recent years. Citing bans on cosmetics animal testing, fur and foie gras, Rienda felt a natural connection to the region for the launch.

“California is a more avant-garde state in the United States and the world that is really pushing animal rights very strongly,” she explained. “It made a lot of sense to start here. Fashion in Los Angeles is great, but there is a gap, and I think Vegan Fashion Week could fill this gap through avant-garde yet conscious fashion.”

Rienda wants to grow Vegan Fashion Week, so it is not going to be rooted in one city. To maximize exposure on a global level, she will bring the event to other major fashion cities.

“In September we envision New York. Next February, in 2020, we envision Paris. We want to bring Vegan Fashion Week to all fashion hubs around the world,” she said. “It has become its own entity traveling the world until vegan fashion is the norm.”