Stroking down the plush set of colorful fibers, it is hard to tell they could be anything but fur. Hanging in the corner of an ethical fashion store in Dongdaemun, the fur-free fur coats and silk-free silk robes are soft and luxurious, but without the cost of brutality against animals. Striving to spare harm inflicted on animals for the sake of style, vegan fashion has been spreading in South Korea in recent years.
The word “fake” does not fully describe the trend, as the garments are not purposed as second choice low-quality replacements. They are considered more of a fashionably ethical statement now, rejecting the use of animal materials or cruelty in obtaining them.
Strictly speaking, vegan fashion is different from eco-friendly fashion, although the phrases are often used interchangeably. Something vegan may not necessarily follow best practices for the environment, or vice versa, but the two often go hand in hand.
The international movement toward fashion going vegan began its rapid spread as many prominent luxury brands announced themselves “fur-free.” In October last year, Gucci went fur-free, followed by British fashion company Burberry in September this year. Other pricey labels, including Versace, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren have also declared moves to ban fur.
Britain’s Stella McCartney — the second-generation animal rights activist daughter of Linda and the Beetles’ Paul McCartney — is believed to gotten the ball rolling in 2001, and currently stands as one of the leading eco-friendly fashion brands in the world. Now, slapping on the word “vegan” is a marketing strategy seemingly guaranteeing good sales.
The vegan and similar fashion trends are more prevalent in the winter, as outdoor labels increasingly introduce items that either exclude animal materials or try to stick to ethical standards in using animal matters.
A number of global outdoor companies, including The North Face, Adidas and Reebok, have launched “Responsible Down Standard” certified down coats this winter. RDS is a global standard developed in 2014 to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to unnecessary harm. Local outdoor brand Black Yak also received RDS certification for all of its down coats released this year.
Some brands have taken it a step further and developed artificial materials as replacements. The North Face introduced its own thermal filling, “V-Motion,” in 2016, and ‘”T-Ball” this year, whereas LG Fashion’s A.T.Corner presented as its 2018 winter centerpiece a mustang jacket with eco-fur lining inside.
According to Galleria Department store, which held an eco-friendly fashion week at the end of last month, environmentally friendly garments, including animal-free ones, have increased by 20 percent compared to last year on the women’s fashion floor.
GS Shopping, a TV shopping firm, exceeded its initial sales goals for RDS certified items, including Reebok’s heavy goose down long coat, which sold out in less than half an hour on the channel.
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