I am a runner, I love my workout, being outside, clearing my head and feel alert and active.
As a Vegan it is easy to buy cruelty free Sports Outfits. Most textiles are of non animal origin as those are supposed to be best when working out.
When it comes to your day-to-day clothes or going out, things are different. Obviously most shoes are made of leather, so are many handbags or wallets. Wool it used in many clothes for the Winter months and coats often have “fake fur” attached to the Hoodie.
Fake fur often is fur from dogs and cats. Not many people know this, so check the labels. Only if the fur is labelled as synthetic, it really is.
Now again, it is up what kind of choices you would like to make when it comes to your lifestyle.
In the past 10 yrs the only Vegan shoes I found where “plastic” shoes. So how about the footprint of CO2 while those were produced? What happens after I don’t wear them anymore and throw them away? How long will it take for them to dissolve? And: Do I want plastic on my feet?
In the past years, I have seen some companies coming up with a solution to this issue. There is now plant based “Leather”. One company uses Pineapple Leaves, the other Mushrooms. Their product looked really nice! Unfortunately I have not seen any of this in the UK, so I am waiting for this to develop.
Buying woollen products seems to be a big concern as well. Whereas cutting off the wool will not hurt a sheep, it is again the raising of the animals and the abuse often involved in this that is the problem. Especially wool from Australia seems to be produced under horrific circumstances.
In Scotland we do have sheep, lots of sheep. If you live here or have ever been to the Highlands and Islands, you will see them walking around in the hills, fields and lying on the streets. They are marked with a spraying paint so all the shepherds will know which sheeps is whose. On the Isle of Skye I have seen sheep taking over the streets 🙂
And some of them rubbed off chunks of their wool as if “naturally” shaven.
Scottish sheep are only shaven in the summer months and there is no big temperature difference here (like in Australia). You might even be able to watch people do it when you pass by (I once came across this on the side of the street).
The issue with Leather is most certainly that it comes from mass produced animals. Also the production of leather involves many chemicals which the workers (in Turkey for example) are exposed to and produce toxic waste.
Again, there are sensible approaches. Some companies (like El Naturalista) try a different approach and there was a company that would only use leather from naturally deceased animals. A friend of mine has two handbags that are made out of old leather seats from the car industry.
What I would recommend when it comes to fashion: Do your research, try to make the amends you would like to do. You can buy second hand, you can buy Eco Fashion, you can buy from companies that offer great transparency when it comes to their products (also in terms of human exploitation like the factories in Bangladesh).
Follow your path as you want to and can afford. Maybe less fashion that is good and ethical high quality is better than having too much?