It's a hot summer-day when you walk through town and suddenly you eye catches a great T-shirt. Je look at the tag. Exactly your size, and the price is good too. You walk in and ask the saleswoman:
"Is this T-shirt vegan? "
She looks at you as if you asked if they also sell gluten-free shoes. Vegan clothing? As long as there are no pieces of meat or eggs in it, it's vegan right? Well no, per necessarily.
Veganism is more than what you eat. It's a lifestyle, where you consciously choose to not contribute to the unnecessary exploitation of animals. This goes for food, but also for the product that you use - among clothing.
What is vegan clothing?
Vegan clothing is clothing where, to the best of its ability, no animals have been harmed in the production process . In theory crystal clear. But where we know how the fork is in the handle, the story behind your T-shirt often remains a mystery. It could just be that you sponsor animal suffering without you having any idea about it. We thought it was time to change that. In this article you read the 5 aspects that you as a vegan should pay attention to when you buy clothes. With this knowledge you dive into your next shop session with full confidence!
1. No animal materials
For vegan clothing it is necessary that it is not made of an animal. The animals are seen as a product and kept in cramped and unnatural living environments. In addition, there is almost always a form of cruelty involved. Maybe you did not know about some materials that they were made of animals. Hereby:
you will read more about the origin of these materials, and why everyone who wants to be strong for animals wants to avoid them.
2. Vegan ink
If you think of non-vegan ink, you might think of a squeezed squid. No worries: squid ink is not or hardly used in the clothing industry. But there may be other animal products in the ink on your T-shirt processed. In addition, the ink can be tested on animals.
To find out whether your clothing contains vegan ink, it is best to call the manufacturer or the printer. We have also done. Together we have opted for a
water-based ink that is free of animal raw materials and that has not been tested on animals. Vegan ink, so!
Unfortunately, the most common ink is not water-based, but based on plastisol (plastic). Plastisol does not dry during printing and is therefore easy to handle. But there is a downside. Plastisol is made of PVC [
2], one of the most toxic and environmentally unfriendly plastics that exist. In addition, plastisol contains phthalate, which is not only bad for the environment, but which is also known to interfere with hormone balance . But the biggest drawback of ink based on plastisol is that many chemical solvents are needed to clean the screen-printing machine, which is harmful to people, animals and the environment.
We do not want to say that water-based ink is sacred, but it is the best option if you care about animals, the environment and your own health.
3. Emulsions without gelatin
pain in the ass for vegans is the silkscreen emulsion, which is used to print the design on the shirt. True vegan clothing with print is rare. Silkscreen emulsion in fact almost always contains gelatin. Gelatin is extracted from connective tissues - skin, bones and cartilage - of mammals. Gelatine is not vegan, and we will not support the industry from which it is produced.
Luckily there is also a vegan silkscreen emulsion with a vegetable substitute for gelatin. The gel-like properties of gelatine are also easily accessible with vegetable alternatives, such as agar-agar and Arabic gum. We hope that with us many more clothing brands will switch to vegan silkscreen emulsion!
4. Biological cotton
The cotton industry uses an overkill of chemical pesticides. Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides - they are used intensely at cotton plantations, because the end product is not eaten.
These chemical pesticides are not only poisonous for the insects and other pests *, but also for the cotton farmers, the clothing makers, the customer (you) and complete ecosystems. The poison pollutes the groundwater and thus enters the environment and the bodies of animals that live near the cotton plantations. The pesticides are so harmful that the cotton industry is estimated by the World Health Organization to be responsible for some 20,000 fatalities in developing countries each year.
The solution is simple: go for organic cotton. Namely, no chemical pesticides have been used for organic cotton. Moreover, you know for sure that clothing with a biological quality mark does not contain paint with toxic substances (hormone-disrupting nonylphenol ethoxylates).
* An annoying word, because these are just animals with feelings. In the case of organic cotton cultivation, many natural pesticides are also used, such as plant extracts, which deter the animals instead of killing them.
5. Fair Trade materials
People are also animals, and we think there is no discussion about whether they deserve a life free from exploitation and abuse. But in the clothing industry, the people behind your clothing often work in horrendous circumstances. In so-called sweatshops in, for example, India, Bangladesh and Cambodia, child labor and physical violence are the order of the day, and only the tip of the iceberg.
These practices must stop, and one of the best ways to do that is to buy clothing with the Fair Trade or Fairwear seal. These quality marks guarantee strict controls on ethical working conditions. By buying fair clothing, you show that you do not want to sponsor sweatshop practices, and are willing to pay a fair price for the well-being of the people behind your clothing.
Of course we participate and all our clothing is certified with the
Fairwear quality mark. With this quality mark our clothing meets the following criteria:
- No child labor
- No forced labor
- Safe and healthy work environment
- A legal employment contract
- Fair wages that cover the living provision
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- No discrimination against employees
- No excessive working hours
Help us save the animals!
With all this knowledge about vegan clothing at your disposal, nothing stops you from saving the world in a
fashionable way! We love it when you apply these points in your own life, but there is another important thing you can do.
Our mission is a world without animal suffering, and we would be delighted if you would help us with this. How can you help? By sharing this article with your friends on
Facebook or Twitter. Click on one of the buttons below and tell the story!
On behalf of us and the animals: thank you.