Is Vegan Fashion Sustainable or Hypocritical?

Jan 29, 2020

4 min read
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Is vegan fashion sustainable? We can end this article before it even begins by simply answering this question with a ‘no’. 

Despite being fully aware that this can bring PETA and other vegan activists to bark at our door, we decided to stand tall and speak out loud. Afterall, someone must do it and challenge the vegan fashion industry before it contaminates our planet beyond repair.

In the past couple of years veganism has become a new mainstream, spreading faster than Coronavirus. While we can write a thousand-page book on its pros and cons, one thing is certain: vegan sustainable clothing is a lie!

[Read: Can Sustainable Business Be Profitable?].

Is vegan clothing environmentally friendly?


Like we said before, vegan clothing is as real as Utopia. Vegans have created this eco-friendly, cruelty-free, ethical image for themselves which is far from the real situation. 

The main issue rises from the fabrics used to create vegan clothing pieces, including shoes. 

As you know well, vegan fashion has zero tolerance for materials and anything derived from animals. However, this prompts use of alternatives to leather, fur, wool and other animal products.

What are vegan clothes made from?

For example, in the vegan fashion industry silk is replaced by rayon and polyester. The consumption of rayon has doubled in a decade, while natural silk production has dropped. But did you know that rayon, despite being plant-based, is one of the most toxic fibres? Yes, it is so dangerous that the US forbids manufacturing rayon on their soil. The production process is complex to be explained in a sentence, but it’s enough to know that it also endangers orangutans and Sumatran tigers.

Furthermore, polyester, PVC, acrylic, nylon, viscose, and other plastic-based fibres, are 100% non biodegradable. On top of that, their chemical cocktails impose a serious risk for the health of humans as well as all animals living on this planet. Oh, and wasn’t veganism supposed to protect the fauna? What good is vegan fashion if it has such a severe impact on nature?

So are vegan clothes good for the environment? Definitely not!

The Oxymoron of Eco Vegan Fashion

There’s no sense in promoting eco vegan fashion as such. At least not for now. Faux leather, unrecyclable vegan shoes, fast vegan fashion trends, toxic dyes and suspicious production practices are as ecological as plastic.

Truth be told, there are sincere efforts to create vegan clothing materials that are also ethical, environmentally-friendly and sustainable. We greet such efforts with approval, and support the innovation to create a real vegan fashion.

Finally, we completely identify with the mindset of the founders of  SABINNA and Koua, both contemporary conscious fashion labels:

“I am a vegan but wear leather. When I die, I want that piece of clothing to die too. And leather is biodegradable.” 

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