With Christmas just around the corner, thinking of those last-minute gifts for the family can be a real head-scratcher. Clothes are of course always a win-win, especially so as there is something personal about knowing what your family do and don’t like to wear out and about and vegan fashion is the top of the gift list.
Millions of animals are killed each year simply for their fleece, skin or fur. So, from a vegan perspective, there are course some additional things to keep in mind when it comes to clothing.
Let’s first look at what to avoid this Christmas when clothes shopping for the family, and then what’s vegan good to go.
Leather is of course an appallingly cruel product and one that is also bad for the environment. The chemicals used in the tanning process can make their way into the local environment and water ways – a problem that is particularly prevalent in underdeveloped countries where irrigation and waste disposal is a problem.
Fur is also an unspeakably cruel material. Despite the tide starting to turn against fur, there are, sadly, many fur-farms still in operation around the world.
Pro-tip: be mindful when buying cruelty-free clothing of the less obvious things that may be non-vegan – leather zipper pulls are a classic example.
Wool is not vegan. Despite the best efforts of the wool and parts of the clothing industry to portray sheep as happily surrendering their bulky winter coats for the spring, sheep are treated brutally when sheared. Painful shearing cuts are common and the animals are shorn as quickly, and therefore as roughly, as possible.
Down, the soft under-feathers of birds like ducks and geese, can sometimes be found inside the lining of jackets as well as pillows and bed linen. Down is obtained from the birds in a very painful fashion – just simply pulled out while alive. Very painful for them, very not vegan for us.
While silk ties are still very popular, they are a no-no when it comes to being vegan. Silk worms are incredibly industrious and creative creatures. They make cocoons for their eggs by producing and spinning silk threads. To obtain the silk, producers boil these poor creatures alive inside their cocoons. So that silk tie for vegan dad this Christmas – afraid not.
Other materials to be avoided include cashmere, suede,
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Vegan Fashion To Go For:
Cotton. “100% cotton” is as good as reading “100% vegan.”
Alternatives to wool suits include brushed cotton, corduroy, polyester, rayon or linen. Other cruelty-free fabrics include denim, canvas, velveteen and sateen, to name but a few.
Faux leathers and furs are readily available, both on-line and in store. Also, environmentally-friendly, 100% vegan mushroom and pineapple leather are also starting to take off and earn some rave reviews.
Pro-tip when buying faux fur: fake fur will have the hair standing pretty much vertically while “real” fur will have a direction of growth to it. Useful to know if garment labelling is an issue for you when buying in store or scrutinizing your potential purchase online.
Remember, technology is always a wonderful thing, especially when shopping on-line. Like-wise if you’re in store and the garment label is not all that clear as to the material(s). If you’re not sure, a little research, or an e-mail to customer-service, can go a long way in making sure your family’s Christmas is as stylish and as vegan as possible.
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