What Is Vegan Clothing?
Vegan clothing is a broad category of clothes, shoes, and accessories that are made without any animal products. Most vegan clothing is specially manufactured to adhere to the animal-free and cruelty-free dictates of veganism, but any article of clothing that contains no animal products generally qualifies. Vegan clothing is typically made from renewable resources and may or may not be licensed as pesticide-free.
The term “vegan” is widely applied to people and products that eschew animal products in all forms. Vegans not only do not eat meat but neither to they consume eggs, honey, or dairy products. Following the same pattern, vegan clothing contains no animal products, which means no leather, wool, or fur of any kind.
Along with being animal-free, veganism is also well known for being cruelty-free. Vegans typically believe that humans should exist without any dependence on or use of animals. It is for this reason that things like wool sweaters are considered outside the scope of vegan clothing. Sheep do not die when they are shorn, but sheering practices are not always within the scope of what vegans and other animal rights activists consider humane. Choosing a sweater made of cotton or renewable fibers saves vegans from inadvertently supporting animal cruelty.
Many vegan clothing retailers pair their animal-free mission with a pledge to be eco-friendly. The vegan lifestyle revolves in many ways around a holistic view of life and the world. Avoiding animal-derived products is a part of this, but so is choosing healthy, locally-made foods and products, avoiding pesticides and harsh chemicals, and making life choices that sustain the earth and the environment.
A normal cotton shirt, while animal-free, might not fit every vegan’s description of vegan clothing. Cotton is often grown with the use of a variety of harsh pesticides. Mass produced clothing made in factories is often also disqualified because of the risk of child labor or inequitable sweat shop labor.
Vegan clothes, vegan shoes, and accessories like vegan bags and water bottles are usually made of certified organic, fair-trade materials. Renewable fibers like bamboo and hemp are common, as are organic canvases, eco-friendly polyvinyl, and recycled rubber materials. The details of what makes vegan clothing specifically vegan varies from place to place and from person to person. In most cases, though, vegan clothing is made in a way that does not impact animals, does not impact the environment, and is not oppressive to any person or manufacturer.
There are some really good craft options for vegan clothes if you look on online sites, but you have to be careful to make sure you get something that is certified vegan.
There aren't always government laws surrounding the labeling of clothing and it's all too easy to end up with something where the producers ignore a step that doesn't suit the label.
And it is important to look for organic products, I think in some ways even more important than looking for vegan products. After all, cotton grown with pesticides has killed all kinds of different animals in its journey to the stores.
Wool may or may not have come from one animal which has been mistreated.
@umbra21 - One of the best ways of making vegan clothes, shoes in particular, is making them from recycled material. There are people who make shoes from recycled tires for example.
I agree with you that in some cases vegan clothing might even use more resources (such as land space) than the same clothing grown in different ways.
But, often people who are concerned about vegan essentials are wise enough to look for the best ways in general to making and sourcing their clothes. I definitely respect people who take the trouble to do it.
I've even heard of people who will make their own clothes from scratch. Hemp in particular is a popular fabric for this, although it can be difficult to process that kind of raw material without using industrial methods.
In some cases I think they have their own animals and that way they know they haven't been mistreated in the collection of the wool.
I think there are some problems with wholly vegan clothing that people choose to ignore when they wear it, or particularly when they broadcast that they are wearing it.
There is no way that the world can be fed and clothed with organic farming. I imagine it would be even worse if no one wore wool, and everyone tried to wear other fabrics like bamboo and cotton, as wool can be grown in places where no equivalent will grow.
I don't believe in animal cruelty and I think that we should use sustainable farming methods whenever possible, but when it comes down to it, there is no way that everyone can follow 100% vegan rules.
So compromises have to be made.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from wearing vegan clothes, but I think they should definitely keep in mind that there is no easy solution to world problems of pollution and animal cruelty.
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