Sustainable accessories brand Veganologie wants to make a dent in the $3T fashion industry

By Pooja Rajkumari & Sindhu Kashyaap
October 29, 2022, Updated on : Sat Oct 29 2022 05:40:43 GMT+0000
Sustainable accessories brand Veganologie wants to make a dent in the $3T fashion industry
Founded by Angana Maheshwari in Dubai, Veganologie is a sustainable accessories brand that uses recycled materials to manufacture products.
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Kolkata-born Angana Maheshwari was looking for one thing when she moved to Dubai in 2019: a high quality bag that was also sustainable. 


“I wanted a bag that I could carry every day without having to feel like I had [impacted] the planet for its production. I didn’t want to go for a high-end fashion brand but I didn’t want a low-quality product,” says Angana in a conversation with YourStory Gulf Edition


This led Angana to realise the need for a brand that could cater to her needs and requirements and led her to start Veganologie in 2022. The brand makes sustainable accessories that are made with recycled materials. 


“My grandparents and parents always prioritised about giving back to the society. I have worked with cancer research foundations, with people like Kailash Satyarthi, and that is probably where my interest to contribute to the society and the planet grew,” Angana says. 


Most of Angana’s childhood and undergraduate years were spent outside India. She completed did a bachelor’s course from New York University, and completed her master’s at London School of Economics.


By early 2019, Angana moved to Dubai to pursue a career in media communications. Her hunt for a bag made her realise the need for an affordable and sustainable accessories line. 

Veganologie

Product shots of Veganologie


The highest GDP and highest polluter 

The latest design of bag, accessories, and clothing may seem really exciting, but the harm fast fashion causes the planet is significant. In fact, several news and media reports suggest that the global fashion industry is responsible for close to 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and waste. 


In fact, the $3 trillion fashion industry, which contributes towards two percent of the global GDP, is believed to be ranked just after oil in terms of pollution. And yet, the industry grows and thrives, especially in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) region. 


The region rakes in a whopping $50 billion in annual fashion sales, according to a McKinsey report.


Angana wants consumers to make a conscious choice. 

“Sustainability is a movement and not a bandwagon. Let’s all be mindful and conscious consumers when it comes to buying and consumption on a daily basis,” she says. 

Veganologie uses 100 percent vegan, recycled, or sustainable materials. Their product SKUs - crossbody bags, wallets and card holders - are all made from recycled PU leather.


The startup has received certifications from Global Recycled Standards (GRS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 


“The Middle Eastern countries appear to be enthusiastically working towards building a sustainable fashion regime. For e.g., the Arab Fashion Council (AFC), launched the AFC Green Label, supporting sustainable designers, in an attempt to promote a more ethical and responsible fashion industry in the Gulf region,” says Safir Anand, IP lawyer and strategist of Anand and Anand. 


As a company that was born during the pandemic, Veganologie developed everything through virtual means - from designing the products to finding a third-party production facility. 


Sara Basar, who previously worked with Dubai-based luxury fashion house Rami Al Ali, joined Angana as the executive director and designer at Veganologie. Both Sara and Angana worked together to develop and design the product, website, marketing, and everything else. 


“Business and fashion houses are actively taking steps to promote sustainability as their foundational pillar now, given the urgency to take corrective measures. Veganologie has the scope to take advantage of this growing concern and market its brand in a way that puts its fundamental ethos in the forefront. Once again, this is bound to work advantageously in creating a unique identity for the company, thereby bumping up its brand equity,” Safir says. 

Veganologie

Sara Basar, Veganologie

Operating in the Gulf

Gulf is the prime market for Veganologie and it competes with brands like Stella McCartney, Yooxygen, Reformation etc. 


Angana says, “It is definitely a challenge to compete with established brands. But we differ because of the very fact that we began with sustainability as our core value while other brands are introducing a new, separate line of sustainable products only now.”


Veganologie has partnered with a local company for delivery within Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and with DHL for international courier services in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. 

“Ecommerce is becoming a big thing in the Gulf, especially after the pandemic. The drivers for this popularity are cash-on-delivery facility and same-day delivery services. We are banking on these options to make sustainability easily accessible.”

Customers who have brought Veganologie products feel that the purchase goes beyond a fashion trend without compromising on the quality. 


“Veganologie bags and wallets are not just an accessory to look good; more importantly, they are to feel good. Knowing that purchasing these items contributes to the betterment of the environment is a big plus. Every time I wear my Maze Veganologie bag, I feel proud that I kept 11 bottles out of the ocean,” says Sheila Narvasa, a customer.


Veganologie is planning to launch new products made out of other kinds of vegan leather such as apple leather, mushroom leather, cactus leather etc. It is also planning to introduce unisex products in the near future. 


Edited by Teja Lele

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