Updated: May 27, 2019
January is a month, filled with new opportunities and desire for positive changes. One of the more popular New Year lifestyle change is Veganuary.
In this post I wanted to explore plant based lifestyle - in a fashion context.
This one is close to my heart for many reasons and a great way to embrace a sustainable and compassionate life style.
I wouldn't lecture anyone on whether or not they should be wearing shoes and belts made out of cow hide. Instead I wanted to draw attention to some innovative plant-based textile solutions, which are gaining popularity while saving the planet.
We all love cotton but unfortunately it’s a thirsty plant and in many cases – treated with plenty of chemicals.
The solution – linen, bamboo and hemp are much sustainable plant-based options when it comes to lighter clothing such as trousers, shirts and dresses. They are easier to grow, they don’t require as much water and they are great for sensitive skin!
In October I created a post on plant-based alternatives for leather, shearling and wool. You can read the full post here.
But there are other traditional materials, which are not quite as innocent as they seem.
Silk is made from silkworm cocoons. But did you know that the traditional method for making silk involves boiling these alive?
There is an alternative to this method, where silk makers wait for the cocoons to hatch but it is of course more expensive and it doesn't come without its own ethical issues.
I was recently excited to find that plant based silk alternatives do exist and while they are not quite so readily available yet, I hope that in future they will be available to all.
I am talking about silk made from Orange peel – a by-product of the orange juice industry. The technology to produce this type of textile was invented in Italy by Orange Fiber and it's currently only available there. But the need for sustainable natural textiles has grown since the birth of this invention.
If you are interested in finding out more on this - have a listen to this podcast.
A more widely available silk alternative is the satin silk hemp. However this type of silk is blended with real silk and therefore it is not entirely cruelty free.
In the winter months having a good warm outerwear is essential. Some people opt for jackets with real feather down (if they can afford it) because it promises natural insulation. However down requires intensive farming, which comes with unethical practices.
Thankfully there are new alternatives available. A brand, which offers not only the warmth a proper winter jacket should have - but it also invests in sustainable ethical and recycling initiatives, is The North Face. In 2018 they launched their winter jacket filled with vegan down made out of recycled plastic bottles!
For more comparative information on natural vs manmade down find this video from youtuber Mic The Vegan, which is very thorough:
And if you are feeling the pinch from Christmas - charity shops are always good for finding great second hand winter warmers, which don’t create the extra demand that newly produced clothing does.
And finally – if you – like myself - want to get more active this year – you may be looking for some new activewear.
I always advise people to wear what they already have - an old t shirt and a pair of leggings/jogging trousers are perfectly fine. But sometimes you just want something new. Just for that extra motivation. Or perhaps having a new piece of activewear clothing helps with perseverance?
Thankfully we can be more active without compromising on ethics and sustainability.
From brands creating colourful activewear to natural yoga mats on a budget - have a look at this video I created, which lists some of the best ethical and sustainable activewear available:
I hope you have found this post helpful. Here's to a another great year ahead!
Keep sailing forward everyone!