It’s here!! Veganuary- an annual event where we celebrate the advantages of veganism for humans, animals and the environment! The whole month of January is dedicated to Vegan Lifestyle and we’d like you to use this time to make some positive life changes you've always dreamed about :)
At FERRON, we believe that no animal should be harmed for food, fashion nor entertainment and we always advocate cruelty- free way of life. It’s pretty easy to go vegan when it comes to food. It’s a little bit trickier when it comes to fashion, beauty and homeware. Do not worry though, we’re happy to share our knowledge and make the transition as easy and simple experience for you. Not only for the month of January, but for the rest of your life! Scroll down the page to learn more :)
Some animal products, like fur or leather, are pretty obvious, but others might be a little harder to spot, for instance silk, feathers, angora, pashmina, mohair, etc. It’s even more difficult to “spot” animal harming when it comes to beauty products, candles, etc. It can get a bit confusing and overwhelming to shop cruelty- free with all the different logos and symbols provided on the packaging. We certainly hope that the below will help you make the right choice moving forward.
Fashion is ever changing and whilst fur is seen by most people as a no-go, and has been banned by many brands, unfortunately leather is still commonly used in bags, shoes and accessories.
Misleadingly, leather is often described as a 'by-product' of the meat and dairy industry. However, it's more accurate to describe it as a co-product – an industry with over one billion animals killed every year for leather alone, and meat and dairy farming economically dependent on leather revenues.
In terms of environmental impact, leather has been shown to be the most damaging of all materials used in fashion. A massive study called Pulse of the Fashion Industry (summary can be found here) looked at the environmental damage caused by a large range of materials commonly used in fashion and found leather to have the worst environmental impact, more than twice that of PU / polyurethane-based (plastic) leather. Our demand for leather is also a key contributor to the destruction of the Amazon.
What's the alternative?
It’s now easier than ever to shop vegan fashion! Vegan fashion is possible, it’s affordable and completely ethical. Trust me, there are a lot of up and coming brands that offer a range of cruelty- free and ethical products. The vast majority of the vegan stores operate online so you can dress yourself sustainably from head to toe without the need for leaving the comfort of your four walls! This comes pretty handy at the moment, taking the current situation into an account.
Also, most of the mainstream high street stores offer animal derived-free products, so there are affordable alternatives for everyone’s budget. Just please make sure to check the label! If the information provided is unclear, I say it's about time to contact the company and ask them to clarify the ingredients. Or better yet, register their products with PETA!
If you don’t have time or don’t feel like doing all the research in terms of vegan brands you’d be willing to invest into, remember that there are many online marketplaces that curate whole vegan lookbook outfit ideas for you. Those marketplaces investigate and verify that each brand is indeed vegan and cruelty- free before they introduce their products onto their virtual store. They basically do the legwork and homework for you!
For more information, you can read our articles The Future of Luxury is Not Leather. and Vegan fashion - my favourite vegan brands and where to find them.
Wool. The issue of unethical production of wool is heavily misunderstood. The perception is that the sheep are sheared, and can live their happy lives from the trimming cycle to the next one, etc. One might think that there is nothing cruel in farming sheep for wool, that the sheep are not killed. This is a very common misconception and a less obvious example of animal suffering in the fashion industry.
Sadly, it couldn’t be more far from the truth! Although we don’t obtain wool by killing sheep as such, they ultimately die for us to wear the fabric! That's because once sheep stop producing wool, which happens after a few shearing rounds, they are sent off to slaughter houses. Some also die as a result of poor farming conditions.
It goes without saying that shearing is extremely stressful to the sheep and can result in serious injuries. Shearers in the wool industry are often underpaid, and are paid by the volume of wool they produce and not the hours they work, meaning that it's in their best interest to work as quickly as possible.
What's the alternative?
Look for organic cotton, or other natural, sustainable textiles such as linen or bamboo. These are still soft and warm, non-irritant (many people suffer allergies to wool), much more sustainable, and delightfully animal-free. There are lots of alternatives which we talk about in How to dress cosy without using wool or fur?
Animal testing for cosmetics, toiletry products and their ingredients is banned in the UK and across the European Union. However, in some countries – China, for example – it is compulsory for any company that sells cosmetics to pay for their products to be tested on animals. That means that a company selling cruelty-free in the UK or Europe may still be testing on animals in China. Also be aware that just because a product is listed as having vegan ingredients, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not been tested on animals.
What's the alternative?
If you want to avoid buying products that have been tested on animals, look out for the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny symbol (you'll also see this on household products), PETA’s Cruelty-Free Bunny logo. If you want to also avoid supporting any parent companies who still test on animals, this list by PETA will greatly help you.
It can be much harder to avoid animal ingredients in your beauty products, candles and fragrances, as they're often hidden in long ingredients lists, with names that don't clearly indicate what they are. Common ingredients (and there are many, many more) include: beeswax (used in balms, lotions and make-up). gelatin (boiled skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of animals), found in make-up, lanolin (the excretion from wool-bearing mammals), found in lipsticks and make-up removers. Candles often contain stearic acid (which usually comes from animal fat) or beeswax. The fragrances used in candles, perfumes and diffusers may contain extracts of milk, honey, leather, beeswax and animal secretions (such as Musk, Civet, Castoreum and Ambergris).
What's the alternative?
To avoid products that contain animal ingredients, always check the labels. Invest in fragrances derived from natural essential oils, and use brands that tell you where they source their materials.look for the Vegan symbols such as those from The Vegan Society or PETA. Good sources of information on these include One Green Planet, Public Goods and Ethical Elephant.
I hope this inspires you to shop more ethically, and helps you in understanding vegan products and brands that are worth investing into. And best of luck with your new lifestyle choices, enjoy it!