June 2013, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park. A quiet evening, the restaurant smells of onion rings, and people are chatting in the background. A Native American couple arrives. They are young, probably in their 30s. The outfits they wear incorporate simple garments. But their footwear catches my attention. Smiling, they welcome me politely, and I show them their table. They are curious to know more about my country. I am interested to find out more about their lifestyle. I ask if they handcrafted the sandals themselves. They confirm I was right, the footwear is actually leather. Although they are vegetarians, they chose to wear a part of the animal to give it continuity after its death. Somehow that moment remained embedded in my memory. Can we show love for the animals without being vegetarians/vegans? Wearing an animal print piece says the opposite?
The question wearing animal print is against being vegetarian or vegan stuck in my mind. I know it can easily be associated it with using animal hides as clothing but it`s just a print. This post is not a debate if you should/shouldn`t be a vegetarian/vegan. We all have different lifestyles.
Where is the essence?
Apparently, because you chose an animal print piece, you encourage the idea of animal exploitation. I never thought that someone wearing this pattern would hurt animals. If I choose florals, it`s simple – I like flowers. That does not mean I’m going to destroy all the gardens. A palm tree print doesn`t encourage me to chop all the trees belonging to the Arecaceae family. I do not think the real issue here is the print.
Too much / not enough action
Oh, are you still a vegetarian?
You’re vegetarian; it’s not enough. Why are you not vegan?
You’re a vegan. Why are you not changing the world?
Are you sure the footwear is made out of vegan leather? It looks natural to me.
Is that an artificial fur coat or real fur?
Oh, people like to assume things and criticise others. You do not have to belong to a particular category to care. As well, you don`t need to justify yourself. Just be what you want to be. We rebel when someone wears leather clothes or animal print. But what do we feel about zoos, circuses, products tested on animals? Pet-shops or the pollution affecting the animals?
How do we strike the balance?
The animal-based industry deserves our attention. But we often forget to take into consideration the environment. We deliberately chose to poison it. The environmental destruction rages around us and we can do better.
Our small actions lead to large movements. Personally, I have days when I do not feel the need to eat meat products. I decided to reduce the number of leather clothes and avoid the products tested on animals. The very few leather items I have are from the second-hand shops. I believe that damage is already done, so I choose to recycle.
H&M Sweater | BOOHOO Skirt | TIDEBUY Bag | ASOS Boots| MISSGUIDED Jacket
Location Wrynose Pass & Hardknott Pass
Ewa says hi to you all!
What do you think? Being vegetarian/vegan is more of a trend nowadays?