05 April 2012

TDIV Q&A: What are your thoughts on vegans buying second hand items that aren't vegan?

First, ask yourself why you want these second hand leather products.

Is it because that leather Chanel bag is just too great a bargain to pass up?
Does that vintage leather jacket make you feel sexy?
Are those slightly worn, brown leather boots the most adorable pair you have ever seen?

No matter how great the deal, or how much you can justify that purchasing 10-year-old leather is better than buying leather straight from the factory, you are still wearing animal skin.

Sure, by purchasing vintage leather products you are not contributing to any new leather production. But if you are against the manufacturing of animal skin and fur for clothing and accessories (as vegans tend to be), then choosing vintage over fresh leather boots is hardly the way to take a stand.

The solution: go fake. Even top designers today are creating gorgeous faux-leather and faux-fur apparel. You can get fashionable faux-leather jackets, shoes and bags anywhere from Forever 21 (http://www.forever21.com/Product/Main.aspx?br=f21) to Bebe (http://www.bebe.com/) to Stella McCartney (http://www.stellamccartney.com/default/). If you’re specifically going thrift store shopping, keep your eye out for these faux-leather friendly designers: Enzo Angiolini, Kate Spade, Liz Claiborne, Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden and Calvin Klein.

The next time you are thrift store shopping and a fabulous vintage leather bag catches your eye, just think: do I really want to be accessorizing my outfits with animal skin?

It's up to you.

But if you are a vegan who cares not only about not eating animals, but also treating them humanely, then you shouldn’t want to wear their skin… second hand or not.

Rachel Fryer | Email
Maryland A lifelong vegetarian and animal lover, Rachel Fryer enjoys writing, traveling, eating spicy food, drinking coconut water, reading historical fiction and sweating (she is also a Bikram yoga teacher). Rachel is excited to attend grad school for her Masters in English in Fall 2012 and to adopt a shelter dog in the near future.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/kareneliot