The Lovely Things is a vegan, cruelty-free and eco-conscious brand based in London, founded by me, Monica.
How it started - A while back I came across some documentaries about the meat and leather industry, I was horrified by some of the facts that I learned and did not want to continue to help perpetuate animal cruelty so I decided to make a change in my life by adopting a vegan lifestyle.
As I was looking into alternatives for leather handbags and shoes, I realised that many people are also unaware of the cruelty behind leather products and also it's not always easy to find good alternatives in the UK as many of the ethical fashion businesses are based in another country. This is what inspired me to create a brand that offers timeless and easy to wear cruelty-free accessories because handbags and wallets are items that most people use daily, and carrying a cruelty-free piece is a reminder that we can choose kindness everyday.
How has the brand evolved? - The brand has changed quite a lot (in a positive way) over the years. When it first started I was sourcing leather-free products for the business without much knowledge of the impact the products had on the planet. However, when I learned that most vegan leathers are made from PVC or PU (petroleum-based plastic that takes hundreds of years to break down and causes harm to the environment), I realised I had to do better in order to help make a positive change in the world. I then moved on to getting my own designs manufactured in small batches with better materials at an ethical factory, and later on started exploring innovative and sustainable plant-based leather alternatives such as cork (made from tree bark), Piñatex (made from pineapple leaf fibres) and Malai (made from coconut water waste and natural fibres) which eventually became the core materials in my collections.
What is the brand focusing on now? - The brand was relaunched in 2020 with a focus on sustainable plant-based materials and handmade to order items to avoid over production and to reduce waste. I studied fashion design and had always enjoyed designing and creating so it was exciting to pick it up again after spending a decade of my career on the digital side of the fashion industry.
In 2019, my partner and I moved to Hong Kong with plans to explore Asia and the vegan communities there. I was determined to introduce these innovative and sustainable materials to Asia, and expand the market for cruelty-free accessories so I was actively involved in markets, events, pop-ups and workshops. After a couple of years in Asia, we moved back to my home city, London to continue my mission with The Lovely Things which is to promote sustainable vegan fashion and encourage more people to shop ethically and consciously.