Fashion trends, by their inherent nature, are bound to change—a lot.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a growing interest in vegan clothing and accessories in fashion. More and more brands are starting to release vegan collections and moving towards better alternatives.
Today, more people than ever recognize that veganism isn’t just something that has to do with your diet. Instead, it is a way of living that permeates into your fashion choices.
But vegan clothing isn’t only influential in the vegan fashion niche. The growing appreciation for vegan options is also starting to affect fashion trends in general. Even luxury brands are taking steps toward positive change, albeit slowly.
An Introduction to Vegan Clothing
But first, let’s talk about the basics of vegan clothing and what it actually means.
Most of us understand that vegan has something to do with the consumption of animal products or by-products. More specifically, the lack thereof.
And indeed, vegan clothing does mean there are no animal-derived materials like leather, fur, wool, suede, and a lot more.
But, vegan clothing should also be free of any animal dyes or glues. As such, it can be a bit of a challenge to determine if a particular piece of clothing is vegan purely by looking at the tag or the product description.
The good news is that there are plenty of digital platforms, like Puratium, who talk about vegan clothing consistently.
On a deeper level, there are incidental details of vegan fashion that are slowly starting to merge with what it means to be vegan.
Many vegan brands are advocating for better materials, ethical sourcing, responsible manufacturing, social responsibility, environmental consciousness, and other movements geared toward positive change.
These aspects are, arguably, the crux of how vegan clothing affects fashion trends, as exhibited by the following:
The Rise of Eco-consciousness
You may have noticed an increasing amount of value given to the environment in fashion. And for good reason! The textile/garment industry is one of the most polluting industries there is. All the chemical processing and dyeing make for a pretty environmentally destructive process.
But how does that have anything to do with veganism in clothing?
So, while veganism is largely about animal products, a significant portion of it is rooted in care. Individuals have their personal reasons for going vegan, But a huge chunk of why people subscribe to the philosophy is that they care for the planet and all that’s in it.
For example, there are some people who go vegan due to the known effects of animal husbandry on the environment. Namely, its high contribution to carbon emissions. Some processing practices, like chrome tanning, are particularly disastrous to the environment as well.
Sure, eco-consciousness and veganism aren’t exactly synonymous with each other—the prevalent use of synthetics gets in the way of that. But, we can’t deny that many vegan brands and their practices inadvertently contribute to the narrative of environmental consideration.
Many known clothing staples are made from animal products. Whether its a classic leather jacket or a cashmere sweater, animals have been utilized in fashion for as long as it has existed.
Today, there are now countless animal-free alternatives to these conventional fabrics. There are plant-based vegan leather options, recycled synthetics, vegetable cashmere, even wood pulp for clothing. And there are more innovative fabrics being developed right now.
Several luxury brands have already banned fur and exotic skins from their collection, which shows the growing value there is in animal and cruelty-free clothing.
While animal-free alternatives are not always the go-to at the moment, they are starting to get an increasing amount of exposure. Plus, the continuous development and innovation ensure that they match the quality and feel provided by classic animal-based fabrics.
Another aspect to consider is the growing appreciation for cruelty-free clothing. Some vegans would argue that the use of animals in production isn’t really cruelty-free as there are no ways to prove it at the moment.
But there has been a heightened interest in peace silk, ethically sourced wool, and some other types of fabrics that do involve animal products but are sourced in an ethical manner. Again, there are arguments against this practice, but the fact that they exist should be an indication of how veganism has influenced fashion in general.
Slow Fashion & Sustainability
For the last couple of decades or so, fast fashion has always been the norm. Low prices and lightning-speed turnovers have defined the world of retail fashion for quite some time now.
But we are also starting to see more brands adopt a slow fashion model. Sure, these brands aren’t big-name retailers like Zara or H&M, but they are championing the start of positive change.
Moreover, people are slowly starting to resist the idea of fast fashion. It’s often unethical, unsustainable, environmentally disastrous, and feeds into the narrative of irresponsible levels of consumption. The influx of available information on the destructive nature of fast fashion has inspired many to slowly resist supporting it.
Vegan clothing is not always slow fashion, not by any means. There are even big vegan clothing brands that follow a fast fashion business model. Nor is it always sustainable as there are plenty of vegan options that aren’t manufactured nor sourced sustainably.
But vegan clothing is largely made with deliberate purpose and intent. As such, many vegan brands are also against the idea of fast fashion and pumping out pieces just for the sake of profit.
Though vegan clothing isn’t necessarily slow, the idea of it has likely influenced how many of us view fashion.
As we’ve mentioned, being vegan isn’t simply about cutting out meat and animal products from your diet. Veganism tackles a deeper relationship between us and what we consume. And it is in that connection that we start to ask more questions about our consumption habits and how it affects others.
There Is Still a Lot to Be Done
The fashion world is still nowhere near as ethical nor sustainable as it should be. But the vegan fashion niche is slowly starting to carve its place in the fashion world. And with that comes growing influence in fashion trends and styles.
For all those trends we mentioned, you can easily turn towards a vegan clothing brand to give them to you. And while not all vegan clothing fits into the description of ethical, sustainable, and eco-conscious, the percentage is strongly skewed in the positive direction.