Reading Time: 2 minutes The fabric offers a more sustainable - and kinder - alternative to animal cashmere (Photo: Supplied)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The founder of a dancewear brand has created vegan cashmere – made from vegetables.

Cashmere, which is typically made from goat hair, has hit the headlines over the last year, as high street brands including ASOS have ditched it due to animal cruelty concerns following a major exposé of the industry.

Vegetable cashmere

Now David Lee, a former dancer in the Oakland Ballet Company and founder of dancewear brand KD New York, has created an animal-friendly solution.

His ‘Vegetable Cashmere’ is ‘a proprietary blend developed to address the increased demand for cashmere and the associated environmental costs’.

According to Lee, the vegan alternative ‘matches animal cashmere in softness with superior drape and breathability’. It also has anti-bacterial qualities and is machine-washable without shrinkage.

Developing the fabric

Lee started developing the cashmere by collaborating with a factory experimenting with soy-based yarns. In a bid to replicate the look and feel of animal cashmere, a blend was developed using soy, and a proprietary blend of fibers. The plants used in the material are all certified organic, and the soybean fiber is made from reclaimed byproducts of the organic soy industry, which would otherwise be discarded.

While Lee says no textile can be considered perfectly sustainable, he has created the blend to have minimal impact on the environment. The manufacture requires economical use of energy and water.

In addition, Vegetable Cashmere is also biodegradable — reducing environmental impact throughout each garment’s entire lifecycle.

Lee has launched a Kickstarter campaign as he brings the product to market (Photo: Supplied)

Luxury item

“Cashmere is a luxury item,” Lee said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. “Mass-producing cashmere at a cheap price point is terribly unsustainable and detrimental to animals and the earth.

“I have been working on an Earth and animal-friendly alternative for over five years. We are now ready to roll out our first Vegetable Cashmere athleisure collection through a Kickstarter campaign.”

You can find out more about the Kickstarter campaign, which features KD New York athleisure styles made with Vegetable Cashmere, here

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.