Does sustainability = veganism?

Written by Pauliina Rasi,

When you want to make sustainable fashion choices, should you also go vegan? Here’s our take on the question. 

Making sustainable fashion choices seems simple on the surface. Buying less, second-hand whenever possible and wearing the same items as long as possible. Right? But the deeper we dive in, the more complicated it gets. All the questions of organic and recycled materials, fair trade, local production and animal rights kick in. And the question rises, should I do something more? Am I a hypocrite, if I claim to support sustainable fashion but still eat an occasional grilled tenderloin and love my leather Pradas?

Many avenues to explore

When thinking sustainably, animal rights are an important piece of the puzzle. Eating only vegan food and refusing to buy leather and fur can be important steps on your way to a sustainable way of life. If you feel like taking the next step on your path to a more sustainable lifestyle, veganism is one option.  At the same time, it’s not the only option. There are so many takes on sustainability - so many that it’s impossible to take them all into account at the same time.
Finding organic, second-hand clothes that are made of recycled fair trade materials, produced locally and are, in addition to all that, vegan, is probably a full-time job (that might still leave you half-naked).

Like trading Netflix for running

When making better choices for the future of the planet, we shouldn’t burn ourselves out. We shouldn’t make it overtly hard and complicated, because once it gets too difficult, the risk of giving up and letting go increases. Science backs up this assumption: start small and you will succeed, claim psychologists. If you have ever tried giving up chocolate for life or replacing Netflix marathons with 5-mile runs every evening, you probably know how this kind of extremist attempts end. Not very well.

Extreme life turn-overs rarely work. Being categorical rarely works. The best way to be sustainable is to make better choices and learn new habits that we can sustain in the long run.

Is there a golden compromise?

So, instead of jumping aboard the vegan boat without thinking twice, try and think about smaller steps you could take. There is no 100 % sustainable consumption, but you can still do a lot better choices.
 Let’s hear it from Penny Lovell, stylist of Anne Hathaway, who’s been known lately for wearing only vintage and second-hand dresses on the red carpet:
“Sustainability seems like the way forward. It’s been such a good, fun experience for us. Neither Annie or I are claiming to be experts, but we’ve become much more aware of it. Raising awareness, in the end though, will trickle down and create demand.”
Pick your battles, like they say. If veganism doesn't feel like the right choice for you, concentrate on buying second-hand - or try giving up leather on clothes but not steak on your plate.

Which aspects of sustainable fashion are the most important and close to your heart? Let us know below in comments or head over to Instagram and share your views. We love hearing from you.

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