In our inherently selfish way, human beings have managed to wipe out an extraordinary amount of animals. Fashion, amongst other man-made causes such as climate change and habitat loss, is one of the biggest reason why animals have become endangered. Therefore, this Endangered Species Day, we have decided to explore five fashion brands that help to raise awareness of endangered animals and against illegal poaching.
In today’s fashion world, majestic and gentle elephants are hunted down daily for their tusks, just so that shoppers have yet another ivory trinket or accessory to add to their collection. Despite technology advancements that help keep us warm, as well as the option of faux furs, millions of beautiful creatures such as seals, Arctic foxes, brown bears, and red pandas are still being slaughtered for their pelts.
As such, it’s no wonder fashion has a reputation for being frivolous, cruel, and highly-consumerist (which may put the interest of consumers and profit before the suffering of others). Thankfully, as with everything, there is good to balance out the evil. For instance, environmentally-friendly and socially-conscious fashion brands protest against the illegal wildlife trade, as well as the poachers and consumers who make it possible.
While they do not march on the streets or form their own army of anti-poachers, they instead educate shoppers and raise funds to support foundations whose jobs and expertise are to end the illegal trade and conserve endangered species.
Here are some of the brands you should support, and some of their collections we’ve picked out as being animal friendly:
1. The Elephant Pants
The Elephant Pants donates a portion of every sale to help prevent elephant poaching, from educating people about the ivory trade — their tusks do not just drop off, people! — to supplying park rangers with proper supplies and adequate training for tracking animals and stopping poachers. Their pants are made by seamstresses in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which explains why these pants look so familiar to those who travel to Thailand often! However, this time, you know where your money is going to. Each product also comes with a story about an elephant its named after.
TOMS’ Animal Initiative partners with non-profit animal conservation organisations to raise awareness and support for global animal protection. Right now, they are focusing on sea turtles, whose species are currently vulnerable, threatened or endangered due to commercial fishing and other human-caused threats. For every pair of TOMS + Oceana Sea Turtle shoes purchased, TOMS will donate USD5 to help save marine life, such as sea turtles. As is their usual practice, with every TOMS purchase, a new pair of shoes will also be given to a child in need, under their One for One programme.
3. Brave Gentlemen
Brave Gentlemen is against animals being part of any fashion production system, as well as ecosystems being destroyed just so you can have another leather bag or a pair of jeans. After all, that slaughter-business is one cause of environmental problems and animals being endangered. This is why the label only makes their footwear and accessories in Italian future-leather: a durable, supple, weather resistant, hi-tech microfiber that is EU-Ecolabel Certified.
4. Freedom of Animals
This cruelty-free brand loves the look and feel of leather, but hates the practices behind it, so they found a more sustainable fabric — polyurethane! “We believe it is important to respect nature and use only sustainably sourced, humane materials,” states the brand. They also partner with Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, which conserves wildlife and rehabilitates orphaned elephants and rhinoceroses — some of whom lost their parents to poachers. Part of their proceeds go to the trust, and to honour these elephants further, their bags are named after them.
5. Animal Behaviour
With the tagline “Inspired By Nature To Protect Nature”, Animal Behaviour releases collections that are influenced by a critically endangered species. For instance, they are currently aiming to reverse the Amur Leopard’s endangerment and extinction, and donates 5% of each purchase to Panthera, an organisation which focuses on wild cats as well as the landscapes and habitats they depend on.
Although the simple act of purchasing from brands such as these won’t bring extinct creatures back from extinction, we can only take a step at a time to fight against tagging more species on the endangered list. As we take the time to celebrate Endangered Species Day today, have a wonderful TGIF, and stay tuned for next week’s edition of Quirky Holidays!