The festive season is upon us, so let’s make it a kinder Christmas for all and start the new year by choosing to Wear it Kind, a new initiative from global animal protection group, FOUR PAWS, aiming to revolutionise the use of animals in fashion.
Wearing It Kind is choosing to buy clothing which encourages kindness to animals, people and the environment. It’s about wearing clothes that match your values and outfits you feel good in.
The sad fact is, over two billion animals end up in fashion and textiles from the fur, leather and wool industries alone. Every year.
What’s more, 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 Christmas cheer.
So we at FOUR PAWS believe that the time has come for fashion which is kinder to animals, humans and the planet to be the only kind of fashion, and what better way to share this message than with your gift giving!
Tip #1 – Buying new? Support brands that prioritise ethical practices
Ethical fashion can seem confusing and (let’s face it!) overwhelming at first. Often you are faced with a decision of choosing something vegan but plastic, or choosing a so-called ‘natural fibre’ but which also involves massive land clearing, animal suffering and toxic chemicals. So what is an ethical consumer supposed to do?
While you can’t solve everything, what you can look for are brands who are trying to solve issues with fashion.
For example, there are now activewear clothing lines which are made from recycled plastic bottles, brands who are turning discarded fishing nets into swimwear and retailers who only sell clothing which meets sustainable guidelines. For instance, when shopping online you can often select to only see garments which match certain ethical criteria.
FOUR PAWS recently reviewed the Good On You animal welfare scoring system, and both organisations are on the same path to creating kinder and more ethical consumer habits and fashion industry practices. You can use the Good On You app brand rating system to make ethical shopping a breeze.
Tip #2 – Be inventive! Seek products made from 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, and even recycled nylon too.
Plant-based leathers are now becoming more mainstream also. Do an online search for plant-based leathers and you will be amazed at the range - leather made from pineapple waste, apple leather made from apple skins, coffee bean leather, and mushroom leather, just to name a few.
While these were originally hard to find, 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.
Tip #3 – Channel that old school charm: Opt for pre-loved and vintage threads
Why buy new when you can re-create something original? There are so many fun ways to explore existing fashion. From local online marketplaces where you can buy direct from the seller, the brick-and-mortar vintage or charity stores, sustainable fashion markets, or specialty apps such as Etsy or Depop where millions of vintage garments are all within reach. It really is a very different world to the past image of the classic dusty Op Shop.
And if you are trying to downsize, rent! In Australia alone, there are multiple designer rental platforms where you can borrow a high-end dress for a rental price, plus it means that you aren’t cluttering up your wardrobe or creating demand for new clothing.
Not only is secondhand clothing good for the planet, there is minimal chance of someone else rocking up to the Christmas party in the same outfit as you.
Tip #4 – Speak up! Tell brands you care about animal, human and environment-friendly options
A 2019 YouGov survey commissioned by FOUR PAWS found that 1 in 3 Australians prefer brands which prioritise animal welfare. We know that the environmental and human impacts of the global fashion trade are in the spotlight, but more needs to be done to ensure animal protection isn’t left behind. So what can you do to help?
As a first step, become informed about the standard of animal welfare within the fashion industry. We have loads of information available at www.WearitKind.org, plus a handy cheat sheet you can download to help you make kinder choices.
And importantly, you can pledge to Wear It Kind ensuring to choose clothes which encourage kindness. By pledging, you’ll show the fashion industry that you care about animals and want to see brands and retailers value their protection too. With the continued growth of cruel industries, animals need our help more than ever!
Tip #5 – Remember why you are doing this, and for whom
The fact is, every year millions of animals suffer for the clothing industry. 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 up our wardrobes.
Fashion is fun, but it can also be powerful. Through our purchasing decision, 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.
Learn more about how you can Wear it Kind, the key issues facing animals, and what we are asking the fashion industry to do, by heading to www.WearItKind.org
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation 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, animals in fashion, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in 12 countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au