Jessica and I had an interesting debate that we wanted to share with all you and hear your respective sides of the argument. I was browsing vegan shoes online one day looking for some basic flats. I went on to Stella McCartney’s website, remembering that she is vegan and makes vegan shoes, which by the way, I think is awesome. I expected that they would be priced accordingly, maintaining a designer status price tag, somewhere in the $100-$200 range. Boy was I shocked when I saw this Stella McCartney faux snakeskin flat for $535!
The debate was this…
Bridget: I was outraged that a fellow vegan would exploit her position of power by gouging customers out of $535 for making an ethical statement with their shoes. I felt that it lacked accessibility, which I think is the key to making a difference, as most people on this planet cannot spend $535 on shoes.
Jessica: I don’t think that just because she makes vegan products means that they should be inherently affordable to everyone or ethical in every sense. She is a big name designer, and as such, her products have a big name designer price tag, regardless of the materials they’re made of. I think it’s great that vegan items are being introduced in the high fashion market, where the idea of veganism will be spread in a community of designer item consumers, who ultimately have influence on other mass markets. For example, we often see big name designs copycatted by mainstream lines, and perhaps that means that this is a starting point for stylish (read: non-stereotypical-hippie-wear) vegan fashions to hit the mainstream. Also, consumers of luxury products also have more spending power, and in the free market, people vote with their $$ and ultimately influence the popularity of certain items.
What do you guys think?