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In Time for Fall, Matt & Nat Debuts Vegan Outerwear

Matt & Nat, a Canadian purveyor of luxury vegan bags and shoes, is making a foray into apparel this fall with a new line of cruelty-free outerwear for women.

The six-piece collection, which starts at $190 and tops out at $345, hits all the classic notes, including a zip-front motorcycle jacket, a self-tie faux-wool duster with notched lapels and quilted puffers in both knee-length and cropped versions. The palette is predominantly black, though certain styles also come in camel or olive.

The leather-like pieces are made from 100 percent polyurethane, and the puffer shells comprise 100 percent recycled polyester. For its “wool,” Matt & Nat employs a blend of 93 percent virgin polyester, 5 percent viscose and 2 percent spandex. Like all of Matt & Nat’s carryalls and accessories, garments are lined with 100 percent recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles, a tack the company says has diverted more than 6 million of the containers from landfills every year since 2007.

“Outerwear was a natural choice and the next evolution in expanding our selection of lifestyle accessories” Manny Kohli, president and CEO of Matt & Nat, said in a statement. “We’re so excited to share these new styles with women around the world and complement our already successful line of bags and footwear.

Worldwide, animal-free clothing and footwear is scaling new heights in popularity. Edited, a retail decision platform based in London, New York and San Francisco, reported at the end of January a “significant” 75 percent increase in products described as vegan in the United Kingdom year over year, an 11 percent uptick in the United States (albeit with a larger assortment) and a colossal 131 percent increase in Germany.

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Grand View Research, a consulting company based in California, estimates the global synthetic leather market to expand at a “strong” compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent to hit $45.41 billion by 2025. Polyurethane, it noted, was the largest product category in 2017, and is expected to generate the fastest CAGR over the forecast period.

Cruelty-free products, Grand View Research said, appeal to consumers who are becoming increasingly aware of animal welfare. Critics of vegan leather, on the other hand, point out that the material is still, for the most part, a form of plastic made from fossil fuels and therefore isn’t a more environmentally sound alternative to genuine leather.

One thing not being contested: Vegan shoes are driving this trend. Animal-free footwear currently accounts for 67 percent of the total assortment in the United Kingdom and 58 percent in the United States, making it the top-stocked category described as “vegan” following beauty, Edited has found.