Vegan clothing is becoming increasingly popular as activists strut their “kale yeah” and “animals are friends, not food” t-shirts and tanks on the regular. However, wearing vegan alone without those slogans sends the right message as well. The material of the clothing is what makes your wardrobe vegan. After you familiarize yourself with what not to buy, then it will be easier to make your closet cruelty-free. You will soon learn that leather and fur are no longer missed with the growing vegan fashion industry that has put the ugly reputation of faux materials to silence.
Beyond Fur and Leather
Fur and leather are the two most obvious materials that do not fall under the vegan clothing category, but there is more to it than those two. For every animal-derived material, blatantly sadistic methods are used to obtain them, which is reveled by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
For example, sheep are bread specifically to have more skin, and thus more wool. In this case, they will have so much wool the folds between the layers can become home to maggots that will eat them alive. Gardening sheers will be used to cut out flesh of the lambs rumps in an attempt to prevent the flies from laying their eggs that results in maggot infestation. This process leaves heavy scar tissue and does not always do its job. This is mutilation! And it is done for money—it is cheaper to produce. If you think this is bad, you definitely do not want to hear about the farms that slaughter their sheep for their wool.
On top of fur, leather and wool, there is also down. Have you ever wondered what your down comforter or down jacket is made out of? Ducks and geese. The down industry yanks the feathers out of birds’ bodies, which can get so violent it causes their skin to rip open. These wounds are then sown up without painkillers. On top of this, these birds are deprived of their natural habitat—like many animals under confinement for consumer goods and foods.
In order to be an ethical shopper and the ultimate vegan, even silk has to be avoided as it comes from silkworms. Silk is the fiber that silkworms weave to make their cocoons. Silkworms are steamed or gassed alive for their silk.
The Exotic Skin Trade
Another practically silenced animal welfare issue is the exotic skin industry. Reptiles are skinned alive or brutally killed for their scales. Animals like alligators and snakes are known to be able to feel pain even after being decapitated. Like other animals used for their hair, skin and fur, these types of animals are treated as if they are not living beings. They are treated as if they do not have heartbeats and cannot feel pain—they are handled like trash.
Today there are no excuses for wearing animal-deprived materials since there are many trendy alternatives that storm the vegan clothing world. Some vegan materials to look out for include faux leather, cotton, faux suede, microfiber cork, polyurethane, nylon, polyester, acrylic, linen and more. On top of knowing some materials to look for, here are a few tips on how to find them:
- When purchasing shoes look inside of their heel or under their tongue to find the material name printed. When purchasing clothing simply read the tag.
- The price of an item can actually be a hint to if it is vegan. Vegan clothing typically costs much less than animal products.
- It does not hurt to Google! If you are unsure if an item you want to buy is vegan or not, just look it up.
All in all, using animals for clothing is yet another topic that PETA exposes the realities of. Sporting and supporting vegan clothing brands or materials is a great way to get the message out that animal welfare is in your eyes. Have you checked out PETA’s findings after reading this article? Are you thinking about tossing out your favorite pair of leather boots or silk tie?