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With the imminent arrival of November on the horizon, (now celebrated worldwide as vegan month), we thought it was the right time to focus on the rise of ethical vegan practices in our homes. As a house proud bunch at Maker&Son, we are constantly seeking to look beyond the aesthetics and look at the wider ethics of furniture design today.
Whether you opt for a fully vegan lifestyle, are in the process of switching up your diet or are simply beginning to explore the term, it’s a smart move to be educated about the products that you use in your home. From cleaning products to furniture, as a society, we’re wanting more say in how our products are made. Using only the finest, natural, ethical fabrics here at Maker&Son, we can offer full transparency regarding our process. Offering you peace of mind as well as comfort, so you can truly relax in your home.
Vegan design products are due to become as popular as vegan food next year, design bible Dezeen reports, and we’re noticing a shift in demand due to a wider knowledge of ethical and sustainable practices. In 2020 we are no longer happy with big supply chains, the well-needed change has begun with a focus on well-made, quality designs with longevity - an ethos Maker & Son has championed from the start.
The terms ‘vegan’ and ‘natural’ do not need to be mutually exclusive. By gaining an awareness of the process and materials used in all of your products, you can ensure you opt for the most cruelty-free, ethical options that are available to suit you. As obvious as the term vegan furniture may sound, it’s not just all about avoiding leather. Silk and wool fabrics, animal products (and materials tested on animals) can find their way into all kinds of components, glue for instance and most paint products use milk proteins to bind the formula together.
Here at Maker&Son, we are conscious of using all-natural products when bringing our designs to life, such as linen, cotton, and quality innovative materials. We can guarantee we will never use plastics, polyurethane foams or velcro and have not since the very beginning. We’re thrilled to announce that we are currently in the process of developing a line of fully vegan furniture, due to launch soon. Very exciting times! At Maker&Son, we’re doing vegan differently, combining 100% animal derivative free products with a natural, environmentally aware focus. You heard it here first! Much like before there will be no wastage in our manufacturing process and each piece of your furniture is guaranteed as 100% sustainable. Naturally, we felt this was the only way to grow and develop our much-loved furniture, opening the conversation to you and homes around the world.
To shed some further light on the plans for our Vegan Range we decided to have a Q&A session with our Content and Product Manager, Wilson Astley.
Q: Could you tell us a little about your design background, who you've worked with and where you studied?
A: I studied at Central Saint Martins. I have had a pretty diverse design background. I started working with the hyper minimalist homeware designer Torsten Neeland. From there I went to work with Fredrikson Stallard, who is almost the complete opposite, working on the cusp where the design starts to spill over into art. They are very flamboyant, high concept, and really like to question what design is. Previous to working at Maker&Son I worked at Tiipoi, and Indian homeware design brand inspired by the Indian home. I worked in Bangalore in the south of India, but also extensively traveled around the country to understand what design means in India, and how their (design) culture differs from other countries. I worked with an eclectic mix of very small scale craftspeople, all the way to huge industrial manufacturers. I loved the job and loved learning about a design culture that totally blew everything that I thought I knew about design, out of the water
Q: When did you become vegan and why?
A: I became vegan about 18 months ago. I have, however, been vegetarian for about 15 years, so the transition was slightly easier than going from full omnivore to straight edge. I became vegan purely for personal reasons. I personally didn't really feel like I could justify the death of animals just so I could have a nice meal. Nice meals are totally possible without having to kill something. I am not necessarily disgusted by the idea of dairy, however, the farming processes that are involved in its production result in a lot of harm and death to animals. When I learned how damaging intensive farming was both to the animals, and to the environment, I could no longer justify eating a cheese toastie no matter how lovely it might taste.
Q: What are your thoughts on vegan furniture as it stands?
A: I think vegan furniture has a long long way to go. As with lots of design conundrums as soon as you solve one problem, and equal or greater problem rears its. For example, vegan furniture is presently is far too reliant on plastics and synthetic material. It may reduce the impact on animal products, but it is merely shifting the impact on the environment instead! Also, emotionally, vegan furniture is being forced to shift the perception of what comfort means. It is at present nowhere near achieving the comfort levels provided by non-vegan, natural alternatives. Why shouldn't vegans be comfortable? I admire anyone who is trying to achieve this, however, there is still a long long way to go.
Q: What materials are you looking at for the creation of the vegan sofa?
A: Not to sound too self-important, but a lot of what I am working on has not been used in cushions in this way before. You will have to break into my lab in the dead of night to find that out! There are all sorts of weird and wonderful materials and new technologies lying around. What I will say is the real challenge is to develop a cushion that is not only vegan but 100% natural. For me, this is really important. It isn't just shifting the harmful impact of a product elsewhere, into another sector. It is hopefully going to be a solution.
Q: When do you think the range will be ready?
A: We are really hoping to have a lot of the development finished soon, and hopefully have some exciting announcements for November in time for International Vegan Month. We are very excited to be moving in this direction. I really believe that in the future, we will all be sitting on very comfortable, very natural, very vegan sofas!
If you would like to ask us any questions regarding our construction process, use of materials or upcoming vegan range, please feel free to contact us. Please pick up the phone and talk to us — we love to hear about what is important to our customers.