Veganism is not just about making ethical food choices. Veganism should permeate all aspect of your life - the way you eat, the way you drink, the way you live, the way you travel and also, the way you wear clothes. All the aspects of your life should be done in a manner that doesn't hurt or harm any living creature on this planet.
Going vegan is not just a diet choice. It is a lifestyle choice where you consciously choose to live with a conscience and take the moral high ground that abstains you from harming any living being. Eating vegan food is only the first step of veganism. Wearing clothes that contain animal products should be avoided as well.
What Is Vegan Clothing?
Vegan clothes are embodiment of this simple idea that no animals should be treated cruelly and made to suffer for human vanity. Vegan clothes are any clothes that are made without using any animal product. By 'animal products', we mean any material that is obtained by keeping and breeding animals in captivity, in harsh and pathetic conditions where animals are subjected to inhumane treatment and cruelty. When going vegan, you should avoid buying or wearing anything that was made from such 'animal products'.
Leather and fur are obvious culprits when you think of non-vegan clothing but there are other materials too that should be avoided. Here are list of clothing materials (or clothes that use these materials) to avoid when opting for vegan clothing -
- suede (microsuede is animal free, though)
Never use any clothing made out of materials listed above.
Fur, Wool & Leather - Cruelty In Animal Based Clothing
Fur is perhaps the most taboo and controversial of all animal based clothing. This is mainly because of animal rights activists and the fact that for many-many years they have been campaigning and protesting against the use of fur and therefore putting it in public eyes. In many ways, this seems to be very effective as even non-vegans now choose to not wear it. However, there is an alarming number of fur wearers. So how can industry this honorific and recognized as so cruel be so profitable and operational in these times?
Firstly we need to only consider where fur comes from. It is skin of an animal that has been ripped off his body leaving the abject remains of his organs, bones and muscles left out on display. If we need to question the horror of fur industry then we only need to imagine the brutality of having our own skin pulled off our bones.
I just want to highlight a level of cognitive dissonance that we have in society. A coyote is one of the animals that is most commonly used for fur. It so happens that it is also a species of the dog family. This means that we frequently see people walking their dog in public while also wearing a dead dog around their neck. Now it is one thing to claim to be an animal lover while also eating animal; but this is whole new level of ignorance when you claim to be a dog lover and are wearing a dead dog around your body.
Fur is taken from many different animals in many different situations but in no situation is acquiring fur necessary. In Canada and Greenland, thousands of seals are clubbed and bludgeoned or shot to death before being skinned, often while still conscious. Many of the seals are babies who are murdered for fur, even before they had the opportunity to learn to swim. The true horror of fur farms can never truly be imagined and no level of empathy can even come close to help us realize the hell and suffering these poor animals go through.
85% fur comes from fur factories. In these factories, profits are always put before animal welfare. Dogs, cats, foxes, minks, chinchillas, rabbits and even hamster are most commonly used for fur farming. The animals are packed into tiny cages with little to no room to breathe. Inevitably the animals become insane, biting each other and exhibiting cannibal behavior. They often hurt themselves, self-mutilating in unimaginably horrible ways.
Incredibly there are no humane slaughter laws in place protecting animals in these fur farms. This means they are butchered in gruesome ways since the solitary objective of the farmers is to protect the fur. Animals are killed without any regard for pain and suffering. Common form of death involves using the poisonous fumes from engine exhaust to render the animal unconscious. In view of the temperamental ineffectiveness of this method, the animals often remain conscious or become conscious while they are being skinned alive.
Fur is also incredibly damaging to the environment. It requires 20 times more energy to produce a real fur coat than it does to produce a fake fur coat. Furthermore, due to the chemicals used on the fur to stop them from rotting, the items are not biodegradable and in fact these chemicals lead to a very dangerous water contamination.
The dead skin of animals is called leather. It usually comes from cows, goats, kangaroos, pigs, cats and dogs. Leather items are often not labelled so it makes it extremely difficult to identify where the leather came from. There are also several skins that are considered exotic and are high in demand. Leather made of crocodiles, alligators and snakes are considered high-fashion and exotic. It is a shame really that these beautiful creatures are murdered and their skins are made into shoes, belts and handbags; all in the name of fashion.
Using leather is wrong on so many levels. Not only are animals murdered to satisfy the demand for leather products but leather is also the worst material when it comes to environment. Peta.org did a full cover on how the meat industry affects Earth's environment negatively where they explain how the toxins used in the leather tanning process pollute Earth and its environment on a large scale.
Winter clothing is almost synonymous with wool, cashmere, angora and shearling nowadays. What are these? Wool is the hair of a lamb or sheep. Angora is wool of a rabbit. Cashmere is the hair of Cashmere goat. Shearling is the skin of a lamb with the fleece still attached to it.
A general perception regarding wool is that sheep grow enough wool and they don't get hurt when humans shear them. This is far from truth. Wool industry is full of cases of animal abuse. Males of the species are castrated without any pain relief. Sheep's ears are hole-punched and their tails are chopped off without giving them any kind of pain relief.
Let's Put An End To This Cruelty
We idolize people like Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna who unashamedly wear fur coats and leather items. They wear them as a sign of privilege and wealth and they wear them as if they demand respect from us. But we have to show them that we can't respect their fashion choices and we certainly shouldn't respect their choice to fund and promote such a barbaric industry. If we ever want to end this cruel industry, not only do we have to stop wearing fur, wool and leather ourselves; but we have to send a clear message to the celebrities that wear them that their choices are immoral and unethical.
Do you own fur or leather? There are charities and sanctuaries that take it as donation and use it as bedding for animals they have. Use this as an opportunity to get rid of yourself of the guilt and bloodshed that goes into your fashion and make a positive change to an animal's life that desperately needs it. Animal-based clothing industry is shameful and disgusting and it is up to us make sure the industry ends now.
You Advertise What You Wear. Choose Wisely!
If you are wearing Nike t-shirt then you are advertising Nike and if you are wearing animal fur, you are advertising that fur is okay to wear. Your fashion reflects who you are what you stand for. It is thus important that you just don't stop wearing fur, wool and leather but wear clothes that represent your views.
We are One Choice Apparel, a clothing company that caters to the individuals who strive to make conscious and informed decisions for a sustainable future and a better now. We use organic and sustainable materials to create stylish clothes (t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, etc.) that you can be proud to wear. All our clothes are vegan and no animals are harmed for producing our clothing. Browse our collection of vegan tees, hoodies and sweaters and pick a design that reflects the inner you.
Why Not Vegan?
All through this post we have talked about why we should opt for vegan clothing and contribute to prevention of animal cruelty. However, I think the more pertinent question to ask yourself is - 'Why Not Vegan Clothing'?
Think of it this way - when vegan clothes can offer you function as well as style, while reducing animal cruelty, is there really any good reason to continue mistreating and murdering animals in the name of fashion? Think! Act!