founder & creator

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

Some background - I've been an animal activist since I was 8 -- vegan 23 years, at 16 I fought for dissection alternatives in my high school which helped a bill turn law in IL requiring alternatives for all students. I was always the artist in the class - when everyone stopped being my friend for what a weird animal rights recycling girl alien I was I luckily had art and music. I've always loved creating, in the basement in my EZ bake oven. One of the purest joys of my life is creating something from nothing.

Fast forward to 2008, I was modeling in Hong Kong and getting my MBA and realized I could speak up for animals through fashion - there are billions of sheep and geese suffering terrible lives for outerwear, and everyone thought it was okay because they aren't killed directly for the clothing. But in fact their lives are endless exploitation and they are killed in the end anyway. I knew I could combine my love for creating, animal rights, my training in business, and in fashion marketing from modeling - into a way to speak up for animals and create a better option than wearing them. I ran VAUTE for 13 years - in that time I found a sense of belonging with other weirdos who love animals and the Earth as much as me.

And we accomplished a lot!

Together we:

  • SAVED about 44,000 geese (from being plucked for their down)
  • SAVED about 3,000 Sheep (from being factory farmed for their wool)
  • RECYCLED approx. 265,000 plastic bottles
  • SUPPORTED hundreds of local NYC (and Chicago) artisans
  • DRESSED tens of thousands of the most brilliant wonderful customers

and now we are here!

Extremely small number of pieces we can make each month, and per style - designs that are high on ART and sourcing unique sustainable materials (amplifying my favorite parts of running a business), supporting inspiring women and artists, that speaks up for animals, creates LESS waste in the world, celebrates love, and speaks up for the animals.

Meet the artists here I work with, and who made many beautiful things here.