Ignorance is bliss. Until very recently I never appreciated the sentiment behind these three little words. Instead, I have long believed that ignorance is the enemy.
I recently came across a statistic so upsetting that I wish I could remain blissfully ignorant to. That is that 70 billion animals are slaughtered every year for food and fashion consumption. There is no diplomatic or gentle way of putting that information. It is quite simply shameful.
For the past few years, I have been following a vegetarian lifestyle only succumbing to the occasional sashimi craving. However, Netflix’s Seaspiracy has made me more determined to fight said cravings. It was relatively easy for me to give up meat, apart from my Mum’s chicken schnitzel, as I never really enjoyed it. However, I never extended this consciousness to my fashion choices. To be honest, this came from a feeling of not wanting to give up leather because it is known for its quality and durability and yes, I feel like a hypocrite. Since stumbling across the statistic, I have been reflecting on why it has been so hard to bid farewell to leather-based goods.
I sense a little indoctrination.
There is no doubt we are raised to believe leather is better. Historically, our ancestors relied on animal products to construct their clothes as there were no synthetic options. As such, it is instinct to still turn to animals as the foundation for our clothes. There is also an argument that synthetic products cause more damage to the environment as they traditionally utilise more water and energy in their manufacturing process, but this really depends on the product at hand. The difference is our ancestors lived in different times where over population was not a concern so the rate at which we consume animals for food and fashion purposes is incomparable.
The bottom line is we cannot keep going at this rate. The question inevitably arises as to what choices can we as fashion consumers make so as not to contribute to this pernicious statistic. There are two paths we can take. If you enjoy leather, then why not capitalise off the predominant property that makes it so attractive- its durability. In doing so invest in beautifully crafted pieces found by way of the vintage marketplace or consignment industry. In becoming the custodian of a preloved piece, you can enjoy the benefits of leather without contributing to a destructive cycle. Alternatively you can support brands, like Sans Beast who produce quality handbags without sacrificing the welfare of animals.
Established in 2017 by Cathryn Wills, Sans Beast recognised a gap in the market and a growing desire for products not derived from animals in the fashion realm. Affordable, functional, and crafted with care, this Australian label brings new meaning to the phrase “made with love.” Simply put I cannot sing their praises loud enough. This is what the fashion industry needs as it inspires consumers to become more educated and is solution based. When it comes to my life as a fashion blogger, discovering ethical brands such as Sans Beast inspires me to make better choices whilst giving me hope for a brighter tomorrow.
This brand is one that not only supports animals through their vegan product range but further support animal sanctuaries like the incredible Edgars Missions. It is clear that a love for all creatures great and small is at the heart of who they are. What I have come to appreciate about this Australian brand is not only have they identified a gap in the market but in creating their brand they’re inspiring their consumers to be more mindful whilst simultaneously changing attitudes towards veganism. There is no denying that in the modern age veganism unfortunately has a militant, all or nothing reputation. As much as I support the vegan cause, this approach alienates most people. Sans Beast is subtle and encouraging in their approach and through the use of fashion, the core of veganism is being heard as the consumer is involved in the conversation. This promotes change and as a fellow animal lover I applaud their work.
Furthermore, through their stylish product base and use of good quality polyurethane (PU) and most recently Desserto Pelle cactus ‘leather,’ Sans Beast is challenging our instinctive attitudes towards leather. This shift in perspective is imperative in world where it’s not just an ethical case of slaughtering 70 billion animals but an environmental one. The tanning of traditional leather is reliant on toxic chemicals which are released into waterways and with mass farming comes mass water consumption and methane emissions. Loving and leaving leather for good can be a daunting decision but with remarkable brands like Sans Beast paving the way it is evident that you can embrace #beautywithoutbeast.