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Living a vegan lifestyle is more popular than ever, but it requires a bit of research if you’re curious about joining the movement. You’ll have to rethink more than just your diet. Animal products are in many surprising products, including the clothing you already own. Check out this guide to learn about vegan clothing and how you can restyle your wardrobe with your new lifestyle in mind.
What Is Vegan Clothing?
When the average person wants to buy new clothes, they can walk into any store and find something that works for them. Vegans can shop at the same places, but they might not be able to buy the same products. Clothing often contains animal products that could clash with your vegan standards. It depends on how strictly you want to live by the vegan ethos.
Experts define veganism as a lifestyle preference that avoids the exploitation or abuse of animals for purposes such as food and clothing. It can also extend to things like your household decor or recreational activities.
Clothing comes into play when you consider what materials make up the majority of your closet. Obvious clothes like leather jackets wouldn’t abide by vegan standards, but some people may also avoid things like wool sweaters because they rely entirely on animal products.
Why Buy Vegan Clothes?
You might think it’s obvious not to buy leather products if you’re vegan because it requires the death of an animal to mass-produce. Why buy other types of vegan clothes? Harvesting other animal byproducts can still result in the pain and suffering of those animals.
Wool seems like a harmless material for sweaters and socks. Sheep need shearing or their coats will overgrow, leading to higher body temperatures and possibly deaths. However, companies incentivize their employees to work faster by paying them according to how much they can shear. It leads to workers cutting or abusing the sheep in their rush to make more money.
While you’re daydreaming about coordinating new summer outfits or your next big shopping spree, consider what animals experienced to make those clothes show up at your favorite store. The clothes that catch your eye could go against your vegan beliefs, compromising your new lifestyle.
What Includes Animal Products?
Identifying animal products isn’t always a challenge. While you’re planning your next hiking trip, you could avoid leather boots or supplies and think you’ve successfully navigated the world of clothing. There are many other places that people can find animal products in clothing.
Consider your canvas tennis shoes. How does the sole stay inside the shoe? Glue keeps it in place, but that glue could contain animal-based proteins derived from skin, bones and even blood. Animal glue is cost-effective to mass-produce and holds up well against long-term wear and varying temperatures.
Dye can also result from animal abuse. Your favorite red dress or vintage t-shirt likely required crushed cochineal insects to create the vibrant red hue. The purple pajamas you wear every night could use dye from desiccated hypobranchial glands pulled from sea snails.
Even products like silk require animals to create and contribute the ingredients. Review every article of clothing in your wardrobe and inspect the tags closely to determine what made the clothes and if they support your vegan lifestyle.
Where Can You Find Vegan Clothes?
When someone decides to start a plant-based diet, they research what it means to choose new vegan ingredients for meals like chili or salads. Anyone who wants an animal-friendly closet should do the same with the brands they would normally purchase.
You can compare brands based on vegan standards, like having cruelty-free or vegan certifications on every product. These standards ensure that they don’t use animal byproducts or test on animals to deliver their products to consumers. It should also be relatively easy to find this information. It will either be on their product labels or the brand’s website will have a section dedicated to explaining their ethical production processes.
What Can You Do With Vegan Clothing?
Before you can fill your closet with vegan clothing, you might have a significant amount of clothes already in your possession that doesn’t work with your lifestyle. What you do with them depends on what makes you comfortable. Some people will donate their clothes to thrift stores or groups that serve people in need within their community.
Other people prefer to throw the clothes out altogether if they don’t mind the idea of the clothes sitting in landfills. Recycling could also be a potential option if your clothes contain recycled materials. Look up each brand to note the materials in their clothing products to determine the best way to get rid of what you don’t want to wear anymore.
Update Your Wardrobe Today
Now that you know more about vegan clothing, you can rethink your wardrobe. Start updating it after researching possible new brands that fit your style preferences and budget. When you know to make mindful purchases in the future, you’ll create a well-rounded vegan lifestyle that covers all aspects of your wardrobe.
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