History of Vegan Style

Let's look back on the history of Vegan Style due to the closing of our Fitzroy store, through the eyes of Justin Mead the founder of Vegan Style and Zette. 

How Vegan Style started

It all started during our travels abroad in the mid 2000s, where my partner and I were blown away by the stylish vegan shoes we found – quite a contrast to the struggle of finding similar options back home.

Then in 2010, thanks to an introduction to a Brazilian vegan brand from my sister who was living there at the time, Vegan Style came to life!

We kicked things off in a small way, storing shoes in our spare room and hosting shoe parties at home – those were some fun times. Then as news of these new vegan shoes got around we opened a small shop upstairs (and later moved downstairs as we got more popular) at Las Vegan Bakery on Smith Street. Who remembers them? Oh, how I miss that food!

*Picture from the front of the Las Vegan bakery with our first Vegan Style store inside. Shoes and yummy food :)

Our first Brunswick Street Store

As our little venture grew, so did our dreams. We set up shop on Brunswick Street, discovering even more cruelty-free brands that fit our desire to sell truly 'vegan shoes.' Making sure every brand we stocked was thoroughly checked for vegan credentials, even down to their factories, became our top priority. You can read about the brands we stock in our Journal section.

Vegan Style store
*Picture of the front window from our first store in Brunswick Street.

For us, veganism isn't just about what we eat, it's about making sure animals aren't harmed in any part of life, including fashion.  Our mission - To provide beautiful vegan fashion to the ethical consumer. To demonstrate that cruelty-free fashion can be stylish and attractive. 

The start of our first vegan designer brand

In addition to curating international vegan brands, we took the plunge into creating our own in-house brand, Zette Shoes, named after our beloved feline companion Zette. She's the true CEO of Vegan Style!

Zette cat plus Zette shoes*Picture of Zette, the real CEO of Vegan Style with her first line of Zette Shoes. Dreamed up in Melbourne, Made Fairly in Europe and Brazil.

Our vision for Zette Shoes was clear: to offer bold, sophisticated styles crafted from high-quality vegan leathers by small, family-run factories, where artisans receive fair wages and safe working conditions.

Our passion for animal welfare extends to our furry friends, as we've become proud foster parents to several cats, each lending their name to a shoe in our collection.

Foster cats
*Picture of our foster cats

Introducing vegan school shoes and a move to a bigger store

As Vegan Style continued to flourish, we expanded our presence with a bigger store on Brunswick Street. Responding to customer demand, we introduced Vegan Style clothes and Vegan Style School Shoes, our ethical school shoe collection, offering kinder options for kids or adults as those styles have been very popular with all ages.

*Picture of one of the styles from our Vegan Style school shoe collection.

We dedicated considerable effort into researching and testing various plant-based leathers, beginning with apple and pineapple and then corn leather. We really wanted to provide our community with a diverse range of vegan leather alternatives. We designed our own range of Corn Leather shoes through our in-house vegan designer brand Zette., and after that a luxury line of Zette bags, belts and wallets, and we were finally getting ahead.

Luxury Zette line of bags*Picture of our Zette range of luxury vegan bags and accessories

Pandemic and the Cost of Living crisis

Then the pandemic hit, it was like a sudden curveball that caught us off guard. We faced some tough times, no doubt about it, but we refused to throw in the towel. Alongside running Vegan Style, we work full-time to keep the bills covered and always have.

Our dream was always to transition away from the 9-to-5 grind and focus solely on running the business alongside Zette. However, despite our best efforts, we never quite reached that goal. Now, with the added strain of the Cost of Living Crisis and dwindling foot traffic, we had to make the difficult decision to close our Fitzroy store and transition to online. 

inside Vegan Style store

*Picture inside our third shop at 345 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Vegan Style store outside
 *Picture out the front of of our Vegan Style store at 345 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

We will still be doing some events/markets and we will have appointments at our warehouse for those that like to try on shoes before buying them.

We want to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. You've been the heartbeat of our store, and we're excited to continue this journey with you in a new and exciting way.

Thanks a million for being part of our journey. The cost-of-living crunch might've pushed us out of our shop, but we want to still stand strong. Thank you for your continued support and loyalty.

Note:  We are dedicated to enhancing your online shopping experience. With the closure of our Fitzroy shop, we're redirecting all our resources to ensure your journey with us online is seamless and enjoyable at every step.

 Much love and thank you for all the support


Vegan Style 

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