Whether it’s for moral, environmental, or health reasons, many people are going vegan. But while veganism is often associated with drinking soy lattes and ordering tofu instead, there’s a lot more to it than just what you eat — it’s a way of life.
Whether you’re looking to change to a kinder diet or feeling a bit veg-curious, we’ve assembled a small guide to help you with the fashion aspect of vegan life.
Odds are, most of the clothing you own is already vegan, but there are many animal-based materials you can swap out for vegan-friendly alternatives.
First up is leather. Being made of animal skins, leather is perhaps the most notorious animal-based material, but you can get the same effect with alternative fabrics. Bicast leather, or alternative leather, is a synthetic polymer blend intended to substitute for leather in upholstery, clothing, footwear and fabrics.
Another, more out-of-the-box alternative is MuSkin, a new type of vegan leather made out of the skin of mushroom caps using a non-toxic tanning process. The leather produced is biodegradable, and superior to animal leather in breathability, water resistance and softness.
Fur garments fill high fashion, but wolves, foxes, rabbits, mink, chinchillas, and even cats and dogs pay the price for them. With fur, it’s almost impossible to know whether the animal died humanely, so it’s best for vegan lifestylers to avoid the product altogether. Faux fur is readily available at most clothing stores that give you that cozy feel with a clear conscience.
We don’t often think of silk as cruel, but the manufacturing of silk traditionally involves boiling silkworms alive. Ahisma silk provides a solution by harvesting the material in a more humane manner. It’s sometimes referred to as “peace silk” and makes beautiful products like these “peace scarfs” from an Etsy shop.
With the cold weather coming, let’s talk about wool. Although sheep, alpacas, and angora rabbits aren’t killed in the process of making wool, they’re often hurt in the process. While synthetic wool isn’t an option (yet), there are many cozy alternatives to wool, such as cotton, flannel, and polyester fleece.
For instance, Patagonia makes cozy fleeces and sweaters out of hemp, organic cotton, recycled down, recycled wool and recycled polyester, so you know nothing was harmed to keep you warm this winter.
With so many cruelty free options available, it’s easy to have an entirely vegan beauty routine by avoiding key animal-based ingredients like beeswax and honey , lanolin , squalene, carmine, tallow, collagen, allantoin and elastin.
A lot of makeup companies test on animals. To help you avoid contributing to cruel testing, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite vegan brands:
e.l.f. Cosmetics: This brand is high quality but reasonably priced. Their makeup brushes don’t shed bristles and are fairly cheap.
ColourPop: This indie brand is only available online, but they’re critically acclaimed for their high quality eyeshadows that come in every colour you could imagine. Only some of their products are vegan though so make sure you check before purchasing!
WetNWild: You can afford to try funky colours and bold looks with this less expensive brand. They don’t test on animals and are currently working towards becoming 100 percent vegan.
For vegan men’s and women’s bodycare and hygiene products, try LUSH. All their products are cruelty free and smell incredible.
Hair products and dyes can sometimes be a little difficult to find, but with a little bit of looking you can find lots of great ethical options. For shampoos and conditioners, vegan brands include L’Oreal EverPure, Avalon Organics, Kiss My Face and Nature’s Gate.
If you’re looking for a colour pop without hurting living creatures in the process, some vegan hair dyes and colouring products include Surya Brasil Henna Cream, Manic Panic hair colour, Developlus, Shea Moisture and Morrocco Method.
If you’re dying you hair at a salon, salons that offer vegan treatments include Aveda and Paul Mitchell.
Veganism isn’t all about removing meat from your diet, it’s a lifestyle, and there are numerous options out there for ethically conscious consumers. Your conscience — and the animals — will thank you.
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