Eliminating are comparable to those in the food industry.

Eliminating the usage of animal products in one’s life might
begin with diet, but it certainly doesn’t end there. The fashion industry is
guilty of using animal products, and some estimate the numbers are comparable
to those in the food industry. Indeed, some of the most coveted and expensive
materials come from animals like wool, silk, leather and fur. Luckily, many
prominent fashion designers are moving away from these animal derived fabrics
and trying to incorporate man-made, vegan fabrics in their designs instead.

 

In recent years, most of the vegan materials developed and
used for fashion were also terrible for the environment. In fact, fashion
has been found to be the 5th most polluting industry in the world,
equal to livestock. Since the well-being of animals around the world is so highly
dependent on the health of our planet, it’s become clear how important it is to
take a closer look at our fashion habits. And luckily, some amazing innovations
are emerging that specifically address these problems, so we can start feeling
good about what we’re wearing.

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The clothing you choose matters

Did you know that the global
fashion industry is worth $3 trillion? That’s the equivalent of 2% of the
whole planet’s GDP! With such a high amount of revenues around the world, it
gives us a clearer idea of how many animals were likely harmed in the process
of manufacturing all those goods. We can no longer deny that our choices in
clothing are an important contributor to the suffering of animals.

 

It’s understandable that we may not immediately associate
fashion with harming animals, after all, most of the clothing we purchase is
made from synthetic materials. But if you consider the still prevalent fur
trade, and the fact that so many synthetic fibers are derived from petroleum, it’s
time to broaden your horizons: veg*an is just as much about fashion as it is
about food.

 

Fashion statements

There’s another reason why you should care about what kinds
of clothes you buy. Fashion is a statement of who you are and what you believe
in. As famous designer Miuccia Prada put it, “What
you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human
contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language”. Paying closer
attention to what’s going on in the world and doing things differently is
what’s going to allow us to move humanity forward. All it takes is one step in
vegan shoes!

 

Animal-friendly & eco-friendly alternatives

New vegan and eco-friendly materials are emerging every day
and they’re even being used by prominent fashion designers! Here are some of my
favourites (and where you can get them, too!):

 

 

Recycled Rubber &
Tyres

While rubber used to be naturally derived from the Pará
rubber tree, the
majority of it today is unfortunately synthetic and transformed from petroleum.
We use both natural and synthetic rubbers everywhere, from tyres, to fire hoses
– and disposing of this material is extremely polluting. Thankfully, designers
such as Laura
Zabo found a second life for recycled rubber, creating handbags, necklaces
and even belts! The rubber from inner tubes has a very similar texture and
density as natural leather and as designer Paguro found out, it makes for very
attractive and stylish handbags.

 

Waxed Cotton

While this method has long been used for jeans by 7 for all Mankind and Marc Jacobs, it’s
now being recognized as an eco-friendly and vegan alternative to leather. It’s pliable
and waterproof just like leather but it has the added bonus of being
machine washable! That means you can also contribute to helping the environment
by cutting
down on the use of harsh chemicals used in the dry-cleaning process. Win-win!

 

Fruit Waste

Many new materials are being derived from fruit and
vegetable waste, like orange skins and banana peels. One very unique brand, Happy
Genie, is now transforming
apple fibers into beautiful bags. Similarly, Piñatex creates
pineapple leather which they derive from pineapple leaf fibers. Not only
are these natural and sustainable alternatives to leather, they also help
provide additional income for local farmers and reduce waste, making this trend
an all-around ethical gem!

 

 

Although these new materials are still emerging, some of
them are actually quite affordable. And since we now know that what we wear is
just as much about who we are as what we want to communicate to the world, it’s
worth taking the time to get informed, ask questions and be the change we want
to see.

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