I don’t normally identify myself as a shopaholic, but when in Rome…I couldn’t help myself. (It’s Italian fashion, what would you do?) Of course, Italy is most famous for its high-quality leather jackets, but obviously I wasn’t really interested in that. Luckily for us vegans, there are a ton of man-made materials that have been engineered to resemble leather—and they’re usually a lot cheaper than the real thing.
On my brief Italian adventure, I stumbled upon a seriously cute fake leather jacket, studded to my heart’s content. (I’ll talk about my new obsession with studs in another piece.) I could tell by the look and feel of the jacket that it was fake leather and double checked by looking at the materials list on the tag. Even so, I wanted to be completely sure, so I asked the saleswoman and discovered something interesting.
I asked her, “Is this leather?”
To which she responded, “Well, it’s not 100% leather…”
“Oh no,” I said. “I want it to be zero leather.”
Almost immediately, she perked up, “Oh yes, there’s no leather in it.” It intrigued me how willing she was to adjust the contents of the jacket depending on her perception of my sensibilities. It made me wonder a. is she lying? b. what about vegan labeling on clothes in general. Obviously, the internet is teeming with exclusively vegan clothing companies but a lot of clothes from “normal” stores are vegan without even trying. Often, it’s cheaper to make clothes out of man-made materials than animal-made ones, which is why acrylic, polyester, nylon, etc based clothes are so common. Although these fibers aren’t natural, like cotton or hemp, they are technically vegan.
This entire experience got me wondering about the possible vegan branding of clothes in mainstream stores. Today, large grocery stores label vegan food products, in Europe they even label GMO products making many of our lives easier. I think that it would be cool if clothing stores did the same.
What do you think? Should vegan labeling expand from food to include clothing as well? Or do materials lists provide enough information to set aside any doubt? Or do you really not want to know you “can’t” have it if the jacket is practically made for you?! Leave me a comment.
Till next time!