Like we’ve said before, being vegan isn’t just about making ethical food choices; it is something that can and ideally should permeate all aspects of life. The way we live, the way we travel, the way we dress the way we work… all these need to be done more responsibly and in a way that doesn’t hurt or impinge upon the rights of other creatures on earth.
What is vegan clothing?
Vegan clothing is made ethically and while recognizing that animals need not be treated cruelly or be made to suffer for human vanity. Manmade fibers, synthetic fibers, recycled or repurposed materials, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, wood pulp fibers are some of the viable options for vegan clothing.
Vegan clothes are not just about eschewing fur – though this may be the most obvious, avoidable and long despised methods of animal cruelty. It is also about not using leather, silk, down, animal feathers and wool as well.
The idea is to buy or wear nothing that was made by obtaining materials from animals. By definition, “animal product” means an item procured by keeping and breeding animals in captivity, in unnatural, harsh and crowded conditions and subjected to inhumane treatment; and even cruelty.
So ethical clothing would mean not using anything made from the different types of wool such as cashmere, merino, angora, pashmina, camel hair, shahtoosh and so on. It also means not using silk, which is produced by killing silkworms in their cocoons (usually boiled alive to obtain the silk skein).
Vegan clothing also means not wearing or using any leather. So your shoes, belts, wallets, hand bags jackets and coats and even luggage and furniture any other accessories should be carefully selected to see that they are not leather or animal hide.
What are your options?
Firstly of course there is faux fur to replace animal pelts obtained from minks, rabbits, foxes and so on. Acrylic and polyester can imitate fur quite well if you feel you must wear something furry.
Instead of wool, look for synthetic fleece and acrylic wool – these are very warm, durable and easy care too. If you like the feel of silk, there are many manmade fabrics that recreate the same feel and sensation. Instead of animal feathers and down, look for fillers such as synthetic down.
Look for clothing made from materials such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and jute. There are cruelty free materials that also make a fashion statement. PETA has a list of cruelty free vegan clothing companies that may help you make ethical choices.