Saturday, May 25, 2019

3 Things You Didn't Know About Cruelty-Free Fashion

Over the past decade, society at large has become increasingly conscious of how its decisions and consumption have had a negative impact upon the planet and its wildlife.

We’ve ditched plastic bags, we’re eating less meat – the number of vegans in the UK has quadrupled to 600,000 since 2014 – and we’re being more conscious when it comes to fashion and beauty. So when it come to fashion we’ve put together some of the information you need to help you shop more consciously:

Leather, fur and feathers

One of the first things to keep an eye out for when shopping is whether the brands you’re purchasing from, test their products on animals, or whether they use animal products at any stage of the production process.

Leather and exotic skins such as snake or crocodile, for example, have been considered a staple of the fashion industry for several years. According to PETA, leather is one of the worst materials for the environment. It causes similar levels of environmental destruction as the meat industry and pollutes the earth with the chemicals used for tanning.

Thankfully, most major clothing brands offer animal-free leather, fur and feathers today.

Animal testing regulations

Looking at what a garment or beauty product is made of, and its country of origin, is the first step when purchasing your cruelty-free fashion.

One thing you really need to be aware of is the regulations within the country of origin, and also that fashion supply chains can span across the globe. A brand may source their buttons from China, cotton from India, and actually produce the item in Vietnam, for example, in order to find the cheapest options available. If a garment is ‘Made in USA’, that may only mean that the final origin of the product was the USA.

In China it is mandatory to test cosmetics on animals. So even if a beauty brand claims that its products are not tested on animals, this is not the case if their products are sold in China.

If you’re not sure, try using a widely used hashtag like #whomademyclothes to flag up any questions.

Corporate social responsibility

Many companies ensure that their clothing is labelled ‘Fair Trade’, which means that the company making the clothing has pledged to protect farmers’ and production workers’ rights.

Many corporations will also make an effort to spend time on volunteer work, sustainability, and fundraising. Debenhams, for example, have pledged to raise £1 million per year for their charity partners – and they are also vehemently against animal testing.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is how brands deal with their waste. An estimated 235 million items of clothing were sent to UK landfill in 2017, according to a report by Sainsbury’s. Brands like Sainsbury’s and Debenhams are amongst a handful of fashion brands who have pledged to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Ultimately, trying to shop responsibly can be incredibly difficult – but the first step is identifying the brands you trust to behave in a socially responsible way, and go from there.