The festive season is upon us, so let’s make it a kinder Christmas and start the New Year by choosing to Wear it Kind, a new initiative from global animal protection group, FOUR PAWS. It aims to revolutionise the use of animals in fashion by choosing to buy clothing which encourages kindness to animals, people and the environment. It’s about wearing clothes that match your values and outfits you feel good in.
Over two billion animals end up in fashion and textiles from the fur, leather and wool industries alone every year. What’s more, the fashion and apparel industry is responsible for approximately 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions because of its energy intensive production and long supply chains. These sobering facts hardly create a feeling of Christmas cheer.
The animal welfare charity believes that the time has come for fashion which is kinder to animals, humans and the planet to be the only kind of fashion, and what better way to share this message than with your gift giving!
Tip #1 – Buying new? Support brands that prioritise ethical practices
Ethical fashion can seem confusing and (let’s face it!) overwhelming at first and while you can’t solve everything, what you can look for are brands trying to solve issues with fashion. For instance, there are now activewear clothing lines which are made from recycled plastic bottles, brands that are turning discarded fishing nets into swimwear and online retailers who only sell clothing which meet sustainable guidelines.
To make it even easier, FOUR PAWS recently reviewed the ‘Good On You’ animal welfare scoring system for fashion brands, an app which allows shoppers to search for brands which align with their own values and makes shopping a breeze.
Tip #2 – Be inventive! Seek products made from recycled materials or plant-based leathers and fabrics.
In a nutshell, sustainable materials include recycled and repurposed fabrics, followed by plant-based materials such as hemp, organic cotton and linen. Many brands are also using recycled polyester for outdoor wear and shoes, as well as recycled nylon.
Plant-based leathers are now becoming more mainstream also. For example, you can purchase leather made from pineapple waste, apple leather made from apple skins and coffee bean leather, just to name a few. While these were originally hard to find, due to overwhelming demand, they are becoming far more mainstream and available on popular shopping websites including ASOS, Net-a-Porter’s NET SUSTAIN and H&M’s Conscious Collection.
Read more: Can H&M Ever Be Sustainable?
Tip #3 – Channel that old school charm: Opt for pre-loved and vintage threads
Why buy new when you can re-create something original? At local online marketplaces you can buy direct from the seller, the brick-and-mortar vintage or charity stores, sustainable fashion markets (or ethical fashion e-marketplaces), or specialty apps such as Etsy or Depop where millions of vintage garments are all within reach. If you are trying to downsize, rent!
In Australia alone, there are multiple designer rental platforms where you can rent a high-end dress for a cheaper price. Not only is used, preloved and secondhand clothing good for the planet, there is minimal chance of someone else rocking up to the Christmas party in the same outfit as you.
Tip #4 – Speak up! Tell brands you care about animal, human and environment-friendly options
One in three Australians prefer brands which prioritise animal welfare. So what can you do to help? As a first step, become informed about the standard of animal welfare within the fashion industry. This information is available at WearitKind.org and you can pledge to Wear It Kind ensuring you choose clothes that encourages kindness. With the continued growth of cruel industries, animals need our help more than ever.
Tip #5 – Remember why you are doing this, and for whom
The fact is, every year millions of animals suffer for the clothing industry. Whether they are kept in extreme confinement in cramped and dirty cages, wallow in filthy shallow pools for years as they grow to the ‘ideal skin size’ or live on a farm where their bodies are mutilated without pain relief, these animals deserve more than to be reduced to some forgotten garment cluttering our wardrobes.
Fashion is fun, but it can also be powerful. Through our purchasing decisions, we can change the fate of millions of animals who endure a lifetime of suffering for our passing clothing trends. Instead, we can show them a kinder world.
To learn more visit WearItKind.org.
This article was contributed by WordStorm PR.
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Feature image by Cottonbro.