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(US-ma) Clothing with a conscience Dressing 'cruelty-free' doesn't have to mean sacrificing style

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  • AnimalConcerns.org
    North of Boston image consultant Ginger Burr makes a silent statement every morning while getting dressed for work - her stylish wardrobe is 100 percent vegan.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2007
      North of Boston image consultant Ginger Burr makes a silent statement
      every morning while getting dressed for work - her stylish wardrobe is
      100 percent vegan.

      What's vegan, you ask? Veganism is the practice of not eating meat,
      fish, eggs or dairy products - anything from an animal. And most
      people who follow the practice - who are known vegans - typically shun
      clothing made from animal byproducts, including leather, wool,
      cashmere, suede, shearling, down, silk and fur because they believe
      the animals are treated inhumanely.

      "Veganism is more than what you eat, it is a personal philosophy of
      living a life of compassion toward all living beings," Burr said.
      "Sure, it takes a little extra thought and effort. But as my mother
      has always said, anything worth doing is worth doing well."

      Burr, who hasn't eaten red meat in 25 years, decided to go vegan
      roughly a year-and-a-half ago after reading about what she considered
      to be cruel treatment of animals in the dairy industry. She rid her
      closet of all animal byproducts; however, she hasn't replaced her
      sophisticated style of dress with tie-dye and peace beads.

      Because there are so many cruelty-free options, vegans can make a
      statement without altering their personal style, said Burr, who helps
      clients best present themselves through their clothing and makeup

      "I think people have this idea that if you went vegan, you'd have to
      look like a hippie with boiled hemp socks," said Jo Tyler, a
      Newburyport resident who is a vegan. "My dad became a vegetarian in
      the '70s and he said all he could find (to wear) was hemp belts that
      looked like they were made right out of the forest. It's not like that
      anymore. A lot of my friends are surprised to learn that I'm a vegan
      because I don't look any different than them."
      Cruelty-free fashion is gaining some traction at the top of the
      fashion food chain. Major labels like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and
      J.Crew all pledge to not use fur; designer Marc Bouwer refuses to use
      fur, leather and wool. And Stella McCartney remains the captain of the
      cruelty-free fashion movement, as all her productions - including her
      high-end synthetic shoes - are free of animal by-products, said
      Michael McGraw, spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of
      Animals, better known as PETA.
      "In society 20 years ago, vegetarians were nothing but small co-ops
      focused on the vegetarian lifestyle," said Susan Nichole, a vegan
      handbag designer who previously lived in Amesbury and is now based in
      California. "But I've seen, as the years have gone by, there are now
      many more options for vegetarians in the grocery stores, in
      restaurants. That's now just starting to happen in the fashion
      industry, but it is a slow process and will take a long time."

      The vegan fashion movement still has a way to go before the trickle
      turns into a downpour, said Marc Delaney, founder of the Salem Vegan
      Society in Salem, Mass.

      Ken Perkins, a national retail analyst with Retail Metrics LLC in
      Swampscott, didn't know of any research on the trend, nor did
      spokesmen from the National Retail Federation or the NPD Group, a
      national retail marketing research company. And there are really just
      a few exclusively vegan online retailers and shops, Delaney noted.

      "It's pretty comical trying to buy belts or shoes online," he said.
      McGraw said shoe shoppers can find trendy, synthetic shoes at major
      chains like Payless and Target or fur-free clothing at the youthful
      retailer Forever 21. And should winter give us one final push, Lands'
      End offers faux shearling and faux suede items, said Helen Rayshick,
      cofounder of the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition.

      full story:

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