Animal-Friendly Fashion Part 2: Clothes

What is the first thing you think as you slip a brand new shiny pair of beautiful leather shoes onto your happy little tootsies? It is probably not "MOO",I know that is not what I am thinking, but I am sure many of my vegetarian friends are staring down at my pretty pointed shoes with such a thought.

We have explored the cosmetic area, but what about our clothes? If you are like me, getting dressed in the morning is not a time to be exercising moral judgements (though if you are like me it is probably not about much more then secretly hoping to be snowed in and able to go back to sleep-even in August). Unfortunately however, many of the clothes that we wear may be doing more then just keeping us up with the trends.

Many of the everyday fabrics we take for granted have come at the cost of an animal's life. The most obvious of course is leather and suede, generally from a cow or pig whose skin is now sitting on your back/waist/foot. Even our warm, cuddly down filled coats may not necessarily have been as easy to make as one may think. Though the birds are sometimes plucked, quite often they are slaughtered-simply for the sake of their warm little feathers! Another fabric so seemingly harmless (and delightful to touch) but yet so morbid is silk. We are able to wear this luxurious fabric because of worms who are boiled alive in order to obtain it. Of course there is also fur, but I am sure I do not have to say much about that.

Some gray areas, clothes that many vegans would probably try and avoid include wool, felt, cashmere, angora, alpaca and mohair. Though the animals who provide these are not necessarily slaughtered (more often then not they in fact are not) they may be kept in a less then desirable setting, and not able to roam free as they should.

So what is a girl/guy who wants to stay trendy to do? Well luckily, there is a wide array of animal friendly alternatives out there.

While cotton is good, organic cotton is even better because it is helping the earth and animals in turn. No pesticide run-off means healthier soil for plants and animals alike. Even better is coloured organic cotton-no toxic dyes needed!

Can't part with your silk? Try soy silk- a by-product of tofu making!

Finally, there is hemp. This is a great alternative as it is a plant that grows quickly, densely and therefore keeps most weeds away and uses very little fertilizer. Plus, it does not need much water, and holds up well. So therefore with hemp, water can be used for more important things, and fewer toxins will effect the earth.

There are also a number of leather, suede and fur alternatives, and many shoe stores do carry leather-free versions of popular styles. Try for anything from clothes to food to stuff for your home. For shoes and other small goods try or (though this one is in American dollars)

Once again, my eyes have been opened and I can chose an animal friendly alternative. Will you? Please send me any ways you the reader have helped save an animal and stayed stylish, and look out for a follow-up article on "readers tips"

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