Ethical Veganism and Sustainable Fashion

This month VegFest London wants to help you veganize your wardrobe! Not only will you be looking fabulous, but you’ll also be helping animals by choosing not to support companies that exploit them. It’s a win-win!

What is ethical veganism?

While the term vegan or veganism is often related to diet, veganism itself is a philosophy which extends into every part of life, including the clothes and accessories you choose to wear.

This is often referred to as ethical veganism, which means you avoid buying, using, wearing, eating, etc. animals and animal products. Essentially, the idea that animals not be used or exploited for human pleasure is extended to all areas of life. The notion is based on the idea that humans do not have the right to oppress or abuse other species simply because they were born a different species.

Photo by  Kyaw Tun  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kyaw Tun on Unsplash

Photo by  Osman Rana  on  Unsplash

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

Just like vegan food, vegan clothing and accessories are created without using animal products. Vegan fashion items are free from wool (including cashmere), fur, silk, feathers, and skins.

Removing all animal products from your wardrobe is a great ethical choice, but in addition to not using animal products, many companies go further to also ensure their products are created using sustainable materials and that workers are treated fairly.

Hooray for ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE consumption!!

Why choose faux?

If you are looking for ways that you can personally help reduce animal suffering, committing to buying vegan clothing whenever possible is a great strategy.

Animal products used in the fashion industry are often by-products of the food industry. Animals are factory farmed to be used for food, but inedible parts of the animals, such as skin or feathers, can be used in clothing.

Refusing to buy non-vegan clothing can help to lower the demand for factory farmed animals and animal agriculture altogether. Oh, and if you were wondering, animal agriculture contributes to 51% of all greenhouse-gas emissions.

On top of the emissions, manufacturing animals’ bodies into wearable fashion has high energy costs. Chemicals are used to preserve animals’ bodies before they are manufactured into clothing and other materials, not to mention the chemicals involved in bleaching and dying, and how those chemicals can be absorbed by your skin.

Photo by  Kiki Falconer  on  Unsplash

Finally, there is the point of speciesism that we touched on in our last blog post. When it comes to living beings, humans do not have the moral right to oppress or exploit other individuals for fashion or any other reason. Just like us, animals are individuals with personalities who enjoy playing, being with their families, and lying in the sun.

The Guide:

Here are VegFest London’s favourite companies that are swapping out animal materials for more ethical choices:

Leather:

  • Olsenhaus

    • Elizabeth Olsenhaus created her fashion line to “illustrate plundering, cruelty, and greed are not synonymous with true style”.

    • When shopping on the Olsenhaus website, currently only a women’s line is offered. However, the company has plans to expand and create men’s clothes, children’s clothes, and household items.

    • The materials used by the company are fair trade, cruelty free, sweatshop free, natural, upcycled, and low-carbon impact.

  • Matt & Nat

    • Matt & Nat’s motto is to “live beautifully” and one of the company’s top values is social responsibility.

    • They offer lines for both men and women. Products include wallets, backpacks, handbags, belts, shoes, briefcases, and more.

    • The company has experimented with different materials including recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber, and cork.

    • All linings are made of 100% recycled plastic water bottles.


Matt & Nat Hiley Matt & Nat Mumbai Matt & Nat Schlepp


“Matt & Nat is my go-to brand for purses and backpacks. I’ve had four of their products so far, all of which have been incredibly durable. After a year of over-stuffing my backpack daily, a strap came loose, but it was easily mended and I am still using the backpack. I would recommend this brand to anyone who’s been searching for an affordable leather alternative.”

- Jackie Yaffa, VegFest London Digital Content Creator


Fur:  

  • FURious Fur

    • FURious fur is a Canadian brand which focuses on vintage and luxury items.

    • Their faux fur is knit from the world’s finest microfibre yarns.

    • Products include a women’s fashion line and a home accessories line and can be bought in Canada via The Bay.

  • Unreal Fur

    • A Melbourne based company that plans to put an end to the use of real fur in fashion

    • Unreal Fur is a top-tier label and sold in stores such as Bloomingdales, Saks 5th Avenue, and Free People.

    • Products include coats, accessories, a kids' line, and more.


Unreal Fur - Madame Butterfly Jacket Unreal Fur - Camille Cape in black


Outerwear:

  • Noize

    • Designed in Montreal, Canada, Noize outerwear products are sure to keep you warm.

    • Their outerwear line is 100% vegan and uses polyester, faux fur, and vegan leather to keep you looking great, even in the cold.

    • In addition to parkas, they also offer hats, scarves, purses, and a spring line of jackets.

  • Wuxly

    • A Toronto, Ontario based company that creates Canadian made outerwear using innovative sustainable fabric and fair labour.

    • Wuxly is all about warmth - the brand’s concept was formed when former pro football player James Yurichuk wanted to provide his South American girlfriend a cruelty free parka to wear around Toronto.

    • Offers a selection of men's and women's parkas, bomber jackets, and vests.


Wuxly - Bison Bomber Wuxly - Doe Parka


“I have a Wuxly jacket and I love it! It is the warmest one I have ever owned! It’s kept me super warm at winter vigils and bearing witness. It’s the only jacket I’ve owned that actually keeps the wind out by the fields.”
- Kristen Houghton, VegFest London Logistics


Shoes:

  • Ahimsa (Brazil)

    • Ahimsa opened the first and only 100% vegan shoe factory in the world. They proudly sign their products as being “handmade with love, in Brazil”.

    • The company hopes to see a cruelty free future and wants to inspire conscious behaviour.

    • They offer all types of men and women’s footwear and ship worldwide.

  • Will’s Vegan Shoes (UK)

    • Established in 2012 by founder Will Green, the company is at the front of vegan clothing and sustainable fashion using only vegan products to create everything from uppers and linings to glue.

    • Believes in safeguarding all life including animals, the planet and humans and is a certified carbon neutral company.

    • They are part of the ethical clothing movement. This means their products are ethically made and their workers are protected.

    • On top of a wide selection of men’s and women’s shoes, they also offer sweaters, bags, wallets, belts, and a children’s line.


WVS - Chelsea Boots WVS - Footbed Sandals WVS - Point Toe Boots WVS -NY Sneakers


“I got a pair of faux leather boots from this company for my birthday and they have been amazing! Sleek, shiny, durable and comfortable. They’re so versatile too! Whether I’m at work, going out for a nice dinner, or dancing at a bar these shoes are dynamite!”

- Jaclyn Carbone, VegFest London Digital Content Creator



Our favourite vegan fashion blogs
Want to keep up on what’s happening in the vegan fashion world? Here’s our go-to blogs.


We hope that next time you’re shopping, whether online or in the store, you’ll keep an eye out for some of these brands. Keep in mind, there are many, many more companies creating innovative products than we were able to list here.

There’s an amazing vegan bag, belt, wallet, or pair of shoes out there for everyone. From high fashion to casual street clothes, there’s a vegan option for every style.

Join the vegan fashion movement and look stylish knowing you’re contributing to a world with more love and compassion.