This mini-guide to vegan style and fashion has something for everyone, whether you’re already vegan full-time or part-time (like me! ), are considering switching to a plant-based diet and lifestyle, or are intrigued because you heard about “veganuary.”
As you know, I purchase most of my clothing secondhand, especially wool and leather items, which I would always recommend. However, if you’re tired of wearing animal fur and skins, there are already excellent and promising alternatives.
I recommend subscribing to the Slow Fashion Weekly email if you’re interested in the plant-based lifestyle and want access to actionable insights and suggestions. I give original advice and thoughts (both my own and those of others) on this issue every week.
Clothes not created entirely or in part from animal-derived materials, such as
- Wools (cashmere, angora, merinos, mohair, vicuna, alpaca, llama) (cashmere, angora, merinos, mohair, vicuna, alpaca, llama)
- Leather, suede, and anything whose name ends in the skin (sheepskin, lambskin, snakeskin, calfskin, etc.)
- Furs (mink, muskrat, fox, sable, beaver, karakul, raccoon, mole, marten, weasel, rabbit, coney, rex, lapin, seal, astrakhan, chinchilla, ermine) (mink, muskrat, fox, sable, beaver, karakul, raccoon, mole, marten, weasel, rabbit, coney, rex, lapin, seal, astrakhan, chinchilla, ermine).
- Pearls, feathers, horns, teeth, bones, and teeth are examples of the following: (notably found in jewelry and embellishments)
- Dawn (often used as a thickening in puffer parkas) (frequently used as a thickener in puffer parkas)
- Silk (made by boiling silkworms) (produced by boiling silkworms)
Always carefully read labels. A piece may contain as little as 5% animal components, rendering it immediately non-vegan.
Why is it harmful to utilize animals in fashion?
This is such a broad topic that I cannot possibly go into detail. This is what I came up with to summarize it. However, there is much more to say:
The enormous volume of clothing produced annually on a global scale leads to the overexploitation of species whose skins and furs are in high demand by the fashion industry. For example, the mass manufacture of coats, sweaters, and fleece exerts pressure on wool and fur producers who disregard animal welfare and the environment to meet the vast demand.
Animal agriculture is the primary cause of countless environmental catastrophes and a significant contributor to the Climate Crisis. Animal-based fashion items are not a “by-product” of the meat business, contrary to what certain brands may claim. Skins are always a “co-product” that is sold and processed into leather items for profit, not to reduce waste. They have equal or more value than meat.
Wool, leather, and fur are responsible for their own degradation and contamination, which groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have extensively documented in recent years by groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). These highly detailed factsheets contain further information and horrifying examples of the effects of each sector.
Is vegan fashion completely moral?
Vegan fashion does not necessarily imply that the item was produced ethically and under safe conditions for garment workers. There is still a pick-and-choose approach to veganism among brands, with some firms prohibiting fur yet retaining leather and other skins in their collections.
Several tonnes of brand-new clothing are dumped annually, and thrift stores are flooded with contributions. To be more sustainable, discarding your non-vegan clothing is one of the minor sustainable things you can do.
Instead, wear and respect the garments you’ve spent time and money acquiring. Differentiate how you wear your leather skirts and wool sweaters, and take care of them, so they last.
Which materials for clothing are vegan?
There are generally three categories of possibilities to consider. There are plant-based materials, synthetic materials, and a third group that I refer to as “new innovative materials,” which is expanding but is not yet economically prevalent.
The flax plant’s woody stems are utilized to produce linen. The durability of a material relies on how much it has been dyed or bleached. Also comparable are hemp and ramie.
Cotton and denim are unsustainable materials because they require enormous quantities of water. Choose organic if you wish to limit your environmental effect.
The cellulose-based textiles are bamboo, rayon, cupro, and viscose. Their sustainability is dependent on where and how they are harvested and handled.
Tencel by Lenzing AG (sometimes known as Lyocell or Modal) is comparable to viscose (i.e., made of wood pulp extract). It is manufactured and is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics on the market.
Also: jute, raffia, acetate.
Some of the materials are more environmentally friendly than others. Cotton, for instance, is a particularly thirsty crop and a significant cause of deserts worldwide. Technically, they are all biodegradable. However, it depends on the environmental conditions. Their environmental credibility also depends on the amount of chemical processing and dying they underwent and how they were disposed of.
Typically, the vegan trademark appears on clothing certified by the Vegan Society. Brands pay for this service to have their products independently audited and certified. It is the most common label and is entirely accurate, as it is applied to individual products rather than brands. Many fast fashions, unethical, and non-sustainable brands use the vegan logo, such as New Look, so it is essential to conduct research.
You can also rely on the “PETA-Approved Vegan” label. If you click on this link, you will see a complete list of brands that have earned this certification. There are over a thousand vegan lifestyle brands, including those that sell furniture and home design.
In addition to labor and environmental impact, animal welfare is the third pillar that the app Good on You uses to rank brands from most to least sustainable. If you search their database, you can uncover the most eco-friendly and vegan-friendly brands. The program is free, but it focuses on brands rather than specific products, so it is important to double-check every label.