Style and Compassion
Animal protection the new ethical fashion frontier
The biggest trend right now is ethical fashion and unlike legwarmers, this one has staying power. No longer content to just look good, many people are wanting to know where their clothes were made and what the workers were paid. They’re questioning whether the fabrics are sustainable and, in good news for animals, how were the animals cared for?
Ethical consumerism isn’t new. It’s been 20 years since Naomi Klein’s No Logo campaign blasted sneaker companies and turned consumers on to the appalling conditions in sweatshops. A few years earlier, several supermodels announced they’d rather go naked than wear fur, making the once high-class fabric no-class. But it’s only recently that we’ve been relentlessly asking the hard questions and the fashion industry has been put on notice.
“Fur has its limits. Its beauty lies in the fact that it suits the animal and not the human. Should we need to be extravagant or to keep warm, then today, fur is no longer the answer.”
Antonio Beradi, Italian designer
Over the last few years, numerous brands including Armani, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Prada, and Vivienne Westwood, have rid their collections of fur. Chanel and Victoria Beckham no longer craft bags and shoes in crocodile and snake skins. At the budget end, over 40 companies including Zara, H&M and Gap have ditched mohair. Fashion weeks are also heeding the cruelty-free call. Much of the world’s cheap leather comes from countries with minimal animal welfare standards prompting Helsinki Fashion Week to go leather-free. London Fashion Week has banned fur, while the Melbourne Fashion Festival has put fur, angora and exotic skins on the no-no list.
Vegan Instagrammers like Style with a Smile Noa, meanwhile, routinely tout their fashion-with-a-conscience purchases. And for those looking to check whether their garments measure up, apps like Good on You compare brands according to their ethical, sustainable and animal-welfare standards.
Fortunately for sheep, geese, cows and the millions of animals subjected to unmitigated cruelty in the name of style, a host of new designers and even many household brand names are taking up the animal-friendly baton with gusto.
“These recent changes are consumer-driven. I don’t think our industry would be doing that if the customers weren’t demanding it”
Stella McCartney, renowned animal-friendly fashion designer.
We, of course, want to see this trend continue, and it will so long as people continue to choose clothes and support brands that encourage kindness to animals. If you haven’t already, pledge to Wear It Kind and show the world that you want an animal-friendly fashion future.
Posted by Elise Burgess, Head of Communications-FOUR PAWS Australia