Not Just a Trend: The Global Shift Towards Sustainable Fashion
Animal fur, leather, and wool? Consumers are saying “no, thank you” to cruel, unsustainable, and outdated fashion. Now more than ever, clothing and footwear companies are creating innovative products from unique materials to meet the growing demand for environmentally-friendly products created by mission-driven companies.
Millennials (people born between 1981-1996) are now the largest generation and consumer group in the United States because populations grow exponentially, with roughly 72 million individuals in 2019. On the global scale, millennials account for 27 percent of the population or 2 billion people worldwide. This age group has tremendous buying power and influence, and it is no surprise that this generally more eco-conscious demographic commonly denounces the use of animal fur and is increasingly against using animal skins for leather.
The production and use of fur and leather are not only cruel and unnecessary, but unsustainable and detrimental to the environment. The production of fur, leather, and wool involves hazardous waste products and chemicals that end up in groundwater, soil, and air which poses health risks to humans and animals.
Fur farms are responsible for animals’ urine and feces polluting the surrounding environment. Once the fur is ripped from the bodies of animals, it goes through a long, energy-intensive process that includes the use of sulfuric acid, ammonium chloride, formaldehyde, and many other toxic chemicals before being sold.
Leather and wool products are no better. The stolen, highly-processed skins of cows/calves, sheep, pigs, goats, lambs, snakes, lizards, kangaroos, crocodiles, elephants, ostriches, are collectively known as leather. The tanning process of animal skin to create leather material requires large amounts of energy and chemicals, salts, oils, and dyes to preserve and artificially enhance animals’ skin to produce clothing, accessories, furniture, and other products.
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Companies around the world are listening to what millennials and the eco-conscious consumers who came before them have to say in order to survive. Perhaps one of the best examples of how businesses are adapting to consumer demand is a change made by luxury outerwear manufacturer, Canada Goose. After years of campaigning by dedicated organizations and activists, Canada Goose recently announced that it is going fur-free due to worldwide opposition to its trapping and torture of coyotes to produce fur trim. This tremendous win exemplifies the power of our collective voices and now we are demanding the company to truly embody sustainable fashion by also eliminating goose down, which is just as cruel as fur.
The demand for vegan apparel doesn’t stop at outerwear. In fact, the current valuation of the vegan footwear market is roughly $24.8 billion. A prime example of the shift towards sustainable footwear is Adidas’ 100% vegan “Stan Smith” sneaker featuring vegan materials and recycled rubber. It also released the “Superstar Vegan Shoes” which delivers their iconic three-stripe design without the cruelty. While we value the company’s efforts, it is not enough. Every shoe it continues to make with leather was once a living, breathing animal capable of feeling love, pain, and joy. Please join us in urging Adidas and Nike to eliminate the use of kangaroo skin to produce athletic shoes.
Recently, Vans also launched a new collection called “Eco Theory.” This shoe collection is made from organic cotton, organic rubber, jute laces, and cork-lined inserts. Not only are these plant-based materials sustainable, the adhesives and ink are also water-based. For a company that is primarily worn by younger audiences, it is amazing to see how it is showcasing sustainable collections that deliver style with a purpose!
Crocs has pledged to make all collections of its infamous slip-on clogs 100% vegan to help fight the climate crisis and become a net-zero company by 2030. The collective, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) offers vegan hiking boots, and Rothy’s shoes are vegan and made from recycled plastic bottles. Cruelty-free footwear and lifestyle accessories online retailer, ethicalWARES, offers a wide range of vegan sneakers, boots, bags, and more. BHAVA footwear is animal-free and has a shoe for every occasion! Will’s Vegan Footwear is a go-to for people wanting an animal-free (and worry-free) shopping experience with plenty of high-quality options. SAOLA offers sneakers made with natural cork, harvested algae foam, and recycled plastic to make a perfect sustainable combo for maximum comfort and style.
The simplest way to help others choose animal-friendly apparel is by showing them what’s out there! Tag us on Instagram or duet/stitch our ethical fashion video on TikTok to share your favorite sustainable and vegan products!