If there’s one trend that hit 2018 harder than the Beast from the East and cropped up in the news more than Meghan Markle, it’s veganism.
From Pizza Hut rolling out its vegan cheese nationwide in January to the release of Morrison’s vegan pigs in blankets in December (a true Christmas miracle), not to mention Iceland’s orangutan-centric Christmas advert, the past 12 months have seen the cruelty-free lifestyle become mainstream. The bloom of this trend is showing no signs of wilting. Once again this year’s Veganuary campaign hit record highs with a massive 250,000 people pledging to cut all meat and animal produce from their diets in January.
All our everyday items can be given the vegan touch
However, the ethos of ethical living doesn’t stop at our dinner plates. When living cruelty-free, every aspect of life is involved. From the clothes in our wardrobe to the cosmetics on our bathroom shelf, all our everyday items can be given the vegan touch.
When it comes to cosmetic products there’s a difference between the terms “vegan” and “cruelty-free”. When a product is described as vegan it contains no animal derivatives and should not have been tested on animals. However, cruelty-free products should not have been tested on animals but may contain animal derivatives, such as The Body Shop’s range of honey beauty products. So if you’re trying to be completely vegan, make sure you check the labelling carefully.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to get your hands on beauty products that are both vegan and cruelty-free. The aforementioned Body Shop is a great place to start. A cruelty-free trailblazer, The Body Shop has always been vehemently against animal-testing, and in 2018 their #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting campaign reached a massive 8 million signatures. Many of its products are also vegan, and thanks to its clear labelling, it’s easy to pinpoint which. Similarly, cult bath-bomb innovator Lush is 100% cruelty-free, with 80% of its products verified as vegan. So if you’re looking for some cruelty-free bathroom essentials (a sparkly flower-shaped rainbow-coloured strawberry-scented Lush bath bomb definitely qualifies as an essential), then The Body Shop and Lush are perfect.
The past few years have seen companies begin to offer cruelty-free alternatives to typically leather accessories
These stores also sell makeup products, but if you’re looking for a brand with a wider range of options, there’s plenty of choice. Highstreet saviour Barry M’s products are all cruelty-free and from its coconut-infused nail varnish to its body glitter, the majority of its products contain no animal derivatives, making it 100% vegan-friendly. There are also countless high-end makeup brands that cater to the cruelty-free lifestyle, such as Urban Decay, Too Faced, and Lime Crime to name a few, all of whose products are of high quality and high ethical standards.
It’s not just the products that we put on our faces that can be made cruelty-free. The past few years have seen companies begin to offer cruelty-free alternatives to typically leather accessories.
Britain’s favourite cool boot manufacturer Dr Martens launched vegan boots in 2011 and expanded its vegan collection to include satchels and a rucksack in early 2018. These are created using a material which mimics the leather of their classic boots. With snakeskin prints, chrome designs, and sandals included in the collection, as well as more traditional styles, Dr Martens allows you to keep the cool without losing the compassion.
Similarly, the Cambridge Satchel Company started selling vegan-friendly and eco-friendly satchels and rucksacks in 2016 and there’s a variety of purely-vegan brands which create bags and shoes with leather-alternatives. For example, aptly-named Beyond Skin, a British company based in Brighton, makes vegan shoes using “luxurious Italian vegan leather”.
Living a more cruelty-free, compassionate lifestyle has never been easier
When it comes to cruelty-free garms, boho clothing brand Free People has an entire collection dedicated to vegans. Featuring fluffy faux-fur leopard print coats, faux-leather skirts, faux-leather jackets, and even a faux-suede suit, this collection is a wavy-garmed vegan’s dream come true.
So it seems that 2019 really might be the Year of the Vegan. Even if you don’t want to take the plunge and turn to the green side completely, living a more cruelty-free, compassionate lifestyle has never been easier and if it’s not already on your 2019 to-do-list, I hope you’ll consider adding it.