How to: Shop Cruelty-free Fashion!

Establishing a vegan wardrobe doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Finding cruelty-free clothing and accessories has never been easier! Whether you’re new to cruelty-free shopping and looking to start with a few basics, or a long-time vegan looking to refresh your wardrobe, it’s easy to wear the change you seek in the world!  After all, fabrics don’t have to bleed in order to have a gorgeous, modern, and well-stocked compassionate closet!  Let's shop!


Victoria Emerson scarf, wrap bracelet; MOVMT flats

Go Green with Reusable Shopping Bag

Before you even step out the door, be sure to bring along a reusable shopping bag – because plastic bags are killers!  Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form. Combine that with eight million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean every year (the equivalent of five grocery bags per every foot of coast around the globe), there’s absolutely no need for plastic bags!

Plus, how great is it to remind fellow shoppers of your peaceful choices (available to them too) with a bag that sends a message?  You know the ones: “Shop Like you Give a Damn”, “Vegan For the Animals”, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.
Practice what you preach. And encourage others.


No Leather

As described in our blog Ditch the Leather, Faux is Better, the leather industry is unspeakably cruel, highly toxic, socially irresponsible, and inferior to its alternatives.

  • Avoid: Beneath leather’s smooth and shiny surface are victims that include pigs, goats, sheep and lambs, cats and dogs, deer, elk, buffalo, oxen, yaks, horses, kangaroos, snakes, alligators, elephants, ostriches, fishes, sharks, and even stingrays.
  • Buy: Imitation-leather instead of real, genuine leather or suede. Alternatives include, pleather, cork, rubber, polyurethane, waxed-cotton, and man-made materials.

     
    Will's vegan belts

    No Silk

    Although silkworms produce silk naturally, they are often boiled alive to extract extra amounts of silk.

    • Avoid: Do not purchase clothing or fabric made from silk.
    • Buy: Equally soft alternatives include polyester, nylon, rayon, tussah, ceiba tree and silk-cotton tree filaments, milkweed seed-pod fibers, and tencel, which is fabric made from wood pulp.

    No Wool

    Goats, sheep, camels, and rabbits are raised for their hair. But the wool industry is anything but warm and fuzzy. The wool industry is cruel, bloody, and infested with violence in ways that could warrant animal-cruelty charges if the victims were dogs or cats.  There are plenty of durable, stylish, and warm fabrics available that aren’t made from wool. (Read our Happy Year of the Sheep blog)

    • Avoid: Wool products made of angora, cashmere, pashmina, mohair, camel hair, and shearling.
    • Buy: Alternative wool materials such as polyester fleece, hemp, cotton flannel, acrylic, orlon, synthetic wool, synthetic fleece, and any other wool fabric preceded by "synthetic."


    Jaan J. tie; Wills belt, brogues

    No Feathers

    The down industry consists of abusing birds for their feathers. Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to birds’ skin. These feathers are highly valued by manufacturers because they do not have quills. Geese and ducks plucked alive, causing great pain and distress, and the process may be repeated every six weeks until they are slaughtered for meat. Buying down can also support the cruelty of the foie gras industry.

    • Avoid: Clothing made from down or animal feathers.
    • Buy: Substitutes for down, such as polyester fill, synthetic down, down-alternative, and hypo-allergenic synthetic down.

    No Fur

    Every fur coat and fur trim caused an animal tremendous suffering —and took away a life. Fur and pelts are taken from animals raised or trapped specifically for their fur such as foxes, baby seals, minks, lynxes, rabbits and more. Luckily, there is no need to be cruel to stay warm and look cool. Cruelty-free fabrics and faux furs are available.

    • Avoid: Clothing labeled with animal furs and animal pelts.
    • *Buy: Clothing labeled with faux fur, polyester, acrylic, or mod-acrylic, all of which can accurately replicate fur.

    *There have been highly publicized instances of genuine fur deliberately mislabeled as faux fur, so if you’re not sure, look for another vegan-friendly alternative altogether.

    Always Read Labels

    Read clothing labels closely to find alternative products that imitate animal-based fabrics, derived from plant sources, and when possible, upcycled and organic. Check out our comprehensive list of vegan and non-vegan fabrics.


    Stephanie Boyd
    Stephanie Boyd

    Author



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