Faux does not have to be a bad thing! The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and every year countless numbers of animals are captured, abused and slaughtered to keep these companies running. What many people don’t realize is that the effects of using fur, leather and other animal products are far greater than the animal exploitation itself.
The toxins used to tan leather emit pollutants such as protein, hair, salt, lime, sludge, sulfides and acids. Elevated levels of lead, cyanide and formaldehyde are found in groundwater near tanneries as well. The amount of energy used to make a real fur coat is 15 percent times larger than what is needed to make a faux fur coat. Neither fur nor leather is biodegradable because of the treatments used to prevent the materials from rotting.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives as well as fashionable brands committed to using animal-friendly materials.
The Conscious Collection, from H&M, hit the stores in April 2012. The collection continues to put out new pieces, all of which are eco-friendly. These chic designs have been worn on the red carpet by many stars, including Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman. H&M plans to fully transform its brand by making all of its cotton garments with sustainable resources by 2020.
There are many other brands you can choose from in order to wear ‘vegan-friendly’ clothing. Although their brands are not completely devoted to avoiding animal made materials, Steve Madden, Urban Outfitters, Target and Forever21 all offer some pieces that are cruelty-free. A list of other animal friendly stores and companies can also be found online at Peta.org.