I’ve been vegan for three and a half years now. Long gone are the days of leather shoes, woolly jumpers and silk blouses (I honestly don’t think I ever owned any of those things). However, only recently did I realise how much of a hypocrite I was when it comes to clothes.
Veganism is about causing the least amount of suffering possible towards every living being. Yes, that includes humans as well as animals. To ignore underpaid, underprivileged workers in digusting working conditions when you’re looking for faux leather shoes is hypocritical. That’s why I decided to make the switch.
Of course cost is something to consider. Cruelty free items are usually a lot pricier than their sweat-shop counterparts. Saving for investment pieces when you’re desperate for something immediately isn’t easy. That’s why I still own many of my old clothes to keep as backups until I can afford to replace them.Becoming a Minimalist
Embracing minimalism is never something I considered before. What’s the point? I used to think. When I did more research I realised how important and essential it is especially in our current society.
As limited resources become a bigger issue, consumerism continues to thrive. It isn’t sustainable and yet so many unethical, capitalistic industries make billions every year. Think about companies like Primark, creating cheap, disposable clothes that will end up in landfill. The environment can’t take it, the underpaid workers can’t take it and you shouldn’t take it either. It’s time to stand up and tell these industries that these aren’t the types of companies we want to support any more.
What do we want instead? Ethically made, fair trade, vegan, sustainable clothes for all types of body types (I’m looking at you American Apparel with your teeny tiny sizes).
Clothes are an Investment
In the long run, investing in good quality pieces will be cheaper even if it is initially more expensive. For example, buying one black dress from a sustainable retailer might be double, triple, maybe even quadruple the price of one from a fast-fashion company, but the quality will make the dress last double, triple or quadruple the length of time.
I get it, though. It’s not easy for some people to invest in expensive items when their budget only allows purchases of cheap, short-term items. This is another system that allows the rich to get richer and the poor to stay poor. When people can only afford low-quality products, they’ll need to keep replacing them with more low-quality products in turn, they’re spending more money in the long run.
The solution? Charity shops! The great thing is that vintage clothes are quite fashionable these days. Another option is to hand-make your own clothes if you have the skills or you could purchase other handmade goods on Etsy.
I have a lot to say about this topic so prepare for more blog posts soon, including a where to shop guide and a companies to avoid list, tips and tricks to make the switch on a budget and more.