Q: What is your position on the incorporation of recycled/reclaimed animal skins into garments.
A: Objectively speaking, anything re-used is better than new when it comes to resource extraction and production. In a perfect world, everything would be cycled through over and over until it was just not usable anymore…. and then it would harmlessly be reincorporated into an ecosystem.
However, animals are not objects. Fashion is a form of visual communication (one of the most powerful in our current culture) – so my advice to people who care about animals used in the fashion industry is to avoid any “loud” garments like fur coats, or fox tail key chains or leather trench coats…. because whether we want to or not, when we make garments look good it creates a demand, and there is a chance someone who doesn’t know it’s thrift or recycled will go buy a new garment. No one is going to jump down your throat for having a vintage wool-blend jacket or vintage silk tie – but as long as we even consider it acceptable for animals to be exploited or killed and their body parts to be turned into objects of consumption and symbols of class/status/wealth/power/beauty, respecting and liberating animals from their current status as “units of production” or “resources” will never be accomplished.All in all, it’s pretty easy to avoid animal products in fashion. There are so many amazing, durable, beautiful and eco-friendly alternatives- it just requires designers to look outside the box.
A: There are some great resources! First you should know about HappyCow.net – because you can use it to search for veg-friendly restaurants and stores in any city in the world! I use it every time I travel and it is an excellent resource.
Secondly, our friend Chloe Jo at the GGA has complied an impressive “best of” list for your consideation.If you want an easy, funny, no-nonsense read on the basics of vegan 101, pick up a copy of my friend Rory’s “Skinny Bitch“. It’s brash and foul-mouthed, but hilarious and it’s the reason Ellen and Portia went vegan. If you want something more scholarly and philisophical, Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” is considered the Animal Rights Bible. Classic.
As for cookbooks, just try experimenting with easy recipes. The internet has every recipe on earth. For every food you like, there is a vegan version of it.Finally – if you need ethical motivation to stick to your new convictions, watch the Joaquin Phoenix documentary called Earthlings (you can see it online) . You will never ever want to participate in any sort of animal exploitation again.