Does Vegan Fashion Mean Eco-Friendly?
Hello hello and welcome once again to a new type of topic! Once in a while, we will be talking about a question that is floating around the sustainable fashion world, or something that made the news lately that that we feel is important to share. Given the title today, I am sure you understood what we will be talking about. This question seems to have been a pretty hot topic lately: Does vegan mean eco-friendly?
We seem to have moved on to simpler ways and plant based diet as a society when it comes to eating. Something that was pretty rare 50 years ago is now a custom and vegan foods are offered at almost every restaurant or cafe. It seems it is one of the pillars for earth-friendly practices and being kind to other beings. Fighting against animal cruelty is important and people are becoming more and more passionate about it, which is absolutely amazing to witness.
But how does it translate to fashion? Is vegan fashion the way to go? Does that mean that the whole manufacturing chain is respected through and through? That’s what we’ll try to find out today!
Does it tick all the boxes?
It seems vegan fashion resonates with being environmentally friendly in people’s minds, but as it turns out, it is not necessarily true. Vegan fashion mostly focuses on being against animal cruelty and makes sure the wellbeing of animals is the top priority. But there is usually little regard for workers rights or farmers’ safety. Likewise, their main goal is to erase all animal products like leather, suede, fur to avoid killing animals in order to make clothes. However, most of the time, they are replaced by plastic or other similar materials that are highly polluting for the environment.
Pollution, what about it?
Since vegan fashion uses cheaper materials too, it doesn’t make the clothes as long-lasting and is more and more promoted on fast fashion websites and brands. So you might be thinking “I am buying this for a good cause”, when in reality, workers might not be respected and payed really poorly, your garment might only last for a couple of months and the materials might be toxic to your health and well-being.
One of the best examples when it comes to vegan fashion is polyester and rayon. Once backed up by organizations such as PETA, rayon was considered so toxic that it became forbidden to use within the US. To give you a little facts: making rayon means having to cut an insane amount of bamboo trees, which hurts the environment in a huge way. But it also means diseases and near death for some of the workers having to deal with this fabric. As a matter of fact, when creating rayon, workers have to be exposed to highly dangerous fumes and once the waste gets thrown in the water, going into rivers, seas and oceans, the whole planet is impacted, resulting in a broken ecosystem. Similar facts have been reported when it comes to polyester.
So then what? What do we do? How do we shop when we want to respect vegan values AND pay attention to the environment? There are more and more brands realizing that being a vegan brand and only focusing on the vegan aspect is not enough. That paying attention to the workers, the fabrics, how things are made is equally as important. Here at Native Styling, we strive to find brands that will meet all of our client’s criteria. But it is such a heavy job to come across brands that are trying to do EVERYTHING right AND are able to nail their sense of style as well!
Some of our favorites include Rafa (https://www.rafausa.com/) which their shoes are also made right here in the City of Angels; Vaute couture (https://vautecouture.com) or the online store Bead & Reel (https://www.beadandreel.com/).
As always with stories and debates, there are always 2 sides of the coin and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge that because something is labeled as vegan fashion, it is automatically ethical or sustainable; which a lot of people seem to be confused about most of the time. Likewise, not all vegan brands decide to only pay attention to the cruelty-free aspect and in fact, a lot more brands now try to hit all the right spots and produce vegan products that are also ethically made!