World Vegan Month is celebrated every November around the world to recognise how far the vegan movement has come and to highlight how accessible and beneficial a vegan lifestyle can be.
Compassion Collective’s founder Anna has been vegan since 2004 and vegetarian since she was 10. Having always been an animal lover she feels going vegan is probably the best decision she ever made! Her partner and our co-founder Stu is vegetarian, although adopts a mostly vegan diet. We believe in compassion for all living beings which means we also respect people’s right to make their own ‘ethical’ choices.
Whatever your personal ethical choice is when it comes to food or fashion – in this day and age it is simply not necessary to use any animal derived or animal tested ingredients, especially when there are so many just-as-good cruelty-free options available. More and more people are also recognising the environmental benefits of a plant-based approach, and in working in harmony with nature. A few years ago some people didn’t even know what a vegan was, but now its becoming accepted into the mainstream and in the positive light it deserves.
The Vegan Society which was founded back in 1944, defines veganism with the following statement:
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
It may be almost impossible to lead a completely ethical lifestyle – our UK and worldwide supply chains are so complex, and you cannot even guarantee that you won’t hurt some tiny living creature just walking out your door or in your own garden! But it really never has been so easy to choose vegan and cruelty-free products – whether you go fully vegan, or just see vegan friendly products as an added bonus.
Wear the change you wish to see in the world
Compassion Collective creates epic animal inspired t-shirts (and art too!) for fellow animal lovers, to support awesome animal welfare causes.
“From whales and dolphins, to cows and badgers – we believe ALL animals are sentient beings who deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and born to roam free.”
A share of our profits from all online sales in our Compassion Collective Tee-Shop are donated to our favourite animal welfare charities including Compassion in World Farming – to help end cruel factory farming and improve the lives of animals who are still farmed for food, and to Whale and Dolphin Conservation – to help create a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free. And from our Etsy art print shop we donate to our local group Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare.
Our t-shirt designs are created for nature loving free spirits, who share our values of compassion for animals and respect for our planet, and who want to lead by example – proudly wearing their heart on their chest without necessarily throwing their views in people’s faces! If hardcore vegan activist tees are your thing then that’s cool by us, after all there’s a great tradition (especially here in the UK) of using t-shirts as a politic statement to create change. And we love running our own more overtly campaign message tees occasionally too – from saying no the badger cull – to calling for an end to live animal exports…
But on the whole, we aim to offer something a bit different – beautiful and quirky animal inspired designs that more subtly express our love for animals – from our ‘Save the Whales and Dolphins’ message tees – our classic ‘Born to Roam’ prints celebrating animals roaming free in nature – to simply showing how cool animals are, as with our signature ‘Highland Cow’ tees!
Sustainable by nature
Compassion Collective Tee-Shop are partners with RSPCA Good Business award winners Rapanui. We choose to work with them because they are currently the most ethical and sustainable t-shirt suppliers on the planet!
With award winning traceability from seed to shop, our garments are sweatshop-free and made with organic materials in ethically accredited wind-powered factories, and printed at Rapanui’s Teemill factory on the Isle of Wight, UK. All our tees are also printed with environmentally friendly inks using low waste print-on-demand technology.
We know that choosing sustainable clothing is just the start – there is so much more we all need to do to create a kinder and more sustainable world. But by choosing our tees you can look cool and feel good too, knowing that you’re supporting organic and sustainable fashion powered by nature – which is better for animals, our planet and fairer for people too.
Compassion in vegan fashion
All our tees and tops including our jumpers are vegan friendly, naturally – made from organic materials and dyes which do not contain any animal tested or animal derived ingredients. Here’s a bit more info about the materials we use and what makes them vegan (for full traceability visit our suppliers Rapanui here).
According to the Soil Association when it comes to making sustainability claims you can trust, nothing beats Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton (which of course our suppliers are). GOTS ensures that the chemicals used in processing textiles meet strict requirements on toxicity and biodegradability.
As far as animals and the environment goes, organic cotton is better because organic fibres are grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or potentially toxic pesticides. By building soil fertility, organic farmers help lock CO2 into the soil, helping mitigate climate change which is threatening our wildlife. It also avoids the use of the toxic pesticides that, in non-organic cotton systems, are responsible for poisoning wildlife and rivers (not to mention also killing an estimated 16,000 people each year!).
Bamboo is the fastest growing, high yield, low input crop in the world. Bamboo doesn’t require pesticides or fertilisers which means Bamboo yarn is organic as well as being non-GM, which is better for our wildlife.
Bamboo grows fast and is low-input, so it’s a great plant for harvesting. There are some challenges to be considered though, as turning a woody grass into a textile is hard and requires heavy mechanical and chemical processing. For environmental impact, Bamboo’s input is low in the field and high in the factory, almost the opposite of cotton. But what makes it so great is that Bamboo thrives naturally – the yield per hectare is 10 times greater than cotton and the input of water, fertilisers and other resources is almost zero. It’s a grass too, so it doesn’t need replanting, which helps reduce topsoil erosion. As a low process input crop, it could potentially prove to be a solid carbon sink too, reducing carbon and converting it into biomass.
Our bamboo products come with Oeko-Tex 100 Certification – a basic stamp to reassure consumers that the product is free of harmful-chemicals. We blend the bamboo with certified organic cotton for drape and increased longevity, giving our Bamboo tops their gorgeous supersoft and lush silky feel (which makes them our favourite!).
Vegan Friendly Jumpers
Most vegans choose to avoid all animal derived materials including wool, so if that’s you, you’ll appreciate what a struggle it can be to find jumpers that are 100% wool free. There are some great man-made acrylic jumpers available but if you want organic, sustainable and supersoft, our lofted organic cotton jumpers for women, and sweaters and hoodies for men, are just perfect. And you won’t find better quality either. That means you can rock your alternative Christmas jumper with pride this year too!
Non-vegan clothing products that we do not use, and will NEVER use:
- Wool (from any animal – Sheep, Goat, Rabbit etc including Cashmere, Angora and Mohair)
- Down or Feathers
Leather, suede and wool are generally by-products of the meat industry, and there are fashion houses aiming to make them be produced more humanely including our garment suppliers who sell their own range of British wool products, and we commend their efforts, but there is no way we can know for ourselves how much the animals involved suffered. Much of the world’s wool comes from Australia where tens of millions of sheep each year undergo ‘mulesing’ – a gruesome procedure in which shears are used to cut massive chunks of skin and flesh from the backsides of these live animals and often without anaesthetics. Whether you choose to wear these animal products or not, most of the farmed animals used for these products will ultimately be slaughtered when they are no longer useful or to satisfy human’s unsustainable demand for meat (if not just for these by-products) – so we simply choose not to sell them.
Down is the feathers plucked from live geese, many of who are also used for foie gras – a ‘delicacy’ food where the geese are kept in battery cages and force-fed twice a day or more through a large metal tube rammed down their throats in order to grossly enlarge their liver. It is so inhumane it is illegal to produce in the UK but sadly still currently legal to import. These geese are doubly tortured for these two different products and surely must be amongst the most miserable beings on this Earth.
Silk is made from gassing or burning the larvae of silk moths while they are still in their cocoons (and occasionally from other insects including bees and spiders). There is growing evidence that animals (even small insects – we’re not sure size has anything to do with anything!) are all capable of feeling fear, stress and pain, so this is not a very nice thing to do to any fellow Earthling!
The fur industry is unbearably cruel. When we were growing up there was an amazing campaign supported by the supermodels of the time saying “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”. That was back in the late 80s/early 90s and yet fur has still not been banned and many fashion designers and celebrities are starting to flaunt it again. We inadvertently saw a PETA video of animals who had already been skinned alive, still wandering around (we couldn’t even make out what animals they were – we guessed foxes). It was the most horrendous and upsetting thing we have ever seen. Take our advice – unless you need to see it to believe it, do NOT watch those types of videos, but do NEVER buy fur.
Be wary of faux-fur too! There is a growing problem of REAL animal fur being sold or mislabelled as FAUX fur. Don’t be lulled into thinking that it can’t be real fur because that information is not stated on the label or because it seems inexpensive (or even dead cheap!). There are a couple of simple things you can do to test whether a product is real or faux fur:-
- Check the fur tips – real fur tapers to a point at the end – faux fur tips are blunt.
- Check the fur base by parting the hairs – the base of real fur is leather so looks like skin – faux fur is attached to woven fabric.
- Cut a bit of fur off and burn it (if you already own a furry product) – real animal fur singes and smells like burnt human hair – faux fur melts and smells like burnt plastic.
For more information see Humane Society International UK’s Guide to Faux Fur v Real Fur.
Remember that it’s still never been so easy to avoid animal products and you can quickly get into the habit of checking what’s what! If not sure – just ask, or just don’t buy it! We are very happy to reassure all our lovely vegan customers that to our knowledge, Compassion Collective products are 100% vegan.
Check out our full collection of vegan clothing on our website on the link below and… Happy World Vegan Month…