Beyond Fashion

Beyond Fashion

By Aakanksha Nair   / Published: September 8, 2020

Turning vegan has never been easier. Almond milk, non-dairy butter, plant-based meat, are all household staples today. They're so common now that it almost becomes difficult to imagine a time when your Starbucks latte didn't have an almond milk option. That period did exist though and at that point, these beyond meat options were the next big thing. Today, given our collective shift towards sustainable consumption, more and more products are becoming vegan-friendly. Today, the next big thing ahead of us is vegan clothing.

This is not just the need, but the demand of the hour, as is suggested by several studies: Mamoq and Cambridge University highlighted that 57% of participants ranked sustainability as their top three factors in fashion purchase decisions. This sentiment resonated in a 2019 CGS survey where 70% of participants said that sustainability is at least “somewhat important” for their purchases and in a Europe-based study where 80% of participants cited that fashion brands must do something to address global poverty and climate change.

While we’ve made progress in the green direction we still have a long way ahead of us. The fashion industry is facing fire not only for the unsustainable practices of sourcing raw materials but also for the overall product journey. Take for instance, the jaw-dropping fact that this industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. This is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider other issues like animal testing, resource consumption, unfair wage practices, and more. Even the t-shirt and jeans you’re wearing have used at least 2,700 gallons of water to be made (unless it’s from Awoke N’ Aware of course - wink wink, nudge nudge).

It is obvious that every aspect of this industry needs a greenvamp. Fortunately, the conscious members of the fashion industry have accelerated their journey in this direction especially in terms of raw materials. Take, for instance, fashion entrepreneur Gowri Shankar who is harnessing the calotropis gigantea shrub to create vegan wool (you’ve already forgotten the shrub’s name, haven’t you?). Similarly, two friends, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have used opuntia ficus indica, a cacti, to create a leather alternative from cacti (we’ve got to come up with easier plant names!).

The rising demand for vegan fashion is also moving the bigger cogs in the wheel. Biotech firm AMSlab recently expanded its vegan testing kit to verify the absence of products of animal origin in clothing, footwear, and accessories labeled under the vegan standard. PETA awarded La La Anthony the Compassion in Fashion Award for creating a fashion line that is entirely free of leather, wool, fur, exotic skins, and other animal-derived materials.

It is becoming increasingly clear that as a consumer, creating demand for the right thing is one of the most significant ways in which we can create impact. The next big thing is unfolding as we go through our daily lives. We may not always wear capes or red spandex but every time we shop sustainably we increase the pace at which the next big thing becomes a reality and thereby do our bit to save the planet.

Toronto-based marketer, Aakanksha, is a story-teller by profession and passion. When she's not working on marketing campaigns, you'll find her immersed in passion projects around animals, sustainable living and of course, story-telling.

- Aakanksha Nair -

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