Vegan fashion, a new style for the future

Author: Rabia Gül Yazar

In today's world, where climate change, global warming and environmental destruction are increasing, there are many movements that aim to create change. Although veganism is known by many as an animal rights-based movement, it is also a very necessary movement for ecological balance. While the damage caused by different industries to the environment is known, the necessity of taking measures in this regard and the need for changes in the industries seem inevitable. In this context, we can witness sustainable, ecological and vegan changes in many industries. The fashion industry is one of these industries. Especially vegan fashion sense is not very new, but it is recently been a growing movement. To get detailed information on the subject, we interviewed Gökçe Yüce-Topuzoğlu, the founder of  P.A.L, a vegan, sustainable and eco-friendly brand. 


Can you please explain us what your brand is about?


P.A.L (Protect Animal Lives) is an eco-friendly, 100% vegan brand from production to packaging. At P.A.L, whose name means "friend", we prefer to display a friendly attitude rather than an aggressive one. In our opinion, its special design pattern, story and awareness-raising principle distinguish the brand from a conventional clothing brand. Our main goal is to raise awareness about animal rights and the environment, so our signature design is a pattern created by illustrating 40 different animals. 


In addition, we offer the opportunity to learn about the animals in the design with the information cards attached to each product sold. As a brand, we also aim to help visually challenged individuals identify animals by printing the aforementioned information labels with three-dimensional Braille translation, while also aiming to raise awareness of our other users. Since we are against bad working conditions and excessive energy loss in large workshops, we make order-based production and adopt the ideal of fair fashion. We also plant trees per order with respect for the environment.


How do you use veganism in fashion industry?


I think veganism is misunderstood by many people and has become a trend. At P.A.L what we are trying to change is the industry's damage to our environment, not people's eating habits. According to our research, the fashion industry is the third most harmful industry in the world. As P.A.L, we wanted to take the lead in changing the fashion industry with the principle that we can be stylish without harming the environment. That's why, as a first step, we started by choosing the fabric of every garment we produce from fabrics approved by the European Vegetarian Union and patented V-Labe and GRS (Global Recycle Standard) certified. 


I think I should talk a little bit about what vegan fabric is. Vegan fabric is a fabric that does not harm animals, the environment and humans. The vegan fabrics we use are fabrics that do not contain animal protein from the fabric to the dye, and are produced from the waste parts of materials such as linen and cotton. We prefer to produce plant-based fabrics by using the vegetable equivalents of animal-based fabrics such as silk and leather, and when we bury these fabrics in the ground, half of them disappear completely in 2-2.5 months.

What is the importance of veganism for sustainability? 


Sustainability is an important concept in general, as well as for the fashion industry. Today, there are many brands that state that they are sustainable. But the question should be:  is the face of the product suitable for sustainability? In other words, if you are producing something other than recycled products, in other words, if you are producing products from scratch, in my personal opinion, vegan fabric would be the right choice.


Vegan fashion and big brands 


What can vegan fashion change?


I think that vegan fashion will benefit the world in terms of the production of the materials.  As we mentioned in the previous question, the fact that fashion is among the most harmful industries in the world is proof that the industry needs to change. The existence of so many clothing brands and the use of animal-based and synthetic fabrics create a difficult process in terms of production and recycling. However, the fact that every brand goes into production with the right materials, the production process is ecological, and the production progresses slowly and fairly, not quickly, but will both prevent energy loss and cause significant changes in terms of environment and human health.


Do you believe that is it possible for us to adopt sustainable and vegan industries?


I believe that the fashion industry will change in this direction in the future. Of course, it is promising that Armani used fabric made entirely from plastic bottles in a fashion show, that brands such as Prada and Versace will no longer use fur, and that fast fashion pioneers such as Zara and H&M will be completely sustainable in 2025. But in addition to this good news, I think we can get somewhere as a result of adopting a fair and slow fashion approach as well as vegan fashion.


What is the most important benefits of vegan industries?


The biggest benefit of vegan fashion is, of course, first and foremost for animals and the environment. Instead of seeing animals as the chain of the industry, it allows us to see them as our friends with whom we share our home. The food industry, for example, is one of the world's harmful industries and is very cruel to animals. The growing meat and dairy industry has become extremely threatening not only for animals, but also for the environment and people in terms of forests that were burned to open up livestock and trees that were cut down. The resulting veganism seems to be our savior. The development of veganism in the food industry is pleasing. But I think that veganism's transformation into an industry and just as a trend in food will bring failure rather than success.


Does vegan fashion is getting more popular around Europe?


I believe that vegan fashion is spreading. While the conscious mass already willingly prefers clothes made of high quality and ecological fabrics, the mass formed by trends gains this consciousness after a certain period. But this of course does not create a problem. Because customers who love and prefer it as a trend become a part of the change after learning the details of vegan fashion. Vegan fashion is not yet as common in Europe as it should be. However, the prevalence of sustainable fashion and the increase in the culture of veganism are promising for the future of vegan fashion. I hope that in the future, vegan fashion really gets its due and we can help the world.