Big Brand Names are Moving Away from Cashmere Apparel for Ethical Reasons
After being urged by the animal rights activist group PETA, Victoria's Secret has removed cashmere from its product line. It's not the first apparel brand or seller to do so – Columbia Sportswear, Overstock.com and ASOS have reportedly also nixed cashmere from their product lines. So what is causing the sudden shift away from cashmere?
According to Green Matters, PETA conducted an investigation into the cashmere industry in China and Mongolia – two of the leading cashmere exporters – and found mistreatment of goats in slaughterhouses, as well as poor working conditions for the humans.
Also, cashmere production and demand has been cited as a cause of desertification of grassland habitats due to grazing goats.
VICTORY FOR GOATS! 🎉@VictoriasSecret is taking a stand for animals by BANNING CASHMERE after talks with PETA!
This is one of many positive changes it has made for animals in recent years 💗
— PETA (@peta) December 5, 2022
Some companies that have moved away from cashmere but want to provide customers a more ethical alternative are using what's called Vegetable Cashmere.
Vegetable Cashmere is a vegan fabric made from leftover soybean pulp from tofu production. It's biodegradable and reportedly pills less than animal-fiber cashmere, according to Live Kindly.
Other designers like Stella McCartney have incorporated a "regenerated cashmere" made from post-factory cashmere, similarly to how apparel brands have created ways to recycle its own apparel to minimize waste while keeping products affordable.
Stella McCartney brand estimates hat it has reduced its environmental impact as it pertains to cashmere by 92% by switching to the recycled Re.Verso fabric.
Back to Victoria's Secret, PETA is chalking this up as a huge win and hoping to continue the work with other brands that use cashmere.
"Victoria's Secret's decision is a win for the countless gentle goats who will be spared the agonizing ordeal of someone ripping their hair out," PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said, according to Green Matters. "PETA asks everyone to help goats keep their hair by choosing vegan fabrics, which aren't produced by condemning animals to a lifetime of suffering."
Previously, PETA influenced Victoria's Secret to stop using Angora rabbit fur and alpaca fleece from its apparel lines.
The promotional apparel industry tends to follow the retail side, so it's not out of the question for end-users to want vegan cashmere options.