Veganism has never BEAN so easy

Miranda Stoner on the increasing popularity and easy alternatives of vegan fashion

15th February 2016

As January comes to an end so do exams. You’ve done all you can in the fight for good grades and now it’s time to find a new cause. So why not make February about the animals, after all if Stella McCartney and Queen Bey can dress without wearing animal materials why can’t we?

Veganism has seen increasing popularity as health, environmental and moral reasons become more widely published in films such as Cowspiracy and Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. Support for veganism has grown especially in the New Year as thousands sign the pledge for Veganuary, which is an international initiative where participants go vegan for 1 month cutting out animal products in food, cosmetics, shoes and clothing.

The idea of living without steak and ice cream can seem daunting but limiting your ability to buy clothes is something else, especially as we aren’t as used to checking the labels of clothes for materials as we are to ingredient lists on food packets. Going vegan means no more thick wool sweaters or leather shoes, and silk blouses and fur coats are off limits too. That said, as with food, many alternatives exist which can often be cheaper, for example faux-leather, cotton, faux-fur, denim and jersey. Considering all of that choice there is no need to compromise on style, and faux-fur trimmed hoods are back on the menu.

The Vegan Fashion Awards show that refining your purchases to vegan clothing means not having to compromise on style or affordability

To prove this, PETA’s hosted their own version of London Fashion Week in 2015- The PETA UK Vegan Fashion Awards 2015. PETA’s Yvonne Taylor explains “These are exciting times as compassionate consumers change the face of fashion” and “forward-thinking designers are experimenting with innovative, high-tech materials that are vegan and, therefore, more eco-friendly.” Prizes not only went to top-end designers such as Vivienne Westwood for her mock-croc bag and Karen Millen’s faux leather pleated skirt, but also to new labels such as Piñatex, who received the innovation award for their faux-leather made of pineapple leaves. The material is made especially sustainable due to a low water consumption and ability to thrive without pesticides and fertilizer. Affordable brands also got recognition for their cruelty free clothing with ASOS’s padded gilet with hood picking up the prize for most stylish down-free item and Zara’s sky blue suedette jacket winning most stylish faux-leather item. Meanwhile Dr Martens Vegan 1460 boot made of a synthetic material instead of leather claimed the title of most stylish boot. The Vegan Fashion Awards show that refining your purchases to vegan clothing means not having to compromise on style or affordability.

However, these awards took only a handful of the many designers and well-known brands who don’t use animal based materials. Further examples include Toms’ new vegan shoe collection, coats from Shrimps’ the faux-fur brand straight off London Fashion Week’s runway and American Apparel’s cotton jumper collection. All these options prove that although wearing only vegan clothes seems like a challenge, once you get used to checking the label, wearing animal friendly clothing isn’t particularly restricting and with the internet it is becoming even easier to find even more stylish brands.

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