Winter is coming and I have wool on the mind — among other things. When I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, nutrition and environmental sustainability were the basis for my decision. My wardrobe wasn’t a major concern. Of course, I support animal rights but throwing away my knitwear and leather shoes didn’t align with my whole “waste not, want not” philosophy. I read a blog post by Veganzinga on this; my own post is quite similar to hers. I thought it was worth reiterating some of her points because the vegan community is occasionally dogmatic when it comes to practicing “a vegan lifestyle”. In order for this movement to be inclusive and sustainable we need to push for a more openminded approach.
I don’t want to buy clothing, makeup or other non-food items that are manufactured using animal products. Since going vegan I have stopped purchasing these items altogether and I am slowly replacing them one by one. For example, when I first made the switch I had a lot of old makeup so I replaced it all with a vegan brand called Inika.
But I still own a few wool sweaters, leather boots, a pair of moccasins with fur on them, etc. Yet, if I gave away all my wool sweaters wouldn’t someone else just wear them? Not to mention, I can’t exactly afford a brand new wardrobe. How would I keep warm and dry if got rid of all my winter clothes? Finally, throwing away anything that is still in good condition is wasteful and undermines what I set out to do in the first place, which was to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. I understand some vegans would feel uncomfortable wearing animals products. I understand why they might choose to donate their items. For my part, I am comfortable acknowledging the sacrifice that was made and using my products until they’re worn out or until I am able to afford a replacement.
Remember you don’t have to be a single issue vegan. Throwing away clothing or other products that are still in good shape has a negative impact on the planet. Being ignorant toward the historical or cultural value of a product is also problematic. I have a few non vegan items I’ll never get rid of because they were beautiful gifts- each one with its own story.
For example, a pair of boots lined with fur were given to me by a close friend. They belonged to her mother who has passed away. She gave them to me pre-vegan days and I still love them because they remind me of our friendship and her mother’s story. I also have a wool sweater that my grandmother knit for my mother when she was seventeen. My mother passed the sweater onto me when I entered high school. I consider the sweater a family heirloom. These things are worth more than “looking vegan”.
Veganism is something I want to live by but dogma is something I wish to avoid.
Anyways, those were the few thoughts that ran through my mind the other day when it was snowing! If you enjoyed this post please feel free to share it with your friends. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.