Vegan clothes, what?
You're a new vegan and you're getting your head around eating without animal products but what is vegan fashion?
Like the food aspect of veganism, it's any material that didn't come from an animal. A lot of what you already wear is probably vegan so no need to panic.
The main materials that aren't vegan are:
Animal leather, suede, wool, Mohair fleece, angora, pashmina, cashmere, shearling, silk, down, all animal skins.
It might seem overwhelming at first because you love your leather shoes or wool jumper and don't want to throw out half your wardrobe. Don't stress and make this the reason for not being vegan. Just so you know, lots of vegans don't throw out their animal clothing straight away but do make the conscious decision from now on not to buy any new clothes or shoes that come from animals.
The key is to make decisions based on what is sustainable for you to continue a vegan lifestyle from now on.
Materials that are vegan include:
For a more exhaustive list of vegan and nonvegan fabrics, materials, and textiles check out The Compassionate Closet.
And to save you googling "vegan clothes", we've put together a list of vegan apparel stores and a list of vegan shoe companies for you on our resources page.
A big part of being vegan is becoming more aware of the impact our society and we have on other animals and the environment we share with them. Just like our vegan food choices can help the environment, so can our vegan fashion choices. Livekindly looks at the study that found '3 of the 4 worst materials for the environment, per kilogram, are derived from animals'.
Thankfully there are more and more ethical, sustainable and cruelty-free fashion businesses emerging to make it easier to make kinder choices. And there is a movement in the fashion world to become more ethical and environmentally friendly. But at the moment you might find some ethical brands more expensive compared to big high street chains, sadly because many big chains employ child or near slave labor to make their clothes and source materials in the most destructive way, which means there is a high price to pay in other ways.
Joshua Katcher (Ethical fashion teacher and founder of Brave GentleMan) offers some advice:
"Ethical fashion is expensive, that’s why I recommend finding a brand or two you believe in, saving up for one or two things, and buying the remainder of your clothes vintage or second-hand."
Thank you for making kinder choices.
For more insight into the true cost of fashion check out the film:
The True Cost
(It's also on Netflix)