pemBy Nicole Rivard/em/ppLeanne Mai-ly Hilgart, creator of a href=”” target=”_blank”Vaute Couture/a, a high fashion vegan clothing label, is hard pressed to pick just one highlight from 2013.nbsp;/ppFirst, she made history by becoming the first independent fashion house with animal-free built into its brand to show a vegan line during New York Fashion Week. As a result, she inspired CNN to do a story about how Vaute Couture is poised to change the fashion industry instead of focusing its piece on fur making a comeback during fashion week. And she impressed emBusiness Insider/em enough that it named Vaute Couture one of the most innovative businesses in New York City./ppThe CNN story garnered 7,000 shares, which is unheard of for a fashion story, Hilgart says.img alt=”” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Leanne%20Audrey%20Web.jpg” style=”width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 8px; float: right;” //ppldquo;I thought I was just going to give the reporter one quote,rdquo; Hilgart told Friends of Animals recently from her flagship store in Brooklyn. nbsp;ldquo;But I didnrsquo;t just say herersquo;s my quote about why I donrsquo;t use fur. I opened up my heart to talk to the reporterhellip;and told her why Irsquo;ve dedicated my life to this. Itrsquo;s not just about fur. Itrsquo;s about animals being treated like cogs in a machine and industries. They arenrsquo;t meant to be in these industries. We industrialized everything, and we forgot to say we should not be including sentient beings in these machines because they arenrsquo;t part of machines.rdquo;/ppHaving a big media outlet like CNN give her a chance to say that vegan fashion wasnrsquo;t simply an alternative, but instead the future of fashion, meant a lot to her. nbsp;However, emBusiness Insider/emrsquo;s recognition meant even more./ppldquo;They didnrsquo;t just say Vaute Couture was one of the most innovative ethical businesses, or vegan businessesmdash; it was of any business in New York City,rdquo; Hilgart said. nbsp;ldquo;emBusiness Insider/em recognized that this is relevant, and itrsquo;s relevant to everyone, because I am innovating in a way that people donrsquo;t need to wear animals againhellip; in a way thatrsquo;s actually better.nbsp;/ppldquo;I have been an animal rights advocate since I was a kid. And it made me an outsider. It made me ignored. People didnrsquo;t want to talk to me. They just didnrsquo;t understand why I cared so much. Forem Business Insider/em to say not only that it was important and innovative but relevant to everyonehellip;for the little girl who went to being super popular to being completely shunned for caring about animals, that was a really big deal to me.rdquo;/ppIn 2008 Hilgart, 31, launched her first Vaute Couture collection of coats made of recyclable and recycled fibers, and produced locally, that were warmer than wool, windproof, snow resistant, rain resistant and heat retaining. Now the collection includes t-shirts, sweatshirts and dresses./ppThe name Vaute Couture is a nod to the French phrase for high fashion with a V for vegan, plus Vaute sounds like vote, Hilgart, says, ldquo;which is what we do when we buy, we vote for everything behind it.rdquo;/ppSix years later, innovation, not fashion, continues to drive her designs. However itrsquo;s hard to ignore the style that Hilgart achieves without even trying. nbsp;/ppCurrently she is busy innovating and nbsp;inventing her 2014 fall/winter collection, which will also include sweaters and evening gowns. In the meantime, Vaute Couture is having an online flash sale for two weeks of favorite styles from this season, including high tech vegan winter dress coats and dresses./ppEach day (the sale started Feb. 4) of the first week there will be 50 percent off a particular style, for 24 hours, from 1 p.m. EST that day till 1 p.m. EST the next day. Just keep an eye on Friends of Animalsrsquo; and Vautersquo;s a href=”” target=”_blank”Facebook /aand a href=”” target=”_blank”Instagram /aif you want to know what#39;s launching when each day. Then the second week of the sale items will be 35 percent off and 10 percent of sales will go to groups that protect animals, including Friends of Animals on Feb. 12. Visitors to the Vaute Couture website, a href=”” , will also be able to donate $25 to FoA to become a member and receive Action Line magazine and then be entered into a raffle for one of Vaute Couturersquo;s dresses.nbsp;/ppLearn more about Hilgart and Vaute Couture in the a href=”” target=”_blank”summer 2014 edition of Action Line/a./ppa href=”” target=”_blank”nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp;nbsp;img alt=”” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Vaute%20Final.png” style=”width: 300px; height: 450px; margin: 8px;” //a/pdivnbsp;/div