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When is Clothing Vegan?

February 16, 2020

Today we are talking about a very important topic closely related to sustainable fashion: vegan clothing. We will answer the most frequently asked questions, but if after reading the article you still have questions, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

What is Vegan Clothing?

A sustainable choice? A marketing gimmick? We can define vegan clothing as a facet of sustainable fashion, but certainly not the only one. Sustainable fashion has evolved rapidly in recent years and today we can distinguish it through product labels.

Buying vegan clothing can really make a difference to the animal kingdom. Reducing the use of animal-based materials in textile production - one of the cruellest industries when it comes to animal exploitation - is a concrete and easily achievable goal, but only if we all put a little effort into spreading the right information.

Pinpointing a vegan product is not always easy, but we at Slow Nature are here to help you understand the various labels. We also want to show you how to recognize ecological fabric labels: a key aspect when talking about vegan clothing. In addition to not using animal-based materials, products "should" also be made using materials with a low environmental footprint whether that be of natural, artificial or synthetic origin.

It would be easy to think that avoiding buying products like leather, wool, silk, feathers or fur is enough - and that is partially is true. But those who look for textile certifications as an integral part of sustainable fashion know that avoiding animal-based materials is not always the same as choosing Cruelty Free.

When Can We Call Clothing "Vegan"

Clothing is vegan when it has textile certifications guaranteeing it's production is free from animal-based raw materials and animal exploitation . There are several international labels that recognize this but the ones you will most often find are:

  • PETA
  • Animal Free
  • VeganOK
  • FurFree

Discover more about textile certifications

It is really important to distinguish between vegan clothing and ecological or ethical clothing. By ecological we mean a product that respects the environment; by ethical we mean a product that respects workers' rights throughout the whole textile supply chain; while by vegan we mean products that not only do not use animal-based raw materials, but do not exploit animals during manufacturing.

Distinguish is the watchword here. If we have a product certified as vegan, perhaps produced in India, it would be ideal if that same product is also certified as ethical. This is different to a product made in Europe, where in most cases production respects the working standards imposed by the United Nations (UN).

Keep in mind that even if you buy a product made in Europe, especially if we are talking about products made of natural fibres such as cotton, jute, hemp, linen, etc., the textile fibre will in most cases come from Asia, where environmental concerns are likely to be ignored in the absence of regulatory controls - exactly the kind textile certifications we are talking about.

We should be able to demand that the rights of animals are respected and they are not exploited. However, we must bear in mind that industrial waste, pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic substances used in conventional agriculture, as well as laboratory-produced materials (synthetic/artificial), actively contribute to the general malaise of the animal world (we are thinking mostly about fish, polluted rivers and seas, and the problem of microplastics).

Buying a synthetic product is not the same buying vegan.

This is why we usually prefer the label organic clothing, to vegan because it covers both values of ethical responsibility and environmental sustainability. Vegan certifications hardly ever assess the environmental impact of a product, often limiting themselves to certifying fashion brands that do not use animal-based materials.

Vegan Clothing Online and In Store

Let's be honest, vegan clothing is still "rare" to find in high street shops, but it is certainly easier to find online. This article is to help you recognize the labels, and we hope it will be useful as you shop consciously.

We are certain, and we hope, that these types of products will soon be easily available in stores.

In the meantime you can avoid buying animal-based materials, such as leather, fur, feathers, regular silk, wool in any form. But always with an eye on the environment. Look at the labels and try to find certified products with a low environmental footprint.

Why Vegan Clothing is Important

We believe that the answer to this question can be found in every line of this article: vegan clothing is important to safeguard animals.

In the last few years we have killed off huge numbers of natural species - that is not counting those individuals lost to intensive farming - and the textile industry is largely responsible for this.

We are all growing more aware today, but not all of us are able to change our shopping habits.

Would you like to buy vegan products? Slow Nature is the right place to come as we offer an exclusive vegan clothing selection on our website.


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