Sunday, November 8, 2015

Vegan through winter 101 pt.1 : Knitwear

Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, there is no longer denying of the fact that winter sure as hell is upon us. Stores are being covered in Christmas decorations and exams are creeping closer. That time of the year were you realise 'maybe I should get a warmer sweater, new boots and a hat'. As a vegan, that part of winter can be a bit tricky. Where do you buy new shoes? Can I buy a warm sweater with no wool? Or a coat? With no fur whatsoever? I'm here to answer all these questions for you. In this four weeks series I'm going to talk to you about knitwear, shoes, coats and how to treat your self on those long cold days... I want to show you that just because you're vegan, you need to miss out on all the fun stuff. Plus, that just because you're vegan, you can only shop at vegan shops.

Today we're kicking of with knitwear. Those of you who follow me on social media such as Facebook or Instagram know that I'm a knitter myself, I teach knitting classes and every now and then I sell some of my stuff. Although that last part is a bit of a long term project since my job is really hectic and time consuming. My favourite winter outfit however consist of a black dress, black tight, black boots, black cardigan, heavy knit scarf and a beanie (preferably combined with some sort of Christmas socks). And this part of the year, stores are filled with cosy knits, christmas sweaters and the cutest beanies. However, most of them (like 90%) contain wool. What's wrong with wool I hear you ask? Because, wool comes from sheep, right? And if sheep don't get shaved, they die, right? And there is no wrong in doing that, right? No animals hurt just by shaving them, right? Right? Right, it is true, that if you keep a sheep at home, cosy and comfortable, you need to shave it or else it dies*. And no, no harm done by doing that. Unless you turn it in the wrong direction during the shaving process, 'cause then it explodes (something to do with the stomach exploding). Truth however is, that wool used for that pretty Christmas sweater doesn't come from sheep kept at home, but from industrial farms in which the sheep are kept in terrible conditions. Plus they cut of their tails, without anaesthetics, due to cluttering of the poop and possible maggot infections. There are thousands of websites talking about this issue and hours of documentaries on this topic, so if you want to know more about the horrible conditions in which sheep are being kept and shaven, please go out there and look it up. And this is just sheep, don't get me started on angora rabbits, which are plucked alive in such horrible ways that they die from severe pain.

If, after reading this, you should decide to drop the wool altogether, don't panic just yet. There are a lot of good quality brands out there, that still have those warm cosy knits, just cruelty free. Here are my tips and tricks for finding those warm knitties this season.

1. Scan the labels
On the inside of your clothing there are labels that tell you what material the garment in question is made of. Labels to avoid are:
-WA: Wool Angora
-WK: Camel Wool
-WM: Mohair Wool
-WO: Wool
-WP: Alpaca Wool
-WS: Cashmere
-WV: Virgin Wool

2. Dare to ask
When in doubt about the material your garment is made of, just ask the staff. It's their job to help you, they should know about the stuff they're selling, so just ask them. And tell them about the horrible conditions animals bred for their wool are being kept in. Chances are they're clueless about all this and maybe, just maybe, they'll change their mind about wool swell and start stelling cruelty free Christmas sweaters next season.

3. Do it yourself
You can always start to knit yourself, just grab a couple of needles, some acrylic threat and a youtube channel to teach you a thing or two. Yes, it's that easy. Plus, it's so much more rewarding when you're wearing an exclusive one of a kind sweater. Next to Youtube, Ravelry and Pinterest are your biggest friends when knitting yourself. If, however, you definitely can't knit, you can always ask your grandmother to do it for you.

Last but not least, these are my favourite winter knitties for this season.

1. ├ętnico top - Malahierba

2. Cardigan - Malahierba

3. Cardigan - Malahierba

4. Reversible Cardigan - L'Herbe Rouge

All these pretties are available at Mieke - Ghent. If you're ever around, go check out her store. She has the prettiest clothes and most of them are either ecofriendly or fair fashion, or both**.

*By which I do not mean that it is okay to keep animals at home or buy them at stores, but more on that another time.
**This is not a sponsored post, I just love Mieke (and Malahierba) that much!

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