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BRC issues new guidelines for 'vegan' fashion

Published
Feb 3, 2020
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With a growing number of ‘vegan’ fashion products and brands being launched, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has issued new guidelines to make sure that anything described as vegan really is completely free of animal products.


Stella McCartney was a vegan fashion pioneer but with more labels entering the sector, fashion buyers need more information



The industry body said it has had a deluge of requests from fashion buyers moving into the vegan area for the first time and wanting to ensure that what they’re buying-in really would pass the test for demanding vegan consumers.

That means getting rid of any materials that are animal-derived but also ensuring that dyes, glues and “traces of use in more hidden elements” in the production process have no animal connections, the BRC said.

And it also warned that just because a product fits the bill to be described as vegan, doesn’t make it sustainable with a whole extra set of criteria to meet in order to make that claim.

The BRC said “retailers would need to go back to their suppliers and ask the right questions about the raw material ingredients in order to verify them individually”.

Its new Voluntary Guideline on Veganism in Fashion includes the sequence of steps and questions to ask both internally and of suppliers to ensure materials are vegan. It also highlights the risk areas and shows what to consider, where to begin and then how to actually implement any steps towards creating vegan products, 

And there’s a comprehensive list of all animal-derived fibres and materials that the body said “goes into greater depth than retailers currently have”.

Consumers adopting a fully vegan lifestyle have been on the rise in recent years but those mixing vegan products into their purchases — whether for ethical or for health reasons — have also been impacting the market. This has seen the total ‘ethical’ retail market rising to a value of £40 billion+ just over a year ago and likely to have accelerated even further in the past 12 months, according to a study by the Co-op.

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