Vegan fashion has become increasingly popular among non-vegans. Yes, you read that correctly; non-vegans. More and more brands are becoming cruelty-free and truly ethical. First of all, we can all agree that this is a positive trend because, this means that the harm done to the environment and the animals will be lessened. Furthermore, the vegan lifestyle will also see an increase in adoption due to the new paradigm in fashion. Fashion plays a critical role in determining what’s hot and what’s not. It can set things in motion, break taboos, but it can also break things down just as easy. However, brands being cruelty-free and ethical have only benefits to the fashion industry, so it should come as no surprise that fashion industry supports this trend. However, as with every other positive trend, there will always be people who will try to take advantage of it. That’s why we need to go over the key terms that are involved in vegan fashion so that everybody can clearly what understand what is meant by brands/companies saying that they’re ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘ethical’.
Although there is no legal definition of animal-cruelty as of yet, in the animal-rights movement, cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals anywhere in the world. It can’t be simpler explained than this. Every activity that involves (fatally) hurting animals in one way or the other during the production process of clothing is not cruelty-free. According to the website www.crueltyfreeinternational.com there are at least 115 million animals used for experiments on an annual basis. They also state that animal experiments are not on a steady decline, in many parts of the world they are on the increase (China) and in other parts o the world they remain at the same level since the 1980s/1990s (UK/Europe). These are just a few facts of the many about the current state of making the world cruelty-free. Even though more and more people become aware of the horrendous procedures that many companies use during their production process, there is still much progress to be made so we still have a lot of work to do.
The second element that defines vegan clothing is often an overlooked one in mainstream fashion. Many big companies and retailers get their clothes made in Asia. At first glance there is nothing wrong with it, because a company wouldn’t be a company if they didn’t try to minimize their costs. A company needs profit to survive and thrive. Consumers also have nowadays many stores to choose from, so there’s a lot of competition. In a lot of cases, the stores who are able to sell clothing the cheapest attract the most customers. It’s just a simple fact that gets confirmed by certain exemptions. However, as businesses try to minimize their costs, they often tend to neglect other aspects of the work environment such as setting up decent workers contracts. They take advantage of the laws in the developing countries. These are laws are often not in favor of the workers, because these countries want to attract big companies, so therefore they have favorable laws for big companies. This results in a harsh work environment and a very low wage for the employees. Often little children, as old as 5 year, are working in these sketchy factories. There are basically little to no rules, except for the ones that you should work your ass off. Supporting vegan clothing will put an end to this. Why? Because Vegan clothing is ethically made. It’s not made with the intention of making a profit off the backs of its workers. Workers get paid fair wage and they work in environments that is safe and there are strict regulations about what a worker can and cannot do.
Finally, vegan clothing also involves doing less harm to the environment during the production of the clothes. Vegan clothing is often made out of recycled materials or of earth-friendly fabrics. Furthermore they are always made in a sustainable way. This means that there has been thought very carefully about the production of a garment and it’s consequences on the environment and how they can minimize this in the long run.
So in sum, vegan clothing is not necessarily for vegans. It’s for everyone who wants to contribute to a more cruelty-free, ethical and sustainable world. There are a lot of misconceptions about vegan clothing and we’ve addressed some of your concerns in this concise article. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but the fact that more and more become aware of the misconduct and lack of the ethics in the fashion industry, is very encouraging and should not be taken light. It’s up to us, how fast this trend will develop.