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A Mini Guide to Vegan Fashion

Developing and creating new 'vegan' or 'sustainable' materials is still relatively new. There is so much to understand but little information communicated to masses; so, we're here to help you out by pulling together a mini guide to help you understand more about vegan products vs non-vegan products.

What is Vegan Fashion ?

Trends such as Veganuary and reducing meat consumed are lifestyles that individuals are keen to maintain. However, it’s not only what we consumer but what we wear. Collectively we recognise the importance of biodiversity and their impact on earth. Now organisations as well as individuals are demanding for change.

Overall 'vegan' fashion items should not contain animal, or animal-derived substances. The industry acknowledges the impact fashion has on animals and sustainability, which has encouraged companies to be transparent and communicate effectively.

Non-vegan Products

So, let’s dive into non-vegan products, main materials that spring to mind when we refer to non-vegan materials include fur, leather, and skin (sheepskin, crocodile skin and snakeskin). Although there is a rise in eco-leather (when companies use recycled leather or use the by-product of meat), large companies are still mass-producing leather.

The challenge is mass-production leads can lead to unethical treatment of animals. Over the years more companies have been exposed to the mistreatment of animals within the fashion, industry. So, if we know the issues with non-vegan products, why is it still available?

Why Are Non-Vegan Products Still Popular?

Essentially, non-vegan products are not illegal.

Leather is recognised as practical material, for example it's a protective layer that can be used against harsh weather conditions and carries numerous qualities such as strength and versatility. Natural non-vegan materials such as leather biodegrades in 80 -100 years compared to 'faux leather' that may take over 1,000 years. Additionally, skins like snakeskin have been labelled as a form of wealth within the industry. The reality is although non-vegan fashion items can be considered as unethical, there are still some key points that can’t be ignored.

Synthetic Vegan Materials

Synthetic-vegan materials are on the rise.

Large organisations such as Zara, New look and H&M, state their products are vegan; although this may be true, there are still some challenges.

‘Vegan’ products often mimic leather because it has numerous qualities such as strength and versatility which is used to create leather bags or boots. It’s no secret that the main goal for these organisations is create items from a substance that can deliver the same qualities as non-vegan materials for a cheaper cost. However, most vegan products are often made from PVC or a synthetic/ plastic material, for example, 'Vegan leather', which is not biodegradable.

Did you know that every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations affecting our sea ecosystems?

Ultimately, non-biodegradable materials are destroying not only the environment but biodiversity too. Although vegan products are generally better than non-vegan as the process excludes harming animals, this may not mean it’s better for our planet…

Natural Vegan Materials

After years of research and experimenting within the fashion industry, we are now better positioned where more biodegradable materials have been identified or created. Biodegradable materials are better for the environment as it can biodegrade quicker than synthetic materials. Additionally, it mimics leather with qualities of strength, versatility, and texture. Most of these materials are sourced from Cork, Pineapple leaves, Mushroom and other plant-based ingredients.

Biodegradable solutions are sustainable however still very new to the industry, and it may be a while until it’s sold to mass-audiences.

So, Are Vegan Products Better?

In a nutshell, yes, vegan products are better as it puts a stop to unethical treatment on animals but we need to be aware that synthetic-vegan products still have a negative impact to the environment.

We suggest when you purchase a vegan product, research the material, review whether it's plastic-based and actively look at other biodegradable alternatives.

Hopefully, one-day naturally-sourced-vegan products will become just as popular as synthetic vegan products to help save our planet.

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