Vegan Fashion: Compassionate Couture
"The most common thing I hear is: 'I didn't know that vegan extended to fashion. Can I eat the clothing?'" Leanne says. Vegan fashion has nothing to do with what you put in your mouth; rather it is about wearing apparel and accessories that are created without the use of any animal materials. That includes the obvious exclusion of fur and leather, as well as wool, shearling (sheepskin or lambskin), silk and angora (rabbit fur).
Myth 2: If animals aren't killed for the sake of fashion, you can't say there's cruelty involved.
Leanne wastes no time disputing this myth, describing graphic and gruesome practices by some of the manufacturers she's come across in her research:
- Wool: Weeks after birth, most lambs have their ears punched and tails chopped, and most males are castrated—all without anesthetics. Shearing isn't any better; it's done for speed rather than precision and often results in bloody slashing and mutilation.
- Down: Starting at 9 weeks old, baby geese are strung upside down and their feathers are ripped out. This happens every six weeks until they are sent to slaughter.
- Fur: Fur comes from anal electrocution (literally sticking a metal rod in animals' rectums and electrocuting them from the inside) or catching an animal in a steel-jaw leg-hold trap, which often leads to the animal trying to bite off its own limb to escape before the trapper finds it.
Myth 3: Vegan fashion is too expensive to actually wear.
Vegan fashion actually comes at many different price points, depending on the label that makes it. Whether you're in the market for a $30 vegan bag or a $1,000 vegan coat, you can and will find something on any budget. "It's a matter of scale," Leanne says. "A small, independent label using cutting-edge fabrics will have higher costs per piece because they aren't spreading out a large production run."
Myth 4: It's too hard to find vegan fashion, so it's not a practical choice.
It may surprise you to hear that it's likely you've already stumbled upon vegan fashion pieces at your favorite stores. Target, Bakers and Payless all sell vegan shoes, and even designers like Steve Madden and Stella McCartney are getting into vegan fashion with footwear and bags. If you seek it out—and even if you don't—you'll find it.
Myth 5: Vegan fashion is not fashionable.
Au contraire. From feminine pleated-skirt peacoats to beautiful bronze metallic T-strap pumps, vegan fashion isn't just animal- and eco-friendly, it's also stylish, sexy and chic from head to toe. The proof is in the pictures—check it out!
Learn how you can go vegan on a budget