You may be surprised by the production methods behind common materials
As veganism becomes increasingly popular, more producers are creating innovative and stylish animal-free clothing and accessories, in a bid to meet growing demand.
In recent months, a slew of designers and brands have ditched harmful fabrics – like fur and mohair – from their designs, many as a result of seeing undercover footage from facilities mistreating animals to produce them.
But many high street options still contain animal products, from obvious ones like leather to more surprising ones like glue. Here is a non-exhaustive list of materials to look out for, and why to avoid them.
Online retailer ASOS became somewhat of a pioneer earlier this year, when it pledged to ditch a number of animal products – including silk mohair and feathers – from its site under a ban which will come into effect at the end of January 2019.
While some animal products like fur are obviously cruel, for many consumers, feathers can seem relatively benign. This is not the case: whether used as stuffing in down jackets, or as trim, feathers have to be obtained from animals. Often this results in the painful and traumatic live plucking of birds, or they can be removed after the animals have been killed – for example, in the case of ostriches which are farmed (often in grim conditions) then slaughtered so their skin can be used to make handbags and other accessories.
Ashley Byrne is the Associate Director of Campaigns at vegan charity PETA. She has described the use of feathers in fashion as ‘unnecessary…cruel, and it’s not ethical’, adding: “Feathers in fashion are just like the use of fur or the use of leather in fashion. It results in cruelty to animals. Any time you have animals being used for fashion, the priority will always be the bottom line, not the [animal’s] well-being.”
2- Animal glue
Many consumers would be surprised to find out that some fashion items – including bags and shoes – are made using animal glue. According to The Vegan Society: “Animal-derived glue is often made by boiling an animal’s connective tissue or bones, so even if you purchase leather free shoes they still may not be vegan-friendly.”
Vanita Bagri is a vegan fashion expert, and the Founder & CEO at LaBante London, a brand producing luxury handbags and sunglasses. She told Plant Based News that the easiest way to avoid more tricky products like animal glue is to shop from vegan-certified brands.
She added: “No animal based dyes and glues are used in our manufacturing process. We are a PETA-Approved Vegan brand, which means we have signed a document stating that we do not and will never use animal-based ingredients in our products and we stand committed to our promise.
“What this implies is that our suppliers are also held to a strict code of keeping an audit trail on all our accessories used in our manufacturing process – guaranteeing that our products always stay cruelty-free and vegan just the way we like them.”
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