7 Tips for Choosing Fashion That's Cruelty-Free ...

If you're concerned about animal welfare, you'll want to choose fashion that's cruelty-free. And we should all make some effort to choose clothing and accessories that don't cause suffering to animals. Fur is the obvious fabric to avoid, but cruelty-free fashion involves avoiding other fabrics as well. So what can you do to ensure that you're only wearing garments that are cruelty-free? Try these tips to help …

1. Fur

Real fur belongs on the animal. Choose faux fur instead, which is a lovely alternative to the real thing. But be wary when you buy something with a faux fur trim. Some unscrupulous manufacturers label rabbit fur as faux fur. Always touch the fur trim on an item to check - you'll know from the feel of it if it's real or fake fur.

2. Silk

We don't consider the cruelty that goes into making silk, but here it is - around 3,000 silkworms die to make a pound of silk. That's maybe three shirts, so 1,000 silkworms have died to make your silk blouse. Insects may not be cuddly and cute, but this is still wrong, so look for synthetic alternatives to silk instead. There are some very good fabrics around.

3. Shoes

Good leather-free shoes can be hard to find in the stores. It's one of those things where you get what you pay for; cheap non-leather shoes will soon wear and fall apart. You're better off investing in a more expensive pair; there are many quality vegan shoe brands online, so search for 'vegan shoes' or 'vegan shoe brands'.

4. Vegan Fashion Labels

If you shop with a label that specialises in cruelty-free fashion, you can be sure that whatever you buy is 100% cruelty-free. Many companies have sprung up offering cruelty-free fashion to conscientious buyers. Here's a list of just some of the vegan fashion brands around the world peta.org. Designer brands mostly use fur; a notable exception is Stella McCartney.

5. Leather & Suede

You'll also need to be careful when buying bags, belts and other accessories. Always check a label to see if an item is made from genuine leather or suede. There are some excellent synthetic alternatives, so you can buy all the accessories you need without buying anything made of leather.

6. Wool, Angora & Cashmere

Vegans avoid wearing wool, because it is an animal product. But there are other textiles that are even more cruel. Don't buy anything made of angora, cashmere or astrakhan (which is truly appalling). There are some lovely soft sweaters made of synthetic materials, and you don't need to wear any product that's made of wool or angora.

7. Buy Second Hand

Some people argue that buying or wearing fur is less cruel if it's purchased second-hand, because the animal has long since died. That's up to the individual's conscience to decide if they feel that's right. Personally, I couldn't wear real fur under any circumstances. But if you buy second-hand garments, at least you aren't encouraging manufacturers to continue making garments that cause suffering to animals.

There are so many alternatives today that we don't need to wear garments of animal origin. You can be clad in garments that are totally cruelty-free, and be fashionable with a conscience. Do you ever think about how your clothes are made, or is it just something that you take for granted?

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