Most of us are familiar with the general guidelines of a vegan diet, but how many of us get slightly confused by the term “vegan fashion?” If this sounds like you, don’t worry; you’re not alone!
The reason behind all the confusion is that people aren’t really aware that fashion could be non-vegan in the first place. When we think about our closet, we usually wouldn’t associate our jacket with an animal in the same way we would with a steak.
Despite popular belief, vegan fashion is not as complicated as it sounds! So that you can find out for yourself, we’ve pulled together a few characteristics about vegan fashion and break down everything that it really means.
What Does “Vegan Fashion” Mean?
Essentially, vegan fashion has the same meaning as a vegan diet, in the sense that the clothes you’re choosing from were not made from any animal products. Before you start to think it’s as simple as saying no to obvious animal-derived clothing, like a fur coat, it’s a little trickier than that.
A few common fabrics made from animal products include silk, wool, cashmere, suede, and alpaca. These fabrics are often advertised as luxurious, but they actually just exploit many species of animals. HEALabel created an incredible list of non-vegan materials to avoid with some vegan alternatives, which helps understand the difference between the two.
Environmental Impact of Vegan FashionFor starters, studies have shown that it’s up to 10x more harmful to produce animal-derived clothing than it is to produce faux material. The reason is that animals raised for clothing take up large amounts of land, water, and other essential resources.
Additionally, animal skin needs to be drenched in toxic chemicals that pollute the environment, all for the sake of preserving a garment. The Pulse of the Fashion Industry report found that three of the four most environmentally threatening materials are animal-derived.
Ethical Impact of Vegan Fashion
As if the environmental damage of non-vegan fashion isn’t enough, we also have to mention the industry’s ethics or lack of ethics. Vegan materials and sustainability go hand-in-hand as they both support ethical business and consumerism.
We know from first-hand experience that quality clothing doesn’t need to include any animal’s exploitation or suffering. It's very difficult to know if animals like sheep and alpaca are raised ethically (industrial animal farming is often cruel), and the ethics of raising animals for slaughter are fairly self-explanatory.
The main reason you should support vegan fashion is pretty obvious, simply because it’s the most ethical way to shop, but as you can see, there’s a little more to it. At this point, we can’t afford to continue unsustainable practices, which makes vegan materials a no-brainer.
As PETA likes to say, non-vegan fashion is mean, not green. On your journey towards being the most conscious consumer you can be, do your best to choose vegan, ethical, and sustainably sourced products to fill your wardrobe!