More Than Just a Diet – Exploring the World of Vegan Fashion
Veganism has definitely come a long way from its humble beginnings as a fringe diet, poorly understood and virtually unknown to 99% of the population. Ask anyone with an Internet connection today, and they’ll be able to tell you what veganism is, what vegans eat and don’t eat, and even give you a few recommendations for the best vegan restaurants in town.
Veganism has become a worldwide phenomenon, drawing in people from all demographics and age groups, so much so that even many individuals that don’t identify as vegan will still choose vegan options when eating out or doing their weekly grocery shop. However, while the popularity of vegan diets may be on the rise, the majority of consumers are still unaware of the other alternative choices and ethical beliefs that a vegan lifestyle entails.
In this article, we will explore the true meaning of veganism (a philosophical and ethical belief encompassing much more than just the plant-based diet alone) and dive into the unsung world of vegan fashion, so that those who are just coming to the lifestyle this year will be able to make conscious and informed choices going forward!
What is veganism, exactly?
According to The Vegan Society, the first organization to ever coin the term “vegan” back in 1944, veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as practicable and possible, all types of animal exploitation from one’s lifestyle. In simpler words, veganism is a commitment to avoiding all products and actions that profit off the exploitation and suffering of animals. This will of course include animal products like meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and honey but also all the sneaky animal by-products that may be added to personal care items, and finally clothes and accessories.
The mainstream conversation on veganism and vegans is overwhelmingly centered around the food, the healthfulness and environmental sustainability of the plant-based diet, which is more than understandable: following a vegan diet is been proven to be the most impactful way of lowering your carbon footprint and protecting your body from the world’s biggest dietary killers.
Still, the impact that avoiding leather, silk, wool, suede, and other animal-derived fabrics can have on the planet and the animals is often left unexplored – even when the benefits of choosing vegan fashion are just as great.
Vegan fashion and vegan shoes: where’s the exploitation?
Vegans will avoid all fashion items, from coats to shoes and accessories, derived from animal skins and fur. This choice is rooted in the basic vegan ethical principle of avoiding unnecessary and cruel animal exploitation, something that even the most “humane” mainstream fashion companies could never exist without.
In order to make leather, for example, cows and other animals are kept captive from birth, skinned, slaughtered, and their skin tanned – releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and waterways in the process. We are all aware of the cruelty that goes on behind closed doors in the fur trade, but the process behind making wool and suede is not that far off in terms of animal suffering. In the eyes of a vegan, when animals are systematically bred with painful genetic conditions in order to boost profits, kept in impossibly tight spaces, and slaughtered way before their time, no industry practice can ever be humane or free from harm.
The workplace conditions and environmental damage caused by animal products in the fashion industry are just as appalling: in India and Bangladesh, the two biggest exporters of cattle leather, child labor and hazardous, polluted environments are the norm. On the other side of the world, we see the Brazilian cattle industry being responsible for a whopping 14% of the world’s annual deforestation. These troubling figures show that leather, wool, suede, and other similar products are not simply by-products of the livestock industry – they are full-fledged co-products just as profitable and as in-demand as meat and dairy.
So, what is the alternative?
Cruelty-free, ethical, and vegan alternatives for a brighter future
Vegan clothes and shoes were not easy to come by even just ten or five years ago.
Vegans were sadly restricted to a handful of brands with small catalogs and hefty shipping fees, ugly sandals, and non-recyclable pleather fast-fashion. Luckily for today’s vegans, the vegan fashion industry has experienced major growth in recent years, leading to a boom of sustainable and ethical alternatives available online.
BEFLAMBOYANT is committed to being part of the change by offering eco-friendly shoes that are just as kind to the animals as they are to the planet. Vegan doesn’t always mean sustainable, simply taking a look at your local H&M’s pleather items will prove as much. That’s why our vegan sneakers are made with social corporate responsibility practices at the forefront of production, made to last, and made of 100% recycled and sustainable materials – so that no sustainability issue gets left behind. With an unwavering commitment to transparency and fairness, BEFLAMBOYANT’s vegan shoes might just be the answer you were looking for when it comes to truly ethical and environmentally conscious vegan fashion alternatives –the welcome to the wonderful world of vegan fashion you deserve!