So you have successfully eliminated meat and dairy from your diet, endlessly and patiently explained that fish/butter/chicken stock is not vegan, and have even started to think that a future without cheese might not be entirely bleak and pointless. You may even be thinking, hey, this vegan thing is easy! But once you have adjusted to a plant-based diet and considered other ways to extend your humane values beyond food, you will probably realise that your wardrobe contains at least a few items, most likely leather, that are decidedly incompatible with the ethical treatment of animals. Now what?
Whilst you might initially reason that these items are already bought and paid for, facing the reality of processes such as leather production might make make you think twice about hanging on to them. According to Peta, over a billion animals a year are slaughtered for their skins, including cows, pigs, goats and sheep, with no labelling required to indicate animal or country of origin. If you have opted out of contributing to the horror of factory farming by excluding animal foods, then it is likely that leather, the most economically valuable by-product of the meat industry, is something you’re no longer comfortable wearing.
If you do make the choice to rid your wardrobe of animal-derived items, but aren’t in a position to simply give away clothing and buy more, why not sell some of your unwanted goods on eBay or Craigslist, and put the proceeds towards a shiny new cruelty-free wardrobe? Whilst you may initially feel disappointment on realising a beloved leather jacket or bag can no longer be worn in good conscience, you may be surprised to find there are actually a ton of fashionable new vegan alternatives that don’t involve replacement with a scratchy shapeless hemp number. Why not swap out that leather jacket for a fluffy, cosy new winter coat from this London-based faux-fur retailer, or rejoice that boots and shoes are no longer exclusively leather and check out this range of vegan boots from Dr Martens. Selling or donating that leather bag will be a lot easier once you see the beautiful and sustainable vegan options at Matt and Nat, which come in a huge range of different colours and styles. Still not convinced that giving up leather is easy? Pay a visit to The Vegan Society and work your way through their extensive list of vegan fashion options. Once you have your eye on something new you might find you’re not as attached to leather as you first thought.