December 19, 2019- The season is upon us! Let’s make it an even more generous holiday by pledging to “Wear it Kind.” By giving gifts that are animal-friendly, you are passing on the greatest gift of non-suffering.
Tip #1 – “Fast fashion” is so last year! Opt for pre-loved and vintage threads!
Why buy new when you can re-create something original? At local online marketplaces you can buy direct from the seller, the brick-and-mortar vintage or charity stores, sustainable fashion markets (or ethical fashion e-marketplaces), or specialty apps such as Etsy where millions of vintage garments are all within reach.
There are also many designer rental platforms where you can rent a high-end dress for a cheaper price. Not only is used, preloved and secondhand clothing good for the planet, there is minimal chance of someone else rocking up to the Holiday Party in the same outfit as you.
Like you need more reason? The fashion and apparel industry is responsible for approximately 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions because of its energy intensive production and long supply chains. These sobering facts hardly create a feeling of “holiday cheer.”
Tip #2 – Need to buy new? Support brands that prioritize ethical practices.
Ethical fashion can seem confusing and (let’s face it!) overwhelming at first and while you can’t solve everything, a helpful hint: Look for brands trying to solve issues with their fashion power! For instance, there are now activewear clothing lines which are made from recycled plastic bottles, brands that are turning discarded fishing nets into swimwear, and online retailers who only sell clothing which meet sustainable guidelines. The possibilities are endless!
To make it even easier, Four Paws recently reviewed the ‘Good On You’ animal welfare scoring system - backed by fashion mogul Emma Watson. Good On You has an app that allows shoppers to search for brands that align with their values and makes shopping a breeze. It’s a great resource for cruelty- free shopping!
Tip #3 – Check those labels! Seek products made from synthetic fur, down-alternative, recycled materials or plant-based leathers and fabrics.
In a nutshell, sustainable materials include recycled and repurposed fabrics, followed by plant-based materials such as hemp, organic cotton and linen. Many brands are also using recycled polyester for outdoor wear and shoes, as well as recycled nylon. Plant-based leathers are now becoming more mainstream also. Due to overwhelming demand, they are becoming far more mainstream and available on popular shopping websites including ASOS, Net-a-Porter’s NET SUSTAIN, and H&M’s Conscious Collection.
It’s important to also check the cosmetics and household products you buy to ensure products and ingredients are not tested on animals. The Leaping Bunny Logo is the only internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it.
We also MUST talk about fur! The major sources of fur these days come from deplorable European and Chinese fur farms, or from cruel trapping practices that are carried out across the world – including North America! The good news is that advancements in synthetics have made fake or “faux” fur a real contender in the marketplace.
While checking the label, keep a look out for feather down. Buy products, such as winter jackets, duvets, comforters, pillows, and pillow-top mattresses from companies and suppliers that guarantee full supply chain traceability standards for their down. Better yet, purchase clothing and bedding products that use alternative filling materials to best ensure geese and ducks are spared the cruel practices of live feather plucking and force-feeding.
The Fur Free Retailer Program is a program designed by the Fur Free Alliance, a global coalition of which Four Paws is a member. The list recognizes fashion chains and brands that have committed, in writing, to stop selling any products that use real animal fur. There are already more than 300 well-known brands that are members, such as H&M, Zara, Vero Moda, Brunotti, American Apparel, GEOX, the Otto Group, s.Oliver, C&A and Ernsting’s family.
Tip #4 – Speak up! Tell brands you care about animal, human and environment-friendly options!
You may be thinking, what can MY voice do? The answer is simple: A lot! You have a very special power, the power of your consumer vote. Your money means a great deal to corporations and what you buy is a powerful message.
As a first step, become informed about the standard of animal welfare within the fashion industry. This information is available at WearitKind.org and you can pledge to “Wear It Kind” ensuring you choose clothes that encourage kindness. With the continued growth of cruel industries, animals need our help more than ever.
Fashion is fun, but it can also be powerful. Through our purchasing decisions, we can change the fate of millions of animals who endure a lifetime of suffering for our passing clothing trends. Instead, we can show them a kinder world.
Tip #5 – Remember why you are doing this, and for whom.
Again, over two billion animals annually end up in fashion and textiles from the fur, leather and wool industries. Whether they are kept in extreme confinement in cramped and dirty cages, wallow in filthy shallow pools for years as they grow to the ‘ideal skin size,’ or live on a farm where their bodies are mutilated without pain relief, these animals deserve more than to be reduced to some forgotten garment cluttering our wardrobes.
If you need additional last- minute ideas for animal lovers, donate to an animal welfare organization in someone’s honor! Your gift can directly help rescue and support animals in need! Consider supporting FOUR PAWS USA to help the hundreds of animals at our sanctuaries and the thousands of more that need to be rescued. Rescued animals at FOUR PAWS sanctuaries worldwide are given a safe home for the rest of their lives. Your help truly makes a difference!
Make 2020 the year you choose to Wear It Kind and join the Wear It Kind movement – a new global initiative by FOUR PAWS USA. This initiative aims to revolutionize the use of animals in fashion by choosing to buy clothing that encourages kindness to animals, people and the environment. It’s about wearing clothes that match your values and the outfits you feel good in.
To learn more visit www.WearItKind.org.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org