While most animals exploited by humans are those raised, bred and killed for food, there are many others who suffer in the production of clothing, shoes, etc. In this guest article, Krystal Camilleri shares her views on how vegan fashion is helping us move towards a vegan world.
Veganism extends far beyond just food choices; it has become an entire lifestyle that promotes sustainability and cruelty-free living. Embracing veganism alters all the aspects of a consumer's lifestyle and hence, their buying habits. Fashion retailers have taken these behavioral changes of consumers into account and are tending to their clothing wants, as food no longer remains the sole focus of veganism. Many fabrics and materials such as wool, fur, leather and silk are to be avoided completely under veganism and so alternatives need to be found. Let's see how veganism is bringing compassion in fashion.
What is vegan fashion?
First, we need to understand what vegan fashion entails. Vegan fashion includes clothing, accessories, bags and shoes made from cruelty-free sources. This means that no animals were harmed or tortured in manufacturing these items. Veganism also entails protecting the environment and humans. This means avoiding all those conventional materials that are produced using harmful and toxic chemicals that have adverse effects on humans and as well as the environment. Vegan slogan t-shirts are becoming increasingly popular, reflecting how veganism is expanding.
Why opt for vegan fashion?
For most people, going vegan seems like the best way to save the planet. Considering the current environmental conditions, the rapid extinction of animals and the widespread diseases, embracing veganism is probably a good idea. Vegan fashion entails clothing materials such as organic cotton, linen, pineapple leather, etc. All these materials are not only cruelty-free but are also biodegradable, recyclable and sustainable. In addition to this, no animals are harmed during the production of these fabrics. Vegan clothing seems like a start, doesn't it?
Here is how the conventional fashion industry functions and how leaning towards veganism is transforming the clothing industry:
Leather is produced using cattle hides (skin of the animals). After animals are slaughtered in the slaughterhouse for their meat, their skin is transported to the leather factor. Other cattle who aren't fit for human consumption are left to die without the basic necessities and are eventually killed for their hides. Young animals such as calves and lambs are often slaughtered to gain "high quality" leather. Other animals such as pigs, horses and alligators are also killed for their skins. Leather production also entails a lot of highly toxic chemicals.
Veganism despises these brutal killings and offers a sustainable leather alternative. The alternatives include pineapple leather, cork leather and kombucha leather. These leather types are manufactured using highly sustainable sources. For instance, pineapple leather is gained from the leaves that are left over after fruit farming, and cork leather is produced from cork bark. These sustainable, vegan options can be used to make jackets, footwear and bags without harming animals.
The conventional way of producing silk is from caterpillars of the silk moth that spin silk strands for the formation of a cocoon. A caterpillar can produce around 1.5 km of thread. In order to retain an entire unbroken silk thread, the cocoons are boiled, baked or steamed. This process results in the death of the caterpillar. Billions of cocoons are harvested, resulting in the brutal death of these insects.
Veganism promotes the usage of soy silk, which is produced from soy residues after the production of tofu. No animals or insects are harmed in the production of this it is also chemical-free.
Those of you who may believe sheep aren't harmed during wool extraction are wrong. Sheep are specially bred so that they produce excessive wool. The fleece of the sheep is removed as quickly as possible, increasing the frequency of injuries. A few weeks after birth, lambs undergo painful mutilations without anesthesia - this also leads to parasite infestations. When sheep no longer produce wool, they are loaded in trucks and transported to slaughterhouses. Even though this process can be made much easier and humane, the capitalist industry doesn't try to do so.
Veganism provides alternatives to the feel and touch of wool to reduce the consumption of wool gained through this brutality. Other vegan clothing options are organic cotton, linen, hemp or nullarbor.
Fur is the oldest material used for clothing. It is extracted from furry animals such as rabbits, foxes, minks and even hamsters. These animals are raised on farms where they remain locked in wire cages without access to any clean water or food. They usually go insane. To keep the pelts intact, many farmers resort to extreme slaughtering methods such as poison or electrocution. Many hunters even trap wild animals and put them through excruciating pain.
Wearing fur is not consistent with veganism because of the pain and suffering that the animals have to go through. There are alternatives to fur that are synthetic. Even though they might not be very environmentally friendly, ways can be found to minimize the environmental impact.
The increasing popularity of sustainability has lead consumers to put all the aspects of their buying choices under the microscope. The growing demand for vegan-friendly products is very evident as more and more companies are opening up to cater to this demand. It may be a minimalist lifestyle, but that doesn't mean you can't dress up or make your own fashion choices. Veganism just means that you should choose environmentally friendly and cruelty free items for your wardrobe.
About the author
Like most vegans, Vegan Scout founder Krystal Camilleri has an intense desire to empower humans to embrace a vegan lifestyle and create a cruelty free, sustainable future. While living in North Queensland, Australia (aka Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest territory), and operating a boutique marketing agency, Krystal set out to develop a brand with a purpose. Vegan Scout has a wide range of vegan women's clothings as well as men's clothing. It is a brand that is kind to the planet, supports her values and has the potential to accelerate one of the most important social justice and environmental movements of our time - veganism. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the products we buy and the businesses we support, every choice we make is a statement.
If you would like to keep up to date with this and other topics, sign up to our newsletter.