So I am really getting the eating part down, and even though I have still been surprised here and there to find a non-vegan ingredient (namely butter) in some foodstuffs, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on that realm.
So what’s next? What other areas of my world do I need to examine? One obvious place to start to make changes is in my own home, my furniture, and mostly, my clothing. Now, I have never been one to wear furs of any kind, and being a larger lady means that most of my clothes have been accidentally vegan all along to allow for stretch! Just by virtue of preferring comfort over style, I don’t own any leather shoes or jackets so I am good there. Also, I am by no means rich or caring about high fashion so my purses tend to be man-made faux leather varieties. I am certain I need to learn more about how different textiles and materials are made though because I am not aspiring to just be vegan, but also an environmentally-conscious human being. And while I would still choose a man-made material over an animal product every single time, I would like to be sure I am choosing the most environmentally-friendly option.
This plays an even bigger role in my life because I have a side-hustle hobby of selling pre-owned clothing on Poshmark. This all started back when I first started losing weight in 2019… you know, back when we all actually had to go in to the office every day! I didn’t want my work clothes to look sloppy on me, but it was killing me to keep buying new business casual clothes all the time. Plus size clothing is very expensive and it can be really hard to find a seamstress who knows what they are doing with plus size frames. And even though I was donating the clothes that were now too big for me, I still had this awful feeling about contributing to textile waste. Did you know that in Canada, the average person throws out 81 pounds of textiles annually, while North Americans send 10 million tonnes of clothing to the landfill every year — most of which could be reused or recycled, according to statistics compiled by Waste Reduction Week in Canada. I had seen a lot of American influencers posting about selling their clothes on Poshmark and thought I would check it out. This was in November of 2019, and lucky for me, Poshmark Canada had just launched 6 months prior in May 2019. I found tons of plus sized women who were selling their clothing, name brands I loved like Torrid, Ava & Viv, and Penningtons for waaaaaay cheaper than I could get in store and sometimes the clothing was brand new with tags! After a few months of using the service as a buyer… I decided I could probably do this selling stuff and raided my closet. It has really become my favourite hobby, outside of writing, and has provided me with a way to contribute to a sustainable industry. I sold most of the items from my closet pretty quickly, and after cleaning out Andrew’s closet, I decided it was time to take the next step… thrifting! I use Facebook Marketplace and other online sources to buy clothing lots from women looking to shed their wardrobe. I also go to thrift stores to see if I can pick up a few purses or shoes… items that are harder to find on the websites.
And here is where my next dilemma lies — As a fashion reseller, authentic leather shoes and purses sell for way more than their faux leather or canvas counterparts usually. Even still, I feel like to be on this vegan journey means not taking part in the purchase or selling of any animal products at all, period. I think as I move forward, that is the only way I will be able to be happy about staying in the fashion industry. At the moment, I believe I have one leather purse and two pairs of leather shoes left. Once those are gone, I am done… no more animal products, no matter the profit. It just isn’t worth it.
And I know now, after learning so much about the animal products that slip into food, that I will have to do tons of research about animal products that may slip into the fashion chain. Companies can be so sneaky and underhanded about their practices, it is sickening! For example, the popular “Canada Goose” company that I have long-loathed just announced they are going to stop using fur by 2022. Great… how about all those frigging down feathers you stuff the coats with, is that going too? You going to change your name to “Canada Synthetic Goose”? So frustrating! And yet, the media heralds them for being so forward-thinking and kind…. give me a break.
I am happy to hear any recommendations on vegan clothing companies and bonus points if they sell plus size clothing. Also happy to hear from anyone about things I should be looking for on labels for purses, shoes, or other products that could be sneaky animal products! Here is to hoping that everyone’s individual small changes one day amount to a healthier world less cruel 🙂
Am I vegan yet?