We are proud to be a PETA-Approved Vegan company, but we know we can’t sit on our laurels. Being vegan is not enough. Out of the many vegan leathers available, we’re determined to use not only the best material for our products, but also for the environment.
As we endeavor to avoid using animal-based products, we are aware that we often turn to synthetic materials, such as polyurethane, polyester, synthetic rubber, recycled ABS, PVC, TPU, EVA, polystyrene, nylon and poly-viscose, which have their own environmental impacts. To maintain the delicate blend of being vegan and environmentally responsible, HEXA is investigating offset strategies so that we will achieve a neutral to positive impact with every item produced.
In addition to offsetting, we are also always on the lookout for new innovations in sustainable materials and manufacturing methods that we can apply to our supply chain to reduce our environmental footprint immediately. This includes constantly reassessing everything from packaging to logistics, not just manufacturing.
Our dedication to responsible excellence includes elevating local communities. So, we ensure that every supplier, factory, and other service provider we partner with treat their employees with respect and provide safe conditions and fair wages. We cannot claim our products are cruelty-free if our workers are not treated fairly.
We believe that environmental responsibility is all-encompassing and that everyone must play their part. And we are fully dedicated to ensuring HEXA is part of the solution, every step of the way.
Sy Mahatthanarak grew up surrounded by her family’s tradition of leather bag manufacturing. After 30 years of producing high-quality leather bags for well-known international brands, Sy decided to venture out with her own brand focussing on fashion and lifestyle that is kind and fair to all living beings.
Lisa McKeithen leveraged her love of accessorizing into a career of more than 25 years in US and European footwear design, development, and marketing. She has travelled around the world discovering techniques and materials to satisfy her obsession for beautiful shoes that are comfortable and durable. Lisa now wants to blend what she discovered on her travels with the skills she honed at the best comfort shoe brands in the world.
INTERVIEW with BEKIND Magazine
Q. Why do you think so many consumers are now seeking vegan fashion alternatives?
I think the media definitely plays the biggest role in making people aware of what actually happens inside the slaughter houses. On a grand scale, more and more people are horrified watching documentaries or short video clips, seeing facebook and IG posts about animal cruelty. I think we are undoubtedly being forced to learn and become aware of this matter. And with that, some people start to become interested in finding out what they can do to help make things better. So they start with sharing about it on social medis, becoming more aware of their diet and change it, and slowly transitioning themselves into living a conscious lifestyle - vegan fashion is definitely part of the journey.
Q. Do you think High Street and mainstream fashion brands need to take more ethical responsibility over the type of fabrics they use to produce their products?
I think the time will come when the whole fashion industry is fully aware of what really happens in the whole manufacturing process. However, it is entirely up to designers’ personal believes and their creative pursue whether they will continue using certain materials or not.
Most man-made vegan alternative material is not eco-friendly and there’s very very few materials out there right now that arevegan and also eco-friendly for designers to use. The ones that are available, either have to be bought in very high minimum quantity that young brands/designers cannot afford, or they come in limited colors selection that does not allow designers’ creativity to play out fully.
We also need to look at the durability of the material aspect. With high fashion, people expect their purchase to last a lifetime as it is an investment piece. So, these brands will not be able to use new vegan/eco-friendly materials if they are unsure whether the fabric will become torn apart from a couple wear/usage. At the end of the day, what’s more earth-friendly is for us to not produce more waste to the planet. So I completely understand everyone in that sense.
And you know, choosing non-animal materials is not enough, making sure the entire production process is ethical, fully transparent (free of child labor and unpaid workers) is also another responsibility we need to look into.
But the most important question is actually whether consumers prepared to pay for the higher price? If the answer is no, then this whole ethical, sustainable, vegan initiatives are not going to be well-embraced because brands cannot make enough money to survive.
Q. Can you give me three examples of vegan alternative materials?
To give you a big overview, the options are either man-made materials or plant-based materials.
Man-made materials can be categorized as (a) synthetic fibres which are made from chemicals and derived from fossil fuels such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, polyolefin or (b) artificial fibres which are made from plant cellulose or regenerated from natural resources like wood or cotton linters.
As for plant-based materials, there are for example linen (excluding the linen silk), cotton (but also use massive water in production), organic cotton, bamboo, Ramie, jute, hemp, mushroom, fruit-derived such as pineapple, etc.
Oh and I forgot the recycled and upcycled materials such as recycled plastic, recycled rubber, recycled car tires, upcycled materials from previous usage.
Q. How have you seen the vegan fashion industry grow since you began HEXA?
I believe the future is moving into this direction. This is just the start. Funny enough I began HEXA 2 years ago with a determination to not use genuine leather coming out of a family’s leather bag business. I don’t think anybody cared at all back then. Leather was the ultimate luxury item, be it cow, snake, crocodile, ostrich, etc. There was no question about it. I think I was questioned by many people that HEXA has any future at all. (Haha)
Right now more and more people are talking about whether it’s the right thing to buy a bag made from crocodile skin and starting to feel ashamed carrying it around. And with the rise of PETA and their effective hidden cameras footage, people are willing to change their diet. These people obviously do not wish to promote or be associated with animal-derived products or services. The vegan fashion industry has a long way to grow.
Q. What do you predict for the future of the vegan fashion?
People will become aware. But as always, the world is not going to be polarized into white and black. There will be people who still enjoy leather-based items 100% and there will be people who have mixed items in their closets, and there will be people who are loyal to non-animal based products. The fashion industry will cater to all those markets. And I believe people have the rights to buy, eat, live the way they want to.
Q. What materials do HEXA make their fashion pieces from?
Our thing is that we go with materials that are flexible as we make shoes and that’s very important. It has to be durable, also very important and at affordable price points. So, we now have a mix of low toxic microfiber, jute, recycled canvas, recycled foam, recycled rubber.
Q. What are some of your most popular items?
Definitely all the low and high heels. :)