Want to look good but are not interested in killing or using animals for fashion? There are so many alternatives to leather, wool, exotic skins and fur, that there’s really no reason to support animal cruelty for the sake of looking good.

Why Buy Cruelty Free?

Leather: Millions of animals are slaughtered for their skin every year. Most of their short lives are spent in overcrowded, unsanitary factories without proper veterinary care, proper food, and where they experience animal abuse from factory workers. Finally, they are trucked to slaughter where animals routinely have their throats cut and are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious. Also, when you buy leather products, you may unknowingly purchase leather from Asian dog and cat tanneries; because product labeling does not require the manufacturer to indicate where the skins originate from, so you never know if the skin is actually from a cat or dog.

Wool: Shearers in the wool industry are often paid by volume instead of by the hour, so they often work fast with no regard towards the animals' welfare. As a result, during the shearing process sheep are often punched, kicked, and cut. Also, most of the wool comes from Australia, where sheep undergo a horrific procedure called "mulesing" in which they use shears to cut large chunks of flesh from the backs of the animals with no anesthetics.

Fur: The fur industry slaughters millions of animals each year through horrific processes in which animals are beaten, boiled, hanged, and electrocuted for their fur and where many are skinned while still alive and fully conscious. We also face the same issue as with leather where furriers mislabel the fur of cats and dogs as fur from other animals or as faux fur.
Exotic Skins: Same as in the fur industry, animals like snakes, lizards, alligators and crocodiles are captured, beaten and skinned, many times while still fully conscious.

What is Cruelty Free Fashion?

Cruelty free fashion is also commonly referred to as vegan fashion. It means animals are not part of the manufacture process. In fact, there are no animals or animal products in the clothing. Vegetarian fashion would mean that no animals were killed for the clothing. This still leaves room for wool, angora, and other alpaca to use. However, most people consider cruelty free to be completely free of any animal involvement.

Because of the increased demand for cruelty free fashion, more and more clothing manufacturers, designers and retailers are seeking alternatives.

Here are materials that are cruelty free, comfortable, and supremely stylish:

• Cotton
• Synthetic leather
• Synthetic suede
• Recycled materials like tires and fleece which is often made from recycled soda bottles.
• Hemp
• Lyocell and Tencel
• Faux Fur

When buying cotton consider buying organic cotton. Cotton is one of the crops most contaminated. It’s sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers. It’s an extremely environmental hazardous crop. Organic cotton eliminates harmful chemicals from the earth and from the clothing you wear.

How to Buy Cruelty Free Clothing

The first step is to find cruelty free clothing manufacturers. This makes the process of shopping and finding items that match your style much easier. PETA offers a list of cruelty free fashion retailers and manufacturers on their website.

You can also simply choose to eliminate certain items from your wardrobe. For example, no more leather or fur. It’s pretty easy. Of course shoes, bags and belts are a challenge because they’re often made from leather. Again, find manufacturers like MooShoos, Timbuk2, and Pangea.

Also read the label. Clothing must be labeled. If there is wool, angora, alpaca, leather, suede or silk in the ingredients then it is not vegan clothing.

What Do You Do With Your Old Clothing?

If you’re considering getting rid of your old clothing that contains animal skins or fur then consider donating them. Many people are in need of clothing and don’t have the economic freedom to wear cruelty free clothing. And by donating your clothing you’re not only helping others but also helping reduce landfill waste.

Each person that makes the decision to wear cruelty free clothing is helping make a larger change in the world. Manufacturers respond to the demands of the consumer. Buy according to your moral code and watch the world change in the process.

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