Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
A few days ago, Olesya was doing a bit of online shopping and found a leather jacket she liked, but then began to wonder whether it was actually ok to essentially be wearing an animal for the sake of fashion. After all if it’s dead already, and has already been made into a piece of clothing, it won’t make that much difference to their welfare, right? Well, this is where we thought it would be a good idea to look into it and see what the situation is actually like when it comes to animals and fashion and we found that most of the time, it isn’t just “alright” to buy an animal’s skin for fashion.
Previously, our ancestors had very little choice on how to keep warm in colder climates. Therefore they used fur and leather to make clothes appropriate for the harsh environments. However, because of our consumerist lifestyle, we no longer need to be in the Arctic to purchase a fur or leather jacket. With a few clicks of the mouse, we can get a nice leather jacket – just like the one I was tempted to buy, because it looked great and you can be assured great quality.
This is what seems to happen now. People seem to forget their conscience and buy whatever catches their eye, forgetting that these days, many animals are skinned alive for their skin to be used for many fashion items. The main culprit being of course is leather. However, large demands for fur and wool have also made the industry rapidly expand where animals are bred just for the sake of clothing and not as “left-overs” as many seem to assume. To me, it seems that it is more the uneducated who support this because given how far science has come, there are many, many other materials which can do the same thing as animal skin (protect the body, keep warm) etc. Hemp is stronger than cotton for example, linen can endure 20 years of wear and did you know you can get a super warm fleece on the market made out of recycled polyester?
Nowadays, animals seem to be pretty defenseless on this Earth. They are used for food, clothes, entertainment, testers for medicine and makeup. Of course, there are many pros and cons to each of these things, but I believe animals have the same right to be on this planet as we do and if you think that skinning a human is perfectly acceptable just so you can look good in the mirror, then by all means, go ahead. The moment you stop caring about another living being is the moment you have a problem, especially when it is for vanity reasons.
It is something that is hard to control nowadays: what is indispensable and what is just plain consumerism. In short, wearing such clothing solely for fashion is wrong, especially if it doesn’t originate as a by-product from the meat industry. But if it serves a practical purpose, then it should be fine where there are no alternatives available. Leather, for example, has been massively important throughout history for providing protection and has only begun to be replaced by materials such as Kevlar relatively recently. Fur continues to be very important for people living in cold and remote parts of the world, yet synthetic textiles mimicking fur is now available to many.
We’re not here to go all out and say “wear only cardboard” because it’s less cruel but what we are here to say is that these days, the majority of us do not need to buy clothing items made from animals and sometimes we should stop and think before making these “fashion” purchases. All it takes is just some awareness and your intuition will do the rest.
What are your thoughts about using animals for clothes? Do you agree with it in some cases? Please let us know your thoughts below!