I was one of those crazy people that practically went Vegan overnight. well, I didn’t have an immediate lifestyle change where I literally becoming a Vegan in 24 hours but it was in an incredibly short time. (no, I wasn’t vegetarian before hand.) It was and will continue to be the best decision of my life and my only regret is not doing it sooner. I was incredibly naive when it came to animal cruelty- I regret to say I believed in the ‘free range’ scam and was very disconnected with the fact that what was on my plate was a mutilated corpse of an innocent dead animal. It’s worth noting, however, that Veganism is not just a diet. It’s a moral compass; a compassionate lifestyle which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals. Whether this be for food, clothing, or any other purpose. This is where my contradiction comes into play…
‘I’m Vegan and I wear leather.’
When you become Vegan initially through your diet, which is how it starts for almost everyone, you start to gain this extraordinary, deep compassion. You don’t even realize it’s been missing all this time and suddenly you just feel lighter and happier. I’m a big believer in energy, therefore, I think consuming death and suffering and actively putting this in to your body is going to have serious effects. Not only on your health but also on a spiritual level. When you gain this wonderful ball of energy full of compassion and positivity, it spreads like wildfire. It’s not just about what you put in to your body but what you put on it, what you use in your household and what it is you support by purchasing certain products. Going cruelty free is honestly amazing and I encourage everyone to do it. It’s almost impossible not to go vegan once you have seen into the industries. Once you are aware of the atrocious things innocent animals go through, you probably want to eliminate every thing that goes against your morals. However, sometimes it’s not as simple as that. Or well, maybe it is.
N O T E V E R Y T H I N G I S
B L A C K
W H I T E
In the world of Veganism it’s not always right or wrong. Once I became Vegan, I immediately went into my wardrobe and searched every single item I owned to see whether it had came from an animal. It was equally devastating and a shock at just how many products I had purchased that had been made with cow skin. I even had real rabbit fur amongst it all! I felt sick.
My initial reaction was to just throw it all out. After all, countless animals were murdered, skinned horrifically and experienced unimaginable pain all for a superficial item that was more than unnecessary. Furthermore, I didn’t give it a second thought when I purchased these items. I didn’t even think to look at the care label to see what material it actually was. Or body part for that matter. So, I’m Vegan now. I know better. That means I must discard of these products and never wear them again. right?
As I sat staring at a pile of these items I once saw as ‘pretty’ but could, now,
barely look at, thoughts swam around in my head.
Despite the real-life hell that is the leather, fur and cosmetics industries and how entirely unnecessary the pain and suffering is when we have so many alternatives. I asked myself one simple question; would it be disrespectful for these animals to go through so much pain to create my ‘Ted Baker handbag’ just for me to throw this in the bin? Does this not render those precious lives as even more worthless?
I consider giving it away to charity for someone else to use. However, those thoughts in my head swam deeper and deeper. What if someone bought it, loved it and then went and bought a new Ted Baker bag that was also made from cow skin? What if they became so impressed with the bag that that they decided to purchase more leather products?
So maybe it’d be better to keep these products and wear them myself. But then what would other people say? Both Vegans and non-vegans. .
A difficult question arises; what do new Vegans do with their old leather? Furthermore, what about any fur, silk or wool? What about any animal tested cosmetics or products with animal fat or beeswax in them?
Should you just toss it in the bin? Give it to charity, friends or family?
I pondered this issue for a ridiculous amount of time. I even considered burying my bag. After all it was a dead body.
What does a new Vegan do with their old leather?
When this question arises and you become aware of the animal cruelty or your morals change, I think you really just have to do what you feel is best. It can be so easy to get caught up with everyone’s different opinions and as a new Vegan you may even start to worry that you’re not ‘vegan enough’.
The conclusion I came to, was to simply wear out my old wool, leather and other non vegan clothing and any makeup that has been tested on animals or is not vegan.
Even though I’m not entirely comfortable parading around with animal skin attached to me, I’m even more uncomfortable giving it to someone else or throwing it in the bin. It can be so easy to fear the ‘vegan police’ but really no one should be judging you on your decision to try and be a more compassionate person without looking at themselves in the mirror first. In addition, I’ve had many people come up to me since going vegan asking why I still have my Ted Baker bag made from cow’s skin. This gives me the perfect opportunity to explain why I still have it and educate them on the treatment of animals in the fur and leather industry. It’s actually resulted in most of these people to stop buying leather and they’ve even started reducing their animal consumption in other areas too! Therefore, I actually see this as a positive thing, had this likely not happened if I hadn’t had that bag.
Of course, I respect anyone’s opinions that oppose my own. We all have our own way of approaching veganism and I would like to point out that I never will purchase another product that has been made from an animal. However, I don’t feel comfortable just throwing away the unfortunate amount of animal products littering my wardrobe and vanity case.
Jumper: My Mom Sweatshirt
Shoes: Sam Edelman Zoe High Heel Ankle Boots (✕)