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Could Fashion Have A Vegan Future?

By newadmin / Published on Saturday, 14 Jan 2023 13:56 PM / No Comments / 4 views

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Ever since it launched a decade ago, Veganuary – a campaign involving going vegan for the month of January – has grown in popularity every year. It’s no surprise then, that an increasing number of people are now considering whether they should look to rid their wardrobes of animal products, too.

One such person is Rebecca Cappelli, filmmaker and director of the documentary Slay, which highlights some of the environmental and ethical problems involved in the production of leather, wool and fur (the latter is already banned by many luxury brands, including Chanel, Gucci and Prada). “There’s a blind spot when it comes to animals in fashion,” Cappelli tells Vogue. “I wanted to make a film putting them into the conversation, but also addressing the harms of [these] industries when it comes to their impact on the planet and on people who either work in the supply chain, or live in communities that are affected by these industries.” 

Indeed, cattle rearing is responsible for an estimated 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the United Nations, as well as being responsible for deforestation in places like the Amazon. While leather is often described as a waste product of the meat industry, it’s definitely an integral part of the business. Meanwhile, the tanning process – when animal hides are turned into leather – often requires a large amount of chemicals, which can end up polluting local waterways (although organisations such as the Leather Working Group are leading efforts to reduce its environmental impact). 

That’s undoubtedly why we’ve seen a boom in alternative leathers of late, ranging from Mylo, made from mushroom roots, on the catwalks of Stella McCartney to Vegea, a grape leather made using waste from the wine industry, at the likes of Ganni, which has committed to phasing out virgin leather completely by the end of the year. Currently, though, many of these alternatives contain some synthetic content, which means they’re difficult to recycle and can’t fully biodegrade, while others, including Mylo, still undergo the tanning process. “To date, we have struggled to find alternatives that do not require a compromise on aesthetics, function or sustainability – particularly [thinking about] end of life –  and therefore have held off [adopting these alternatives],” Vanessa Barboni Hallik, founder and CEO of eco-conscious brand Another Tomorrow, explains. 

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