All of these materials are either by-products or made from animals themselves.
Sometimes it’s hard enough to find the right pair of shoes, handbag, jeans (or in my case winter coat). And that’s before you take out all of the options that aren’t vegan. However, there are some materials you’d probably like to swerve.
Below are the problematic, non-vegan materials often found in our fashion products:
Leather is the skin of animals, usually cattle. The raw skin is removed from the dead animal and then tanned in a variety of different ways to produce what we know to be leather.
Fur is the thick hair that covers animal skin and has been seen as a high-end item in previous decades. The current issue is the increase in ‘fake fur’ that’s been found to have included real fur, unknown to retailers.
Suede is actually a type of leather, however it’s the underside of the skin, so it creates a napped finish. It’s often lambs that suede comes from, although many other animals such as calf and deer that are skinned for suede for our bags, shoes and accessories.
This acid derived from animal fat appears in cosmetics, but is also often in our 5p plastic bags. We all know that plastic is bad for the environment, but this is another reason to remember to take our canvas bag out shopping!
Yes, this pesky product made by boiling animal tissue and bones even makes it into some shoe glues (as well as gummy bears). Something to be mindful of if you’d like to be a super vegan.
Whilst birds aren’t killed for their feathers, the sad reality is that when their production of feathers naturally declines, they are slaughtered. Alternatively, feathers are a by-product of the meat industry, so purchasing them unfortunately supports the slaughter industry.
Silkworms create their cocoons by weaving silk. Unfortunately the silk is obtained whilst gassing, or steaming the silkworms themselves and therefore they are killed in the production of silk.
Whilst sheep are sheared, there are major animal welfare issues with this practice (often to do with the speed in which this is carried out on an industrial scale).
Cashmere is from goats and, similar to wool, is not a cruelty free process.
‘Proper’ velvet, aka velvet that’s made traditionally, actually contains silk fibres. Although, it’s important to note that some velvets are synthetic and animal-product free. It’s just a case of double checking so that you don’t accidentally purchase silk fibres.
Given that clothes and shoes are often made from numerous materials, it can often be that a small percentage of the item contains one of the materials above. This can be super frustrating, however there are many products available that mean animal by-products can be completely avoided.