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This new era of cheap chic and disposable fashion has an unlikely but appreciative customer -- the stylish vegan.

For years, vegans who wanted to stick to a cruelty-free philosophy in both their diet and fashion meant they often had to sacrifice style. Jimmy Choo stilettos don't come in synthetic leathers. Louis Vuitton isn't known for canvas satchels. In fact, only a few high-end designers -- among the best-known, Stella McCartney -- are conscious about not using animal products in the shoes, jackets and handbags they design.

That's a problem for strict vegans, who don't eat anything that's a byproduct of an animal, including meat, fish, eggs or milk. They also try to stay clear of shoes, handbags, jackets and belts made of animal products such as leather, suede, shearling, wool, fur and cashmere.

Now with the rise of cheap chic -- the trendy designer knockoffs that have been driving sales for stores such as Target, H&M and more recently Payless -- there are more options than ever for vegans to find trendy shoes and accessories.
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Vegans say the changes have made sticking to their beliefs easier.

Stephanie Hodges, a 33-year-old vegan from Chapel Hill, said now she often finds a vegan option at most national stores she shops at. "A lot of times you come across something when you're not even looking," she said. "I don't feel like there's anywhere that's mainstream where I can't shop."

Zita Resnais, a 22-year-old from Cary, said her vegan finds these days are typically by accident.

"There are vegan things all over the place," she said "People who want to find them, do. If you're a vegan, you want to go that extra step."

The widest selection of vegan shoes and accessories, however, are found on the Web, local vegans say, including specialty stores such as alternativeoutfitters.com and mooshoes.com, but also at shoe giants such as zappos.com, which has a limited selection of vegan shoes for men, women and children.
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HERE'S WHERE TRIANGLE VEGANS FIND SHOES

STORES

* Payless

* DSW

* Target

* Whole Foods (most stores)

ONLINE

* www.zappos.com

* www.earthshoes.com

* www.alternativeoutfitters.com

* www.mooshoes.com

* www.veganessentials.com

TALK BACK

You shop vegan? Tell us about your latest find. Or let us know if we left out a place you know of. Go to share.triangle.com and post your comment in the vegan fashion forum.


Staff writer Samantha Smith can be reached at 829-4563 or samantha.smith@newsobserver.com.

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full story: http://www.newsobserver.com/105/story/564665.html


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