by Yasmin Laws
With veganism becoming an ever-growing trend, not only in London but within cities throughout the world, it is no shock that PETA now celebrates the best vegan clothing products in the country. London was recently voted the most vegetarian-friendly city due to its wide expanse of specifically vegetarian restaurants as well as meat-free options on many menus. However, the recently-announced PETA Vegan Fitness Awards remind us that a cruelty-free life goes beyond tofu and faux fur.
Common fabrics made from animal hair include angora wool, horsehair, cashmere and even felt, something a lot of us forget when ordering online. However, due to the properties required of fitness fashion such as comfort and breathability, a lot of active wear is made from polyester and spandex as synthetic materials hold more of these properties than natural ones. Similarly, the flexibility required of trainers usually requires a mixture of synthetic rubbers and cotton. PETA have found the best of the best of vegan activewear and announced the winners of the Vegan Fitness Awards 2018.
Big brands such as Sweaty Betty and Adidas by Stella McCartney are two of the names on this list; the Sweaty Betty Exploration Soft Shell Jacket has swapped out the feathers usually found in outerwear for Primaloft Insulation and the Adidas Gym Bag, in true Stella McCartney style, uses no animal products to create a versatile bag that can be worn both as a shopper and a rucksack. One of the less expected winners is ASOS with a new 4505 trainer in grey with yellow strap detail.
However, replies on Twitter question how practical these shoes really are, with comments such as “Why are none of them suitable for sports?” and “active line trainers […] not suitable for sports”. Similar reviews are left for the Exploration Sweaty Betty jacket; it is “not up to the job”, “the fabric is stiff” and “it just doesn’t keep the wind out”.
This leads us to question whether, where activewear may require animal products and they are substituted for synthetic materials, this may also substitute the practicality of an item? And when an item costs £385, as the Sweaty Betty jacket does, is the ethics of it superior to its use? This is something for the individual to answer.
Images via ASOS/Adidas