Without a doubt, the rise of vegan fashion is huge. Major brands, such as Gucci, Versace and Chanel, have pledged to no longer use real fur. This contributed to the drop-in sales of women’s fur by 41% in the UK alone, in 2018.
Personally, I have never owned real fur, or real leather products. Aside from how expensive they are, I was always fully aware that they were made from animals and that to me never felt right.
In terms of faux fur and leather, of course I think these are much better, and ethical, than killing animals. However, as I’ve began to research into the industry further, I’ve realised that vegan clothes don’t necessarily equal sustainable clothes.
This year I have really became more conscious of my buying, and now I tend to buy second-hand clothing as much as I can. Surely buying leather and fur second-hand is more sustainable than buying new vegan products? Although I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing real fur I understand the argument for buying it second-hand as opposed to buying new faux fur. Second-hand clothing is by far a more sustainable lifestyle choice, and there’s also the argument that garments made of real fur last longer than those in synthetic fabrics.
Veganism in general has grown massively in recent years, and with that fast fashion brands have begun selling vegan products. I think it’s such a difficult thing to say what the “best” thing to buy is, as naturally there are pros and cons to everything. Yes, selling vegan products is amazing in terms of ethics with no animal products or derivatives used, but when it comes from fast fashion companies in particular, they also come with negatives. Fast fashion is not sustainable: there are concerns with environmental issues, workers’ rights and much more.
Learning is the most important thing, if you are conscious of what you’re buying, trying to stay aware of the positives and negatives of products, and trying your best to make changes (no matter how small) then I’d say you are doing an amazing job already.
Unfortunately, when trying to find something that ticks all the boxes, they are more often than not rather expensive. I think that’s why people opt for fast fashion, as it’s more accessible and affordable. I do believe that in time sustainable, vegan products will become more affordable as the demand for them rises but at the moment it just isn’t accessible to everyone and unfair to expect people to only buy from them.
As I’ve already mentioned, fast fashion brands have a lot of negative aspects to them. However, people are going to buy from them regardless, so isn’t it better that they do offer vegan products, or sustainable collections so that individuals can begin to make those small changes?