ETHICAL. STYLISH. FUNCTIONAL.
What we eat, wear, and do each day is a vote for the world we want. Let’s create a kinder more beautiful world together.
We are VAUTE [V(Vegan) + Haute], the first vegan apparel brand in the world. We're on a mission to create the best outerwear, inspired by frigid Chicago winters and a life of speaking up for animals, to prove that we don’t need to wear animals. I’ve given everything to develop new materials and construction so that we create something better than using down (live plucked from geese) or wool (factory farmed and then slaughtered often after live export), and work mostly with organic and recycled fibers in the majority of our textiles. We also use local production (currently in NYC’s garment district) to support our city and country. Fashion is not a frivolous self expression--it’s a huge industry that makes a massive impact on those in the supply chain. Together, we can set a new ethical standard in fashion and show the world that each choice we make can impact the world.
HIGH TECH. HIGH FUNCTION. HIGH FASHION.
VAUTE is for anyone in a cold city that wants to be warm, stylish, and protected from the elements.
It doesn’t matter if you eat steak or your other coats are fur, I created VAUTE so that you’ll want to wear one of our coats to feel surprisingly warm, and so pretty, in the coldest cities around the world. VAUTE was inspired by 20 years of Chicago winters, where I was always freezing on a subway platform- oscillating each morning between wearing a hiking coat (not dressy enough, but warm!) or a sweater between a winter dress coat and my outfit (too bulky). After 8 months of starting research in 2008-2009, I figured out that if I combine high-tech materials from mills that work with Patagonia and North Face but with beautiful classic shell fabrics, and in a way that is slim and flattering, we end up with the perfect combination for a winter dress coat that is warm and protective like an athletic winter coat but has the look and feel of a dressy wool coat, and 100% Cruelty-Free, made mostly with recycled and organic fibers, and cut and sewn locally. Customers have said our coats are as warm as their Canada Goose coats, but with 0% of the cruelty, and more affordable. Switch over and 3-4 geese won’t be live plucked for a new coat, and you’ll also be supporting local NYC production.
OUR CUSTOMERS ARE THE BEST MOST WONDERFUL PEOPLE EVER
Since 2009, we've loved you and you've loved us
Whether it’s Oprah or Stacey G. from Quebec, we’ve reached the most amazing people and we’re so grateful. 36% of the ethical outerwear market prefer vegan alternatives (that’s a $536M market!) and 44% prefer responsible brands. Luckily, we’re both. It’s so fun to start a category that just grows and grows. Thank you for being a part of this with us!
Bootstrapped for 6 years.
From 2009 to 2016, we steadily built the company from $68K to $858K in annual sales. We focused on building a world class brand, creating the vegan fashion category, perfecting the product and styles, and building relationships with nonprofit partners. We spent 2014-2016 figuring out the optimal growth strategy to make the biggest impact--and now, we have all the tools to grow even faster.
Return rate (industry standard = 20-40%)
Gross margin (industry standard = 50%)
OUR JOURNEY SO FAR
2017 is set up to be our breakout year, as we raise $1M to focus on our bestsellers and standout offering of Outerwear (80% of sales), and launch our first paid marketing campaign to reach the mainstream market.
Launched Our First Collection
Via pre-orders! This funded our first production run in the bottom of the recession.
Our First Store
We opened our first Flagship in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This expanded our base beyond conscientious consumers, to mainstream walk-ins. .
Our First Angel Round
Raised our first angel round of convertible notes via CircleUp, $4.5M Valuation.
Emphasis on Outerwear
We refocus on our highest potential for growth and impact: Outerwear.
Activism & Textile Innovation
Going seasonal means half the year we can focus on more activism, nonprofit partnerships, and creating inspiring content- showing the world that speaking up and using your life to create change is something everyone can do. We’ll also be focusing on textile innovation and pushing the industry forward with better future fabrics that are animal-free.
WATCH: OUR VISION
VAUTE has created the category of vegan fashion and is the pioneer disruptive label.
Cruelty-Free Fashion 101
Vegan fashion designer Leanne Mai-y Hilgart of VAUTE shares her insider tips for finding animal-friendly clothing and accessories.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT OUR BUSINESS
See how we stack up against our competitors and our plans for expansion.
LET'S SET A NEW STANDARD IN FASHION
Activism is our mission, fashion is our vehicle.
When I was eight, I coordinated my friends to create art that we sold door-to-door to raise money for the local animal shelter. Feels like who you are as a child, before anyone tells you what you’re good at or what would be successful, can be great inspiration for when you grow up!
While modeling in Taipei, I found a book by Deepak Chopra that said—where your talents and skills meet the needs of the world is abundance. I spent the next few years trying to figure out what that was. After a degree in education, modeling contracts in America and Asia, and a free-ride MBA at DePaul University, one hot sweaty typhoon day in Hong Kong while modeling I felt it all make sense- compassionate outerwear- beautiful ethical outerwear. Coats was the thing I wore more of than anything growing up in Chicago with the windiest coldest coat weather which stretched for almost half the year. But I could never find one that was 1. Warm and pretty enough *at the same time* for those stylish days that were also freezing. I was always wearing a sweater layer in between which ruined the look and added too much bulk to be flattering. And being veg since 10 and vegan since 17, all the warmest coats were made of animals. Marrying these two needs, I realized if I could create a winter dress coat that was pretty but warm enough for a Chicago winter, but warmer than wearing wool, I could show the world we don’t need to wear animals.
That summer I quit it all—the MBA, the modeling contracts. I made an impossible deadline of launching that winter (clearly I had no clue what I was doing) and this insane goal kept me moving quickly, until the following summer we launched for pre-orders. In the bottom of the recession, no shops were buying new merchandise or new lines, but a friend posted about my mission to take animals out of the fashion equation and someone asked if they could preorder. Your pre-orders poured in-the first 5 minutes after we went live—and I knew I had found where my life could be used to serve the world and all her gentlest creatures. Activism is my mission, fashion is my vehicle, and we’ve never been able to do this without you.
I hope that one day, with your help, the world will look at wearing animals as a thing of the past.
Leanne Mai Ly Hilgart