This is not just a photo of my chicken legs or sustainable sneakers but a post for you to stop and read! Today, I’m answering all the questions I’ve received about vegan and sustainable fashion starting with "Vegan leather".
No, vegan leather does not mean the product you are buying is eco-friendly nor earth-friendly. Vegan leather (unless it is made from pineapples, apples, bananas, mushrooms, natural tree rubber, cork or any other natural material that is biodegradable) is usually made of PVC, polyurethane and textile-polymer composite microfibres. In plain English: plastic, petroleum and lots of CO2 emissions! Please don’t panic nor blame yourself if you’ve bought “vegan leather” products. I’m sure you did it with animals and nature in mind. I know I did! Messing up and learning are both part of life, guys. The important thing is what we do with the new lessons and knowledge the universe is sending our way! If you have a closet full of “vegan leather” (aka plastic) products, REUSE them. Many times. Until they break. And then, get them fixed and keep using them! And, when you go shopping, read labels. Ask about the products you are purchasing and wearing. Where do they come from. What’s their story. What are they made of. If you are still willing to buy plastic shoes, choose brands that make shoes from recycled plastic and support their practices of reducing waste, water and CO2 emissions.
Other labels or words to look for:
1) Ethical or fair-trade: Does the brand or product have our planet and people in mind? This means that the hands that made your product were paid a fair wage and provided with humane and healthy working conditions, health insurance, and fair opportunities. (Watch "The True Cost" film to learn more)
2) Sustainably sourced: In fashion, this usually applies to fibers. Organic cotton, bamboo, soy, peace silk. This label tells us these raw materials were harvested and processed in a sustainable way. Another label you may see is “Rainforest Alliance Certified”. This means the company making the products was audited and granted this seal because of their eco-friendly and fair-trade practices and their efforts to protect people and our rainforests, reducing our global deforestation crisis.
3) Non-toxic: This applies to the dyes used to make your colorful t-shirt, skirt, jean, dress, etc. Always look for plant-based alternatives. In other words, products that have been dyed with colors made from plants, flowers, clay, and other natural materials. Aka: non-toxic to our earth AND your health! (Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed by your body, travels through your blood system and feeds your cells!) “RoHs certified” also falls within this category, and means the colors used did not contain any hazardous nor harmful substances.
4) Cruelty-free: This means no animals were harmed in the process of making the product. No fur, no leather, no animal torture.
These are just a few labels and very important ones. I’ll keep sharing more with you in my next posts, always making sure I don’t give you an information overload or freak you guys out. It’s all in the daily baby steps. Remember that!
Ps: Two sustainable shoe brands I adore are Verdura Shoes and Z Shoes Organic.
Verdura shoes are made from recycled fishing nets, natural cork and plant based dyes. They are also fair-trade and handmade in Italy. I have their beige booties and LOVED.
Z Shoes Organic sneakers are comfy, fair-trade and made with natural and renewable rubber (extracted from Amazonian trees by making tiny cuts to their outer layers. No killing trees here!) for the shoes’ soles, and organic cotton fabric dyed with plantbased colors. No plastic here AT ALL! To get your Z Shoes Organic, use code “waterthruskin” for $10 off!