Business & Real Estate

Will ‘vegan fur’ be the next hot fashion trend? Tahoe man Kickstarts jacket business

Growing up around Lake Tahoe, Jordan Laub saw what he described as humans’ overdevelopment and encroachment into the natural habitat of wildlife.

So when he decided to start an apparel company — Velu, which translates to “furry” in French — he decided to do something different.

“Real fur is the overpriced participation trophy of fashion,” Laub said. “It’s dated. It’s not necessary. ”

His new “vegan fur” jackets are made from recycled plastics, use materials never tested on animals and were designed with attendees of music festivals in mind, he said.

Earlier this month, Velu exceeded a $10,000 goal on Kickstarter, raising close to $11,000 to fund the business.

Aside from being dyed in a variety of bold colors like neon purple and electric blue, Velu’s jackets are also unique in their presentation.

For starters, they come packaged in clear plastic backpacks, which are not only easier to get through festival security, Laub said, they are also an alternative to single-use packaging, in line with his vision of sustainability and ecological preservation.

Plus, audio-sensitive lights on the backpack turn on when exposed to potentially hearing loss-inducing decibel levels, he said, keeping festival-goers mindful of potential hazards.

The jackets themselves, priced around $250, Laub said, are fully reversible and can be disassembled into various parts via interlocking zippers. The sleeves can be removed, turning the jacket into a vest, but the sleeves themselves can also be used as boot covers and wrist locks.

Laub started running Velu by going from festival to festival with pop-up shops, but demand for his product has exploded.

In his first year in business, Laub said he made about 1,000 sales. But he recently made 1,000 sales in just three days at EDC in Las Vegas, he said.

Velu has been struggling to keep up with demand, and although its online shop was temporarily down, Laub said he expects it to return by Aug. 1.

Although the primary demographic is festival-goers, Laub said Velu’s jackets also appeal to skiiers, snowboarders and the urban night life scene as well.

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