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  • Writer's pictureMarika

Can you tell a Vegan by their Clothing? A Discussion with Ashley Byrne Director of Outreach for PETA

Updated: Feb 9

How often think about how the clothes you wear impact the environment and the animals? This can be one part of our lives that we often overlook, but it is increasingly making difference as individuals and brands start to make more ethical choices in regard to clothing. In a recent episode of our podcast, we had a fascinating talk with Ashley Byrne, PETA’s Director of Outreach, where she shed light on the reality of the fashion industry and how we can contribute to a vegan culture through our wardrobe choices.


From Animals to Environmental Sustainability

Ashley Byrne

Ashley’s work at PETA primarily revolves around advocating for animals. During her over 16-year-long tenure, she has employed various ways to change people's thoughts about animals and thereby alter their behavior. She stressed that if we start acknowledging animals as living, sentient beings, it can significantly change the cultural aspects of life.

Understanding that many garments we wear can be linked to animal suffering or environmental harm can be perplexing. However, Ashley shared that making informed choices about your clothing could be the first step towards embracing vegan culture.


The Unseen Aspects of the Fashion Industry

From leather to wool, the fashion industry is rife with hidden intricacies that contribute heavily to animal suffering and the environmental crisis. According to Ashley, products like fur that were once deemed luxurious are now rapidly losing favor due to their association with cruelty. Leather, despite being perceived as more acceptable, is tied to massive suffering and environmental damage.

Ashley also pointed out the overlooked aspect of clothes - wool. Many believe that shearing a sheep is harmless, but the brutal reality involves violent processes culminating with the slaughter of sheep when their wool production drops. This issue is mirrored in other sectors like cashmere, alpaca, or down industries.


The Changing Face of Fashion Industry

Despite the grim reality, there are glimmers of hope. More fashion brands are recognizing the demand for environmentally friendly and vegan products. They are not just increasing their offerings of such products but also making it a part of their marketing strategy.

During New York Fashion Week, PETA arrived with a model wearing an evening gown made of vegan materials with a sheep’s head design as a way of provoking conversations about the cruelty-free alternatives to wool. This action is just another example of how fashion can be a conversation starter and an instrument of change.


Making Informed and Ethical Choices

Choosing vegan and eco-friendly clothing might seem like a simple act but it has profound impacts. By making these choices, we're not just changing our wardrobe but contributing to a more humane and sustainable culture. From faux fur coats to vegan leather shoes, there are plenty of affordable and stylish alternatives currently available that do not involve the exploitation of animals.

The conversation with Ashley leads to an understanding that even the smallest action, like checking labels or choosing a jacket, has the power to prevent animal cruelty and damage to the environment. Taking small actions can indeed lay the foundation of a more compassionate world for all inhabitants.

In conclusion, embracing vegan culture doesn't stop at a plant-based diet. It's about making informed choices in every aspect of life, including our wardrobes. It's about acknowledging the fact that animals are not here for us, but they are here with us, sharing this planet. By exploring cruelty-free and environmentally friendly fashion alternatives, we can commit to a more humane and sustainable way of living.





Show Notes:

" I think very often people think that leather is not so bad because they think it's just a byproduct of the meat industry.  The fact is that leather is actually a co-product of the meat industry.  The cattle industry could not be profitable without the leather industry, they're tied together. It's a co-product."    - Ashley Byrne, Director of Outreach PETA


Episode 3 of Series 9: Unveiling Vegan Culture Transcript


Can your wardrobe choices spark a revolution? It's a provocative thought, and with PETA's Director of Outreach, Ashley Byrne,  we tackle this head-on. Our latest episode peels back the layers of the fashion industry's dynamic with veganism. It's not just about what we wear, but the statement we make to the world about our values.


Yet, the imprint of vegan fashion extends far beyond the wardrobe. We delve into the emotional and environmental toll of industries reliant on animal exploitation, empathizing with the workers who bear unseen scars.



Guest: Ashley Byrne, Director of Outreach for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been on the front lines of many provocative and highly effective animal rights campaigns.

She has overseen several successful PETA campaigns—including some of the most provocative—  https://www.instagram.com/ashlovesmongo/?hl=en



Cover of Free The Animals

Other Episodes:


(This blog post was based on an AI generated script and edited by me for accuracy and additional information)


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