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It’s now common knowledge that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth – but what’s less common is the idea that this can be achieved not only by controlling what we put in our bodies, but also what we put on them.
Ten years ago, being a vegan or vegetarian was much harder than it is now – there were less dishes on offer in restaurants, and friends and family knew fewer recipes to offer as alternatives to meat and two veg. But pressure from the inside out has lead the market to expand; now, vegetarian or vegan options are often more exciting, and better value for money than their meaty alternatives.
And the same is happening in fashion – remember the scandal when ASOS’ supposedly ‘faux’ fur jackets turned out to be real? People are no longer solely advocating faux animal products because of animal cruelty but are adding ehttp://www.wilbyclutch.comnvironmental impact onto the list. At Wilby bags, we’re responding to, and pushing forward the care for our planet.
But unlike the vegans of many years ago, going vegan in your accessories no longer means a martyrdom of pleasure. In fact, it’s probably going to make life a lot easier. Take your standard weekend bag for example. Then add in a raining English weekend. What do you get? Cracked, salt-lined leather that immediately looks like it’s worth £2 of the £250 you spent on it. Meanwhile, your friend with her vegan bag sails on by, saving the planet and doing it with style
By Antonia Cundy
The Guardian has stated that veganism has officially left the fringes and entered the mainstream. You only have to look at the expanding food market and the fact that veganism in the UK has soared to 3.5 million to see that it is not a fleeting movement.
There is the notion that veganism is restricted to food and many vegans, flexitarians/others shy away from the fashion industry and its flaws.
Sustainable and vegan bags, shoes and fashion can help make an negative impact on the leather industry and a positive impact on the environment. Cow hides are, of course, not just used for food and 70% of it’s production is used for shoe soles as well as jackets, car seats, bags, sofas and many more.
The sheer amount of waste that fast fashion creates can be seen in landfills globally and contributes to ocean pollution. We hope that the next vegan agenda will be to explicitly address what we wear on a day-to-day basis.
While figures were announced this week that the milk industry lost approximately 240 million in sales for the previous year, the rise of vegan alternatives for meat, dairy and other products continue to grow.
Tesco’s have stated that the demand for vegan alternatives to ready meals and snacks has soared to over 40%. People who identify themselves as vegan in the UK have soared to 500,000.
This is all exacerbated by the rise in the celebrity vegan, from Brad Pitt to Miley Cyrus taking up a meat free diet and being open about the cause on social media.
We are so honoured to have won the Best Green category at the Independent handbag awards in New York. It was the ever popular Bailey Black Saddle that won it and thanks must go out to Lucy Housman, Sophie Bailey, Eeva Rinne, Lucy Orr Ewing, Emily Eden and Jordan Delarosa. A special mention also to Ali Abbas a Wilby website designer who tragically passed away last year and to Martin Housman who has obtained a serious injury and has been a massive supporter of Wilby.
We are glad the efforts of the Bailey collection have been noticed as not only are they vegan but they are sustainable; they are made from new technology cork whereby the cork bark is peeled from the tree and subsequently regenerates. All bags in this collection are hand made in the UK.
Wilby has been nominated for the Independent Bag Awards under the Basic Adhesives Green Bag Award. We would like to say a big thank you to Emily and Marina at the Independent Bag Awards for all of their help and support. It is an honour to be recognised for our green ethics and design and the Bailey Saddle bag (the bag that is nominated) is made from sustainable cork and eco – friendly glue, it is also made in the UK and has been worn by well known vegan celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone.
We are also in the running for the Instyle award where you can vote for the Bailey Saddle bag below:
Many of you may have seen in the news this week that the Oscar-winning actor met the meme sensation ‘Salt BAE’ real name Nusret Gökçe, while dining out in the Dubai branch of his steakhouse chain.
Salt Bae captured the moment on Instagram in a picture which shows him seasoning DiCaprio’s steak as the actor looks on. You are now probably wondering why a vegan fashion brand is writing about this celebrity fuelled moment: The issue is with the steak itself.
We are a big fan of Leonardo at Wilby; with him being an avid environmentalist, who has even divested from the funding of fossil fuel companies and has released a documentary. But he needs to be informed (or reminded) that one of the most harmful things an individual can do for the environment is to eat steak on the regular. Although there is a strong possibility that the steak was wonderfully organic and bred on a small scale, it goes against the tone we are setting as environmentalists and it is not the first time he has been filmed with meat.
It brings a larger issue that is seen in such documentaries as Cowspiracy, that many environmentalists are still obsessed with C02 and only C02. They still do not realise that methane (animal agriculture a large contributor) and other gases are far worse, trap more heat and something that would be relevant for Leonardo: It is the largest contributor to deforestation in the amazon.
This combined with the amount of water, energy and land it takes to consume a meat based diet, the health benefits of veganism and vegetarianism, it is time for all environmentalists to jump on the bandwagon and denounce regular meat eating.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has approved plans for fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton in Lancashire. Environmentalists and local campaign groups reacted angrily, saying that it was a denial of local democracy.
It means, for the first time, UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally, which is expected to yield more gas. Last year the Lancashire County Council refused to permit fracking at the site last year due to noise and traffic impact. The fracking companies (of course) appealed.
What is shocking is that neither the community or the council are supporting the shift but the move still continues. The Communities Secretary continues the onslaught of horizontal fracking, not for the good of the communities (which ironically is his job title) but for the good of the businesses looking to do the fracking.
There is of course the trouble with paradigms: The government seem to believe that in order to solve energy issues, we can replace fossil fuels with another fossil fuel (If you take a trip to Heathrow airport you can see the various advertisements explicitly explaining this in a shameless promotion of fracking). This concept is persistent despite the the non renewable concept and despite the danger and reduced life quality of the communities having to endure it.
As we know, a major obstacle for the for brands that have forms of ethical sourcing and trading is that they continuously compete with fast fashion. At least 40% of clothes are purchased from value retailers. With fast fashion, it is also a quantity based market and it shows: Women are buying 33% more clothes than at the turn of the century and 4 times as many items as in 1980.
The real pressure in this environment of course is handed to the garment workers in Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and many other places where their production targets may only just remain within human capability. The conditions are, a lot of the time, not worthy of any carbon based life form. So what can we do to defeat the fast fashion business model? It’s simple buy from transparent companies with humane factory conditions and buy less.
Our vegan bags at Wilby for example, are mainly made in the UK (two ranges are made in China with strict factory protocol). Materials are organic where possible which is important for a whole other range of issues. We also recommend looking on the Ethical Fashion Forum and other great companies such as Beyond skin who have great vegan shoes that are made in Europe.
Of course another issue is pricing. In a world where the speed is ever increasing, when in a rush do we have time to pick and choose or is it easier to pick up the five pound top on the way home? Prices are locked down by cheap labour which puts pressure on companies that have a more expensive and organic process. Many brands with a conscience still have to outsource abroad at times.
With all the talks of the consequences of Brexit, the majority of people and politicians are avoiding the most important issue of our time: Environmental progress.
We have just heard that Siemens will be freezing further UK wind power investment and the Country has a bad track record of proactively approaching domestic environmental issues. We hope that the Paris agreement will remain a target.
As a member of the European Union, the U.K. is signed up to the Renewable Energy Directive, which requires the EU as a whole to “fulfil at least 20 percent of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020″, according to the European Commission.
Amber Rudd, The Secretary of State for Climate Change, seemed to assure the green-conscious after the referendum result:”We’re still committed to making sure consumers have secure, affordable and clean energy now and in the future.” But this statement is vague and seems to stress the importance of affordable energy rather than the environmental targets that have already been put in place.
It will simply be a case of seeing what happens, look at your local green projects and if cutbacks are announced, it’s time to write to MPs.