Vegans don’t only change their diets, they change their lifestyles. Many who decide to become vegan are spurred on by the urge to protect animal rights. This applies to both what they eat and what they buy. Many Vegans and Vegetarians boycott makeup brands who take part in animal testing, such as MAC, Benefit and Urban Decay. This is not just restricted the make-up brands as many fashion brands take part in animal testing also.
"Besides food, clothing and beauty products are the biggest contributors to animal suffering." - The Pretty Planeteer
As veganism rises in popularity, so does the fight against animal cruelty in the fashion industry. Ever since the introduction of Veganuary in 2020, more and more people are committing to a vegan lifestyle. Luckily, the fashion industry seems to have noticed this influx and it is becoming increasingly common to see vegan and animal friendly outfits on the high-end market. For example, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are just a few brands who have decided to stop producing clothes with fur!
Key Materials Used In Vegan Fashion
There are many materials that are being used in the fashion industry that are involved in animal cruelty and suffering. The big offenders are leather, wool, silk and fur. These materials are not only cruel to the animals they come from, but they are also damaging the environment. The farms where these products are taken produce large amounts of greenhouse gases, water pollution and soil degradation. Also, large farms have led to deforestation in some instances, with the ever growing need for more and more. However, there are some animal friendly alternatives that are being used more and more by both high-end and affordable fashion brands. Examples of some amazing vegan materials are:
Denim (100% organic cotton)
Tree-based fabrics: lyocell, viscose, bamboo etc
There are other vegan materials, such as acrylic, polyester and nylon, but their production is also damaging to our environment. They include a lot of micro-plastics that end up polluting the water supply, so they won't be the best vegan or animal-friendly alternatives in the long run.
Another issue that Vegans face is the controversial issue with vegan leather. Some vegan leather is produced out of sustainable sources, such as rubber, wood and cork. Recently, attempts have been made to use sources like apple and pineapple! However, there are some non-sustainable versions of vegan leather that have a dangerous impact on the environment and animal safety. The worst of these types of vegan leather are PVC and PU. Both Greenpeace and PETA have been vocally against the production of PVC leather as it is non-recyclable. Also, toxic chemicals are used in its production, leading to further pollution. PC leather is the better option of the two as it can be recycled, but it still has a damaging impact on the environment.
Fashion Brands to Avoid
A lot of high-end fashion brands have began to introduce more vegan-friendly options, such as Dr. Martens with their vegan leather boots. In fact, many affordable stores like Zara and Topshop (now on Asos) are providing vegan alternatives, even accessories! However, there are some brands that still remain non-vegan friendly and test on animals. Many brands continue to take part in animal testing and use animal materials, such as how Canada Goose still uses coyote fur in their coats. As well as this, they use duck and geese for down feathers, which causes excruciating pain for the birds!
Some examples of high-end fashion brands that aren't vegan friendly include:
Louis Vuitton - Their handbags are predominantly made of leather.
Michael Kors - Although they do offer some vegan alternatives, they often use animal products.
Calvin Klein - Some of their products still use animal products whilst they test on animals.
Best Vegan Fashion Brands
Now that we know what to avoid, lets look at some examples of animal-friendly vegan fashion!
There are some brilliant vegan-friendly fashion brands out there, some with some wacky designs and innovations. For example, ROMBAUT specialises in shoes made out of different materials like stone, bark, coconut fibres etc. Other brilliant brands include:
WAMA Underwear - As they use hemp for their underwear, they have saved c.238,277 days of drinking water!
Loomstate - 100% certified organic cotton garments.
Wawwa - Certified vegan by PETA, 100% organic and climate-neutral.
As well as these, here are some examples of UK vegan fashion brands:
Stella McCartney - A Luxury Brand that is vocal about stopping the use of fur and the use of vegan silk.
Nudie Jeans - Sustainable, vegan-friendly jeans.
Lucy and Yak - Their packaging has recently changed to be 100% recycled too!