Vegan fashion brand ‘Mohop’ to launch new store at West Town this spring

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-03-05 11:48:24 – USA

In West Town, this spring a store is being launched by Rockford-based Mohop, a vegan fashion company. The store will offer its customers a chance to design their own handbags, shoes, home goods, pet accessories, jewelry, and other items on-site. The store will be replacing Matthew Rachman Gallery and is located in FAB LAB at 1659 W. Chicago Ave.

Annie Mohaupt, Founder said that the mission of Mohop is to bring fashion production back to the United States while using vegan materials. Mohop was co-founded by Mohaupt who is an architect by trade along with her partner Justin Walker. In place of leather for bags and shoe straps, Mohop uses 100% vegan materials like high-end nylon for bags and shoe straps.

Both the founders  grew up on a sheep farm outside Rockford and share a love of nature and a “DIY spirit.” Many of the product materials that they use, including the wood for shoe soles, are sourced directly from the Midwest.

Although the vast majority of fashion is produced abroad, Mohaupt said that in the future she sees a trend toward more “compassionate consumerism.” She added that fashion is a very labor-intensive process, and labor is cheaper abroad. But for cheap labor, people, animals, and the planet, all are exploited. On multiple levels, it is not sustainable. They are starting to see a trend toward a new way of doing things.

Eco-friendly fashion was trending when in 2005, Mohaupt began making shoes in her Logan Square basement. Even being a small business her business received national publicity because she was a rare vegan shoemaker. As the business grew, they opened 3 manufacturing spaces throughout Chicago. While running their West Town store, later on by the end of 2017, they moved to Rockford. 

The coronavirus pandemic gave them an opportunity to pivot their business model while helping the Rockford community. They paused the shoe and handbag production and began to produce supplies to create cloth face masks with the help of local crafters.

Due to the central location and small-business-centric community, they opted for West Town after considering multiple locations. Until the launch of the new store, Mohop products can be purchased online or at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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