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Faux for nature - vegan fashion

Sustainable, ethical, cruelty-free - what do they have to do with vegan fashion?

By Natalie Daghestani

Published: Fri 15 Jan 2021, 3:49 PM

Before exploring the concept of vegan fashion, it is important first to understand the term veganism. Veganism is a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, whether for food, clothing, or other purposes.

In addition to eating a plant-based diet, most vegans choose to include only animal-free fashion in their wardrobes. Animal-welfare is a priority for us, as we don't want any living beings to suffer or lose their lives for us to wear beautiful pieces. Many may agree with the sentiment, but at the same time, the thought of 'giving up' on luxury looks they have grown to love, is hardly an enticing option.

That's the beauty of vegan fashion and materials such as vegan leather.

As the name implies, vegan leather is an alternative to traditional leather without needing to harm animals. It can look and feel identical and tends to have a less negative impact on the environment, and on the workers who help produce the material.

'Traditional' fashion relies on animals as a source of materials - think leather bags, fur coats, snakeskin purses, woollen jumpers, silk blouses. Vegan versions of all these pieces now exist, using similar, and often identical, man-made and natural alternative materials. Thanks to technology and creative designers, we can mimic similar looks to traditional fashion materials - without harming animals or the environment as much. Meaning you don't have to give up on luxurious looks and quality you have grown to love, if you want to live more ethically and sustainably.

Many types of vegan leathers exist, ranging from sustainably pressed natural cork, paper and teak leaf, to 'eco suede' made from recycled polyester and (vegan) waxed organic cotton canvas. Even unusual mushroom, cactus and fruit leather has been developed. Piñatex for example, is an innovative leather-alternative created from pineapple leaf fibres and apple leather is a bio-based vegan leather material derived from organic apples grown in the Italian Alps bound with polyurethane (PU). PU is a traditional variation on vegan leather that is also resilient, flexible, and durable. Although not as sustainable as the first natural materials mentioned above, this synthetic fabric doesn't do half the damage caused by the leather industry.

According to the 2017 Pulse of The Fashion industry report, "Synthetic leather has only a third of the environmental impact of cow leather. Switching to alternative materials can directly improve a product's footprint."

Animal agriculture is also responsible for up to 91 per cent of Amazon rainforest destruction. Not only is land required to raise these animals, but it is also needed to grow their feed - a hugely inefficient use of resources.

Vegan fashion brands believe that animals are not materials, and that nature is for inspiration, not exploitation. Inspired by the unspoiled beauty of the Earth, these brands bridge the gap between fashion and compassion through their range of premium vegan apparel and accessories. They believe that animals, our fellow earthlings, are here with us, not for us.

Each item is expertly and ethically crafted with sustainability in mind, using the highest quality vegan materials, offering the ultimate in contemporary cruelty-free luxury.

Animal agriculture is unsustainable long-term, vegan fashion brands are empowering conscious consumers to make a difference by moving away from the problem and choosing to be the solution.

Vegan doesn't necessarily mean sustainable but this is also a very important aspect of fashion. Some vegan and sustainable materials brands use from product to packaging include:

  • Water-resistant, glossy, signature printed Saffiano textured PU.
  • Ultra-microfibre, high-quality grade, synthetic vegan leather - soft, supple, strikingly similar to real leather and cherished as one of the best leather alternatives in the world.
  • Certified organic cotton for linings made from natural seeds without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
  • Dust bags made from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Compostable mailer pouches for shipping.
  • 100 per cent recycled cardboard for packaging.
  • Certified sustainable and vegan production facilities.
  • PETA-approved vegan apparel.

Natalie Daghestani is the Co-founder of Dubai-based luxury vegan bag brand Eurthlin


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