Get The Low Down: Vegan Fashion

Stella McCartney showcases 'skin-free' leather range in Paris.

Stella McCartney showcases 'skin-free' leather range in Paris.

You’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Vegan Fashion’ is a brand new concept. While the term has in fact existed for many years, it hasn’t been until more recently that it’s started to gain traction and attention. For those of you who may be a little confused, we’ve put together a handy guide that tells you everything you need to know about the fashion industry’s most ethical trend. 

What is it?

So what exactly is vegan fashion? Much like it’s kitchen counterpart, vegan fashion is simply clothing made without the use of any animal products. You’d be surprised how much the clothing industry actually relies upon them! Many of us already exclude the obvious leather and fur from our wardrobes, but did you know favourites such as silk and cashmere also make the list? Alongside feathers, snakeskin, suede, down, mohair, bone, horn, shell, shearling, angora, shahtoosh and pashmina? You might not always be aware that your garment contains an animal product, so always make sure you check the label before you buy!

Why choose Vegan?

There are a number of reasons that people decide to make the switch to veganism, with the main one being that it exploits animals. The industry often tries to cover its tracks by claiming the products used in clothing manufacture are simply byproducts, however those practicing vegan fashion counter-argue that the increasing demand for clothing made using these products has raised the number of animals bred and slaughtered each year in order to keep up. Animals bred in captivity for such purposes are often subjected to inhumane practices and treatment, and their life ends years earlier than they would naturally. Even animals bred ‘humanely’ are still subjected to conditions that are not ideal.

What are safe alternatives?

Natural, plant-based fabrics are a great alternative to animal products. These include cotton, linen and hemp. Synthetics are also an animal-friendly alternative to materials like leather, silk and wool. Garments made from microfibre, ramie, pleather, imitation leather, nylon, acrylic, polyester, orlon, synthetic shearling, mod-acrylic and rayon are also a-okay as they are not animal products.

Where can you find it?

A lot of people associate ‘vegan’ with ‘hippy’, but that’s not the case! A lot of popular brands, such as Target, Moo Shoes, Vans, Asos, Forever 21 and Herbivore Clothing have their own range of vegan clothes, shoes and accessories, so no matter what your personal style is, you can always look cool AND be ethical! Just be sure to check the label - a key phrase to look out for is ‘all manmade materials’, which indicates no animal products have been used. 

While it might seem like hard work to shop vegan, it really isn’t! Yes, you might have to change up your regular shopping places, but we can assure you there are even better stores and brands out there waiting for you to discover! Switching to vegan fashion will not only leave you with a sound mind knowing you’ve made an awesome ethical decision, but it will also save your wallet by preventing you from impulse buying way too many clothes (that you know you’ll regret later!) whilst shopping at large clothing chains.

By Cassie Jacobs

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