Indigenous Fashion and Veganism: Why Vegan Activists are Wrong to Target Indigenous Use of Animals



Indigenous people are distinct populations of people relative to the dominant post-colonial culture of their country. They have their languages, cultures and traditions. These are all influenced by the living relationship they have with their ancestral homeland. They have distinct cultural traditions, some of which are still the custom today. One of their traditions is their use of animals and nature to survive. Indigenous peoples' relationships with animals come from tens of thousands of years of connections to their environments.

Indigenous people utilise animals in many different ways. They are sometimes used to communicate the values and spiritual beliefs of individual tribes and indigenous communities. Indigenous culture also used animals to survive. Animals provide food, protection and even clothing. Indigenous people strive to be respectful of their environment and only use what is needed to survive, never wasting any products of an animal.

Indigenous fashion


Indigenous clothing varies from tribe to tribe, depending on what materials are available to them. Their clothing relies heavily on natural animal products and other natural sources like plant fibres. In their culture, they are very respectful towards nature and the environment around them. They never waste any products and only take what is necessary for survival. When they hunt animals, they will only hunt what is needed. They will use the meat for food and then use other parts for clothing, accessories, tools and more. In many cultures, they have accompanying celebrations and rituals of appreciation for the animals they use.

When it comes to clothing, they use materials like leather, bone, fur and feather. Depending on the seasons, clothing can vary from light leather-like breechcloths to fur-lined coats and boots. A lot of the textiles indigenous people use come from plant fibres and other plant products. They also come from animals, and they use animal skins to make items of clothing and other necessities like blankets.

Many young fashion designers from indigenous tribes use their collections to bring their culture and traditions back into the spotlight. Their brands aim to reclaim their heritage in a time where indigenous people are still invisible. These collections use traditional methods and meaningful elements such as animals and historical government documents. Designers then combine them with techniques such as graphic silkscreen or 3-D printing.

Targeted by vegan act