Choosing The Best Sustainable Vegan Accessories For Your Wardrobe
The trend of veganism is taking over the fashion industry. From staples to accessories, consumers are asking brands to keep their collections as cruelty-free as possible. And many recent innovations – including alternatives to leather made from food by-products, plastic, and other recycled materials – can really help create unique, trendy vegan fashion products.
However, just because a product has “vegan” on its label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good piece to buy and be proud of. Some accessories – even those made from sustainable materials – are anything but good for our planet.
Confused enough?! Don’t worry, we’ve put this article together to navigate the ocean of vegan fashion and help you spot the best accessories, so you never have to search elsewhere for this info again.
What’s the best vegan fashion accessory?
In a world where animals and people are exploited and the environment is polluted to create disposable fashion items, we all have to play our part.
Switching to a long-lasting, cruelty-free everyday accessory made from sustainable materials by fairly paid workers is a small yet huge step towards a better world. In a nutshell, the best vegan accessory you can have in your wardrobe is a product that is kind to both all living beings and our planet.
Easier said than done. Yes, indeed, when it comes to fashion accessories, “vegan” and “sustainable” don’t always go hand in hand. But how could we choose a vegan product that is not sustainable? After all, if we love animals to the point that we don't want them to suffer for vanity purposes, we should also consider the indirect impacts – air and soil pollution, water contamination, deforestation – that our unsustainable consumption choices have on them!
Why choose vegan accessories?
As we dive into how to differentiate “good” from “bad” vegan accessories, let's first of all clarify why choosing vegan is one of the kindest things to do.
We definitely don’t need to wear animal derivatives including fur, feathers, and silk to be stylish and on-trend, don’t we? Organic cotton, linen, and hemp are some valid cruelty-free and sustainable alternatives. And the same goes for leather, by far the most popular material for accessories: we don’t need to cause suffering to animals to dress well.
Did you know that over 1 billion cows, sheep, crocodiles, and other animals are slaughtered every year in the leather industry to make bags, shoes, and accessories like belts and watch straps?
As if this was not enough, the leather industry is also highly damaging – both socially and environmentally. Indeed, tanning leather requires a variety of hazardous chemicals like chromium, formaldehyde, and arsenic, which eventually end up in waterways. Around 22,000 cubic meters of untreated waste-water flows every day through major tanning country India and into the Ganges River, which people drink from and bathe in.
Last but not least, a recent report linked hundreds of fashion brands to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest through their leather supply chains.
In such a world, choosing vegan accessories is the only option. But they must also be sustainable. How to figure this out?
Plant-based alternatives to leather: vegan and sustainable (but not so much)
Many of the newest vegan alternative fabrics to animal leather are made from cactus and pineapple leaves, apple skins and cores, grape seeds and stalks, and more. These raw materials, mostly by-products of the food industry, won’t make you miss genuine leather at all. And of course, they are sustainable – after all, they give new life to waste materials and avoid the consumption of new resources.
These innovative fabrics guarantee abrasion, rubbing, tearing, and tensile resistance. Many are also waterproof, breathable, and biodegradable. But hey, often all that glitter isn't gold! Indeed, just because a brand uses sustainable fabrics, it’s not necessarily good for the environment as well.
We always need to consider the average lifetime of the materials, and understand how long your watch will actually last. Avoiding overconsumption is essential to move towards a more sustainable and kinder world for all living beings. And buying sustainable products that could easily break down is hardly an eco-friendly option.
What about vegan polymer-based alternatives to leather?
Faux leather made from PVC and polyurethane: vegan yet unsustainable
Most vegan leathers are PVC- and polyurethane-based and are usually more durable than plant-based fabrics. But they are not necessarily more sustainable – in general, it’d be hard to call a product made from plastic and fossil fuels eco-friendly.
It's true, faux leather doesn't slaughter animals. But its production, consumption, and ultimately disposal also cause damage to animals. Faux leather can go under intensive chemical processing, leaks toxic chemicals into the ground, never fully biodegrades, is extremely difficult to recycle and repurpose, and emits toxic gasses when burned in incinerators.
Fast fashion brands widely use vegan leather made from plastic polymers as it’s cheap and greatly mimics genuine animal skin. Due to the poor quality of these materials, the products won't last long… conversely, their plastic components will never decompose. And the problem of overconsumption and unsustainability shows up again.
Faux leather made from PVC and polyurethane is far from being a sustainable solution.
“Each cheap accessory is awash with components that are as badly glued on as they are badly matched, made to be broken quickly, but not to break up in landfill” – Orsola de Castro
Solios Watches: the best accessory that never compromises between love for animals and sustainability
We've said it once, and we'll say it again: the best vegan accessory you can have in your wardrobe is a product that combines the love for all living beings and the planet, with no exceptions. And yes, it’s surely difficult to find a product with all these characteristics. But it’s not impossible.
Guess what, Solios Watches creates the perfect accessories you’ve been looking for!
The cruelty-free vegan leather we use for our watch straps is made from silicone and doesn't contain any traces of polyurethane(PU), PVC, or toxic agents. Our vegan leather is by far the most sustainable option as it covers the best of both worlds. Every and each Solios watch is the best animal- and eco-friendly accessory you can have in your wardrobe.
What about our inlay? Most watch companies use plastic or rubber to inlay their vegan leather watch straps. Early on in the Solios adventure, we found out that one of our suppliers was using rubber as the inlay material. We ended that relationship right away and spent a few months finding another partner that would want to innovate by our side. Eventually, we found a fantastic partner.
Today, our inlay material is made of cork, which is 100% sustainable and perfect for making it as subtle on your wrist as it is sustainable on nature. More importantly, it's so durable that you'll never want to go back to real leather.
Our vegan, sustainable, solar-powered watches are meant to be worn from day ‘til night. Thanks to their timeless yet contemporary design that never gets old, you won’t be tempted to buy new accessories on repeat. Not sure yet? All our straps are interchangeable – you can create all the styles you want without buying a new watch.