Veganism is often considered as a dietary change that avoids all consumption of meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey – so anything that comes from an animal. Yet, the exact term for those who follow such diet is ‘plant-based’. Being vegan also means excluding animals from our closet, from our make up and so much more!
Here is where this blog comes in place. I’m often asked some advice on how to veganise a closet or which brands to shop from. Whilst I’m still working on my Ultimate Guide of Vegan Fashion Brands, I like to help and wanted to offer some extra help to those who consider themselves plant-based but are looking to cross that extra step and veganise their closet as well.
What’s wrong with wearing animals ?
For many, animal welfare is not the first thing that people consider when it comes to fashion. But if you love furry, feathery, and scaly animal friends as much as your dog, then there are a few things I want to talk about before you go on your next shopping spree.
Silk shirts, UGG boots, suede skirts, cashmere sweaters, leather boots or bags, fur trims on wool coats… Though I said goodbye to all of these only a year ago, my point is that fashion is a way of expressing oneself but there is no need to harm animals. When we use sentient creatures in business and use treat them as property, all manner of things can and do go wrong, including:
- They become reduced – in a company’s eyes – to economic units of production.
- All of their natural instincts and desires – such as to bond with one another and roam freely in nature – are denied to them.
- Their lives consist of being confined, mutilated without anesthetisation, exploited, and slaughtered.
Here are the problems specifically with wool, down, leather, fur:
Wool – Wool is considered a winter wardrobe staple, but it isn’t always produced under ethical conditions. Common wool is made from sheep who had “mulesing” (chunks ripped out of their skin) performed on them without anesthetisation. PETA did an entire investigation on sheep mistreatment, but just to make it short, they are roughly shorn of their hair, which provides insulation from cold weather. Eventually, they’re shipped away only to be brutally slaughtered. I wrote a blog post on 3 Ways To Wearing Wool + 12 Vegan Coat Brands which should help you.
Down – From ducks in China who are also exploited for eggs, meat, or despicably cruel foie gras. The soft undercoating beneath their top layer of feathers is violently torn from them several times while they are alive and then once more after they had been killed. Two amazing brands that are trying to fight against this are Save The Duck and Hoodlamb.
Fur – From “fur farms,” where animals are caged and experience extreme distress from being confined. They are killed through anal, and sometimes vaginal, electrocution, so as to keep the fur in tact. 100 chinchillas, 60 minks, or 10 to 24 foxes are required for 1 full-length fur coat…
Thankfully Gucci recently declared they were giving up on fur, but please make sure whenever you are buying a coat with a furry-looking trim or a bag with a furry pom-pom that it is artificial fur! I recently discovered a faux fur brand called Jakke that makes stunning vegan faux fur coats!
Silk – Silk has been revered as a luxury for thousands of years. Silk is made up of the threads that form the cocoon of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori). The threads are extracted by boiling the cocoon with the pupae still inside. This method can be controversial. While Good On You does not currently rate brands based on their use of silk, for those who believe all animals, large or small, should not suffer for our consumption, it is worth factoring into your purchasing decisions. I also wrote a blog post called Is Velvet Vegan? How To Identify If It’s Vegan Or Not! where I talk about the subject in a bit more detail.
Leather – From cows in India and China, where there are no animal welfare regulations. Animals used for leather are confined on filthy factory farms, dehorned and castrated without anesthetisation. On the way to the slaughterhouse, they are crowded onto trucks and subjected to all manner of weather extremes. They may not be stunned properly before being skinned. Leather is also made from cows that you don’t see in the fields, or pigs rolling around in the mud. Leather can also be made from goats, cats and dogs… And even alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos!
Leather has long been a staple in our wardrobes, however, we often overlook the animals whose skins become our jackets and shoes. Every year large numbers of animals are killed for their skins by the leather industry. Many of these animals are factory-farmed, which can involve extreme crowding and confinement, deprivation, and painful treatment at the hands of workers. If you want to know more about the leather industry, feel free to read my article on 3 Reasons Why You Should Give Up On Leather where I talk about this topic in much more detail.
For most of my life, I wore leather, wool, and down because I simply didn’t know any better. Once I learned the facts about how exploited animals were treated, however, I made a commitment to myself that I would find vegan alternatives to these materials.
You must do some research on vegan fashion
Just like when you transitioned to a vegan diet, you must absolutely inform yourself before turning your closet vegan. In fact I wrote a blog post on the 5 Most Stylish Vegan Clothing Stores Online right here!
There are plenty of clothing retailers offering compassionate, vegan clothing. My main source of inspiration is Instagram, because I like to shop from independent boutiques. But I do sometimes shop from big e-tailers like Asos and Warehouse, who both offer more vegan fashion than you may think. Some of my favourite and amazing independent brands are People Tree, Thought Clothing, Free People, Miss Green, Jan n June and Mila Vert that offer wonderful options. I’ll be writing an article about all my favourite vegan and ethical fashion brands soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
Follow vegan fashion bloggers
Crucial if you want to find out new vegan clothing brands. I happen to be quite immersed in this niche, so here is my list of vegan fashion bloggers and Instagrammers that I consider my ‘go-to’ in terms of new vegan and/or sustainable clothing brands:
- Immaculate Vegan
- Alias Louise
- Justine Kept Calm and Went Vegan
- Anna Laura Kummer
- Love and Blossoms
- Dear Diary Blog
- A Cup of Joan
- Ashley Morganic
If you are a vegan fashion blogger send me a DM via Instagram or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll feature you!
Be part of a community
I think that part of the reason why I remain involved in the vegan fashion movement is because I have a lovely bunch of followers I don’t want to dissapoint, but also because I interact with other people that have the same struggles as me. Whether it’s in finding amazing vegan coats or for not being able to buy that gorgeous pair of leather shoes! I feel you girl.
Many other vegan girls will give you advice on what to do in those cases and support you when you feel like you live in a cruel world and nobody cares. Vegans care! That’s why we’re here. So in order not to feel alone in this adventure you must connect with like-minded people to support one another in this growing movement. We are all about kindness towards animals and one another (Feel free to delete the cheesiness of this paragraph).
You don’t have to throw away non-vegan things
I wrote a small article on How To Shop Vegan a while back, but this is something I tend to say to people asking me for advice. If you’ve still got leather boots or a coat with wool, the most sustainable thing you can do is to wear it until it’s no longer of use.
Of course, you can sell them to people who don’t mind owning leather goods, or you can also send them to PETA, who will give you a discount code for a vegan fashion brand in exchange for your goods (which have to be in good state). I know they collect fur coats (click here for more information), but you may have to dig deeper for wool and leather goods. Maybe get in touch with them, they are a friendly bunch!
Brand Highlight: Minuit Sur Terre
Probably the most important one, in my opinion. Today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite vegan shoe companies out there that are just doing everything right. They are called Minuit Sur Terre and in this blog post I am wearing their shoes all along.
Marie Viard is a Frenchwoman who started her business with the need to create feminine, stylish, cruelty-free and affordable shoes. So far, it’s been only but success for her and I her shoes are a vegan dream!
The shoes are made from materials that are animal-friendly and respectful towards the men and women that make the shoes. The materials are made in Italy, and the shoes are put together in Portugal.
Contrary to many clothing and fashion companies today that employ offshore manufacturing. Minuit Sur Terre is the perfect example of a new generation of vegan companies are using the right language and the right technology to success in this era of digital competition.
Minuit Sur Terre offers high quality shoes that are characterised by very high levels of workmanship, feminine designs and everything is cruelty free. Though shoes come in small series, she is often out if stock thanks to her own popularity. What a dream for a businesswoman!
On top of being of produced in Europe, the founder Marie has the cutest dog Cannelle and has successfully combined her passion for shoes and cruelty-free living into a thriving business with high demand.
In this post I am wearing the Jazz Noir pumps in size bigger than my usual. (Take a size bigger as they are on the smaller side!). They have this suede-like upper and the linings are made from polymers from sustainable sources, mainly viscose and cellulose from cereals. How cool!
I want to know your favourite vegan brands! Though there is still some way to go, I’m happy to see more and more cruelty-free brands popping out online all the time!
I WAS WEARING:
H&M KIDS SHIRT
URBAN OUTFITTERS VEGAN BAG
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Photography by Alexa Mitiner