With the demand for more and more vegetarian and vegan options in the food space, it only makes sense that we should apply this to our clothes too, right? Enter the up-and-coming movement of vegan fashion. Some people like to pit vegan fashion and sustainable fashion against each other, but here at Pildora, we see them both as striving to make a positive impact on the planet. If anything, vegan fashion is a sub-movement of sustainable fashion, geared toward those who prefer a plant-based and cruelty-free lifestyle.
Vegan fashion has hit the mainstream in such a big way that it even has its own dedicated fashion week. It might seem strange to you that this is being so hyped, but with billions of animals killed each year for fur, leather, and other exotic luxuries, it’s no surprise that animal lovers (non-vegans included) are looking for vegan options when it comes to fashion. And while you may not be looking to change your entire lifestyle and go vegan in all aspects of your life, it’s good to know that with the growing number of choices out there, it’s a lot easier to find a look that’s both chic and ethical.
If you’re in the market for any of the items we’ve listed here, consider finding a shop that offers cruelty-free alternatives and is also eco-friendly.
Leather: Shoes, purses, backpacks, belts, the list goes on. Not only does this material come from animals, but being a co-product of meat, it’s contributing to the climate crisis. Just think of the massive amounts of land involved in livestock production and the amount of energy required to run the factories. Fortunately, there are some great alternatives out there. The most popular is called Piñatex, which is produced from pineapple by-product. Made from a natural waste product, Piñatex is created with low water use and low production waste, and contains no harmful chemicals or animal products. It’s a hero for animals, and a great choice in terms of both ethics and protecting the environment.
Cashmere: Sweaters, scarfs, socks, etc. Cashmere has been around for ages and is one of the best materials to keep you warm, but did you know that its production has a surprisingly large environmental footprint? Not only that but since it’s an animal fiber, there are cruelty issues around harvesting the wool that have evolved since it began to be mass-produced. A little background on this fiber: It usually comes from cashmere goats or pashmina goats. These goats have a voracious appetite and require lots and lots of water. It takes multiple goats and lots of time to create usable cashmere. In fact, it takes four goats a full year to produce enough cashmere for just one adult sweater. Vegan alternatives include organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo (just remember to steer away from rayon, a highly chemical-intensive bamboo-derived material), all of which are great to replace wool, taking out the need for animals and nasty plastics too.
Fur: Enough said. Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals on fur factory farms. These factories are undoubtedly pretty heinous when considering animal treatment, particularly in developing nations like China, where most fur factories are located. There is also a common misconception that fur is more “natural” and, therefore, greener. However, once the animal is slaughtered, chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and other chromates and bleaching agents are used to preserve and dye the fur. But fear not, faux fur is out there and can give you the look you desire without the pain created by the real fur industry. Recent studies have even shown that it’s up to 10 times more harmful to the environment to produce a garment made out of animal fur than it is to produce one made out of faux fur. No animals harmed plus a lower footprint is a win-win.
It might be worth considering taking a deeper look at the fashion industry’s treatment of animals and whether you have the option to go vegan. With technology improving every day and the industry finally taking note of its impact, going vegan won’t compromise your style or budget and to that, we and our furry friends say cheers.