It’s gift-giving season and although vegans have come a long way, baby, some of our friends and family might be a little behind on the times. If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a leather-and-fur-laden wish list this year, check out these five animal-friendly alternatives to popular holiday gifts.
1. Animal Cruelty is Fugg
I never understood the Uggs phenomenon – are there not cuter boots that are equally warm? Whatever the reason people want them, you can’t argue with the cruelty that goes into making them. You can find cheap, accidentally vegan knock offs on Zappos, and even at Target, but I encourage you to avoid “fast fashion” as it’s detrimental to the environment, and to the people forced to make cheap clothes and shoes. Instead, go for a quality pair that will last for years.
Why Not to Buy: Shearling is a pretty word for an ugly material – what it really is is sheep fur with the skin attached. So yeah, Uggs = murder. (Warning: graphic video exposing the cruelty behind Uggs.)
Instead Try: Snug Boot by Vegetarian Shoes – these Ugg lookalikes are manufactured ethically in Portugal with cruelty free faux suede and fleece lining. Price: $145
2. Fur is F**ked
You can’t throw a rock in Chicago without hitting some yuppy in a Canada Goose coat and it drives me insane. Do you think they know their coat is stuffed with feathers plucked from tortured, live ducks and trimmed with fur from murdered coyotes? Do they care?
Why Not to Buy: On their website, Canada Goose barfs some nonsense about ethical standards in sourcing their materials, but the bottom line is, you can’t get feathers off a goose without pulling them off, and you can’t get fur off a coyote without skinning it.
Instead Try: There are LOTS of great vegan alternatives from brands like Patagonia and North Face, but I recently picked up a long winter coat from Save the Duck and love that animal welfare is at the forefront of their message. Prices vary, but you can grab deals on sites like Shopbob.
3. Woold You Not Wear Wool?
Handmade wool socks and mittens are a classic holiday gift, and “luxury” wools like angora and cashmere hide the cruelty of their industries under a layer of fluffy softness. There are tons of alternatives, of course!
Why Not to Buy: Whether it’s clipped, shaved, or in the cruelest cases, pulled out by the root, there is simply no cruelty-free way to remove fur from a live animal. Plus, think about it – they don’t shave a goat once and then let it live a peaceful life. It’s a commodity. Those animals are kept in horrible conditions, and used over and over again until deemed no longer useful, then sold for meat.
Instead Try: I’m not a knitter per say, but you can find lots of luxury, vegan wool alternatives on Vegan Yarn. Prices vary.
4. Compassion is Punk AF
In high school all I wanted was a leather motorcycle jacket so I could look like The Ramones. If I only knew there were cruelty-free alternatives! Now I rock my vegan leather jacket all year long.
Why Not to Buy: Leather is cow skin, obv. I’ve never seen a cow willingly give up it’s skin, but let me know if you have.
Instead Try: This is another one where you can find tons of cheap “fast fashion” vegan jackets – but for quality, and ethical manufacturing, I recommend The James from ethical vegan coat designer Vaute. Price: $398
5. Be Pretty on the Inside
Make up is ALWAYS on my wish list but navigating the complicated world of parent companies and import-mandated animal testing can be tricky. I tend to skip the whole headache and only shop 100% vegan brands that do not sell in China – side-eyeing you, MAC.
Why Not to Buy: I think it’s pretty obvious why, so instead I’m going to tell you how. Avoid these brands.
Instead Try: Again, there are lots of options! My personal favorites are Lunatick Labs (100% vegan), Kat Von D (cruelty-free with lots of vegan options) and Colourpop (also cf with vegan options). Here’s a list of cruelty-free make up brands, too. Prices vary.