Vegan Fashion Fabrics: PETA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describe themselves on their website as the largest animal rights organization worldwide. PETA does their work through “public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.” This means that their actions can range from small awareness efforts online to large, collaborative protests in the streets. The organization is infamous for speaking its mind in all situations.
While PETA is best known for its efforts to stop animal testing, promote a vegan diet, and ban the use of fur, the group only recently became interested in fashion in a larger way. With the rise of “vegan fashion,” it makes sense that the team would feel compelled to weigh in on the conversation. Vegan fashion means omitting clothing which includes any kind of animal product, or is “cruelty-free.” This means more than avoiding fur, but leather, silk, wool, and down as well. Arguments for taking fur and leather out of your wardrobe can seem fairly straight forward, while silk and wool have lesser-known origins. For example, silk comes from silkworms which are usually boiled alive in order to procure the coveted silk thread with minimal effort. As for wool, you might know that wool comes from sheep, though you may not know that animals can be subject to abuse during the process of cultivating wool. Down has a similar story as wool because it consists of feathers which are usually plucked from dead or restrained ducks. The traditional practices used in order to produce many fabrics and fibers can be extremely cruel and organizations like PETA believe they must be avoided at all costs.
If you’ve never learned of these processes before you may be in agreement that they sound unethical but have no idea if there are alternative options. With new technology being established every day and the consistent founding of innovative fashion solutions, there are alternatives available! PETA published a blog post recently outlining suppliers around the world which are producing vegan options for these popular materials. In addition, the organization provided a few brands that exclusively utilize vegan fabrics in their products.
The downside to these vegan options is that many are unfortunately made from plastic or petroleum-based. Companies like Lenzing, Natureworks, and Hemp Traders are beginning to provide options which do not harm animals or the planet, though we still have a ways to go before those values can be fully intertwined. We look forward to seeing what new innovations arrive in the coming years to fill that void! For now, we can check PETA’s list of natural vegan fabrics as a guide.