The products registered by The Vegan Society with its Vegan Trademark – a total of 15,206 in 2020 – includes cosmetics, cleaning products and clothing. And now a new bed from Savoir has also received that animal-friendly stamp of approval. Called No4V, The Reformer (a king-size bed set with box spring, mattress and topper, priced from £ 16,705), is claimed to be the first luxury vegan bed.
“We’ve been getting more and more requests for custom vegan versions of our beds,” says Alistair Hughes, managing director of Savoir Beds, which took the helm at the historic bedmaker in 1997. “At the same time, I started looking at what I eat and the environmental impact of animal-based products, and realized we really need to do something at Savoir.” The brand, which grew out of a commission for the Savoy Hotel in 1905, is known for traditional craftsmanship: it makes less than 1,000 beds each year over its two “bedworks” in West London and Wales, and uses completely natural, chemical-free materials in production.
“In an ordinary Savoir bed we have wool and horsehair; they do a fantastic job in terms of breathing, but they are animal based, ”says Hughes. “The vegan alternatives to wool, for example, are often highly synthetic, made with petrochemicals and therefore bad for our environment. So for us, using foam, for example, would have been a step backwards. This has put us on a path to looking for plant-based alternatives that can mimic the properties of our traditional materials. ”
What Hughes and his team came up with is a combination of organic cotton and flax, bamboo and Tampico – a fiber made from the Agave lechuguilla, a plant unique to the semi-desert areas of northern Mexico. “Both bamboo and Tampico wick moisture and regulate temperature, mimicking what we like about ponytails,” he says. “We actually decided on those main ingredients fairly quickly. But of course we then realized that the devil is in the details. ”
By drilling down the supply chain, looking at every detail of the beds, from screws (which can be lubricated with glycerin-based fabrics) to wood glue, a number of gray areas have been exposed. “When you ask, ‘Can you tell us exactly what’s in it?’ you start to realize you can not get answers, ”Hughes explains. “We’re essentially a small supplier, so it was a case of ‘If you do not want our screws, do not buy them’ – simple as that. We had to find alternatives. ” When Savoir, for example, could not get an adhesive that was guaranteed to be animal product free, he made his own.
But what can the brand’s customers expect from the experience of the new bed? “It felt a little different, there’s no doubt about it,” Hughes says of the mattress, which is on the firmer side. “But for some, it may be the most comfortable they’ve ever tried.”
Like Savoir’s other beds, this design is guaranteed for 10 years as a mattress on a box spring basis. The bamboo-based topper must be changed every five to seven years – in accordance with the horsehair versions – while a range of plant-based materials, such as sea green organic linen by de Le Cuona, are used for the custom upholstery finishes.
But the brand does not stop at one bed – it introduces vegan bedding to its range of accessories, bringing greater traceability and transparency, and will continue to explore plant-based materials. “My view is that we should all consume less animal products,” says Hughes. “But then, I just bought a leather RM Williams, so I’m not going to stop making ponytails. beds only just.”
Savoir Beds Savoir No4V, The Reformer, from £ 16,705