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What is Vegan Fashion and How Sustainable it is?

Veganism is not a new trend in our society. We’ve all heard of veganism in some way or the other. It’s about diet for some individuals, and lifestyle for others. Veganism can be applied to all aspects of our lives, including our daily diet, beauty and skincare products, and even our wardrobe. However, the phrases sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free and ethical are frequently misunderstood. People often use these concepts interchangeably, implying that anything ethical always is sustainable, or that something ethical is always vegan. Thus, to purchase by one’s personal beliefs, the definitions of these phrases must be unambiguous. Now, let’s see what all this buzz is about.

What is Vegan Fashion?

Simply said, a vegan wardrobe is free of leather, fur, silk, feathers, bone, horn shell, wool, cashmere, shearling, angora, shahtoosh, snakeskin, pashmina, mohair, etc. If the clothing contains any animal byproducts, then it is not vegan. As of now, vegan fashion hardly includes operating materials from suppliers that, for example, utilise chemicals or detergents in the manufacturing of fibers. Animal testing has nothing to do with an item being devoid of animal-derived substances, thus vegan fashion does not have to entail that all of the ingredients are cruelty-free. This is not a concern because the garment business does not use animal experimentation. Vegan fashion is becoming increasingly essential in light of the detrimental environmental consequences of the fur trade and animal husbandry.

Why Choose Vegan Fashion?

Vegan fashion is chosen for ethical grounds such as compassion for animals, but a vegan lifestyle offers many more benefits. Most of the traditional materials used in our apparel come from animals that are imprisoned, tormented, and exploited for the duration of their short lives before being slaughtered. Animals were exploited as commodities in the fashion business to supply raw materials. The business tries to hide its wrongdoings by claiming that leather or virgin wool goods are less of a problem. There is a common misperception that leather is a byproduct of the meat business and that no animals are killed in the process. This is misleading, as many animals are grown and slaughtered primarily for their skin. The majority of people are unaware of the brutal mulesing procedures used in the wool industry but the horrendous state of animals on a fur farm is known by all. According to Apparel research published in 2017, three of the four worst materials in terms of environmental degradation are animal-derived, with the four fabrics in issue being: leather, silk, conventional cotton, and wool—yet another reason to pick vegan fashion.

What are the certifications required for Vegan Fashion?

PETA-Approved Vegan and The Vegan Trademark are two third-party certifications for vegan clothing.

PETA-Approved Vegan: Vegan is defined by PETA (a US-based animal rights group) as the absence of animal-derived materials such as fur, leather, silk, down, and wool. It certifies individual products, collections, or a full band, including vegan apparel, fibres/materials, purses, shoes, wallets, jewellery, and home furnishings.PETA India collaborates with PETA US to create the PETA-Approved Vegan logo, which allows businesses to promote vegan handbags, shoes, apparel, accessories, and other retail products.

The Vegan Trademark: You may have noticed the Vegan Society’s sunflower Vegan logo on other items like food and cosmetics, but the Vegan Society now certifies apparel, shoes, and accessories with the same Vegan Trademark logo. Individual items, not entire corporations, are certified by this organisation. Vegan Society, unlike PETA, investigates the glues used in all registered items to assure they are not animal-based.

What are some of the Vegan materials in clothing?

There are many lovely vegan fabrics and other materials available today that can be produced without the exploitation of animals and have a lower carbon impact. Hemp, organic linen, recycled and organic cotton, recycled polyester and nylon, Tencel, bamboo, and even biodegradable bioplastic (produced from sugar cane, for example) are all viable possibilities. Desserto, Piatex, Appel Skin, and Vegea are plant-based leather replacements manufactured from pineapple leaves, apple skins and cores, or grape skins, seeds, and stalks. They’re also excellent illustrations of how by-products from other sectors may be transformed into exquisite vegan leather substitutes.

What values does vegan fashion support?

The major benefit of purchasing vegan apparel is the assurance that no animal(-derived) items were used in the manufacturing process, which promotes animal welfare. Recycled cotton, organic linen, and organic hemp are today’s most eco-friendly textiles, according to sustainable fashion experts. The good news is that these components are plant-based, making them vegan-friendly. Since vegan producers do not work with raw materials which use chemicals which in turn promotes a clean production system.

Is vegan fashion really sustainable?

No, it merely indicates that the product has no components or chemicals produced by animals. Vegan-labelled products should offer an alternative to products that are usually created with animal products, but this does not imply that they are ecologically benign. Plastic is frequently connected with vegan fashion. After all, in greenwashing initiatives, items comprised of synthetic materials are frequently sold as vegan. This is technically correct: a polyester sweater has no wool, and hence no animal product. Even PETA recommends polyester over silk. If a product is branded as vegan because it does not include any animal products, it does not necessarily follow that it was made under socially acceptable circumstances. If we fight for the environment, we should also fight for humans.

What is the difference between Vegan and sustainable fashion?

Vegan fashion is commonly promoted as being eco-friendly. Identifying a garment’s long-term viability, on the other hand, is significantly more difficult than it looks. Vegan clothing is not always more ecologically benign than one made with animal raw materials, as animal-free production can be just as harmful. Vegan fashion can be unsustainable and can cause immense damage to the environment. The most prevalent vegan but unsustainable fibres are cotton and plastic derivatives. Organic cotton, linen, hemp, and bamboo are all vegan and environmentally friendly choices. It becomes challenging to select one over the other, thus it all comes down to our point of view.

Some of the top vegan fashion brands

There are many brands which are now supporting this noble cause of vegan fashion but our favourites are No Nasties, Bhumi, Honest Basics, Culthread, Luna + Sun, etc. to name a few.