If you're a regular Fashion Fix Daily reader, you'll know that we are BIG on cruelty-free beauty, but what about cruelty-free fashion?
For many consumers, ethics and sustainability in fashion centres around the use of animal by-products, this means not only animal furs, hairs and skins used in the clothing, but also dyes, glues and other chemicals that utilise elements of animals that would not be considered vegan or cruelty-free.
The animal products most used in fashion garments and accessories are:
- Feathers and Down
- Exotic Skins
In addition to the obvious and significant ethical issues surrounding the culling and mistreatment of animals for their hides, and being extremely land, water, and energy intensive, the meat and leather industry is one of the most environmentally harmful in the world. Meat and leather production is responsible for the emission of more manmade greenhouse gases (18%) than the global transportation industry (13%). The chemicals used in leather tanning make it one of the most toxic processes. Chrome, a known carcinogen, is used in vast measures, and the groundwater in the vicinity of leather tanneries in developing countries has been found to contain critically high concentrations of formaldehyde, lead, and even cyanide. This causes cancer and other fatal illnesses in the surrounding populations.
Furthermore, animal skins used for clothing and accessories are pumped with corrosive, toxic chemicals that prevent them from decomposing – the antithesis of what we would expect from natural resources. This impact is made only more severe by the deforestation associated with animal rearing that has resulted in the loss of important ecosystem services.
With growing ethical and environmental concerns surrounding the use of animal by-products in fashion, pioneering technology has allowed for the development of vegan, plant-based textile and fabric alternatives, which include:
- Organic cotton
- Faux Leather
- Recycled Polyester
*Remember, be wary of alternatives labeled as vegetarian, for they may use glues or other substances that use animal products.
Read more: Ultimate Cruelty Free Beauty Brand List
Emma Smith, designer and founder of vegan accessories brand Charlie Feist, knows that cruelty-free fashion is just as important as food:
"As lovers of animals (especially puppies), we think its not right to use animal products in our collection. To be honest, in 2018, with the number of animal substitutes that exist, it doesn’t make sense to use animal products."
Where to buy cruelty-free fashion
Here are our top 5 cruelty-free and vegan fashion brands to shop from now:
Let us know what you think in the comments or tweet us @fashionfixdaily!