Sure you have heard of vegan diets. You may even know someone who lives this lifestyle or you yourself might be vegan. But vegan interior design? There are many reasons why you should consider using cruelty-free materials for your home.
Take a leather sofa for example- A pure and true leather hide is not perfect. There will be nicks and scratches from where the animal may have brushed up against barbed wire, or otherwise been scraped. Those marks are scars, just like the scars we get on our skin when we get nicked or cut. When you make the connection that the material you are sitting on is skin, the actual skin of something once living- it’s a little creepy, isn’t it?
“But you don’t eat it!” True! Many of us are not gnawing on the corners of our leather sofas. But living a compassionate lifestyle goes beyond what is on your plate. Veganism is ultimately a vote with your dollars- If you wouldn’t pay a butcher a kill an animal so you could eat the meat, why would you pay a butcher to skin an animal so you could use the hide for a rug? (Or shoes, or belt, or handbag, etc).
KIND to ANIMALS
I’m extremely passionate about bringing awareness to the cruel treatment of animals. I’m continually thinking of better ways to help and educate others about the horrors of breeding farms for furs, slaughterhouses, and wool. I used to be completely ignorant of the inhumane pain and suffering that animals endure during their short lives in order for my clients and myself to sit on a sofa made from the skin of a cow. I had no idea of the brutality, torture and often death a lamb suffers while being sheared for the wool for an area rug. The stories are endless and heartbreaking. interior design doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose and should choose better for our homes and the energy we create within them.
KIND to THE PLANET
The vast amount of grain feed required for cattle production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. Not to mention the pollution that comes with raising so many animals, so quickly, and in so tight a space. Communities near factory farms are known to have a higher risk of cancer and diseases as the waste cannot be contained to farmland alone and often runs off into rivers and waterways.
KIND to YOUR HEALTH
Fur is only “natural” when it is on the animal born with it. Once an animal has been slaughtered and skinned, his or her fur is treated with a soup of toxic chemicals to keep it from rotting in the buyer’s home. Various salts—along with ammonia, formaldehyde, and other chromates and bleaching agents—are used to preserve and dye fur. Until the late 1800s, animal skin was air- or salt-dried and tanned with vegetable tannins or oil, but today animal skin is turned into finished leather with a variety of much more dangerous substances, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes—some of them cyanide-based. For those with asthma, breathing problems, or compromised immune systems, the off-gas of these chemicals can be especially irritating. Family members or guests with sensitivities benefit greatly in this area with easy to find, less toxic, non-animal alternatives.
KIND TO YOUR WALLET
As a designer, I make it my priority to source materials and furnishing that do not use animals parts such as leather, wool, fur or any other animal-derived materials. There are many cruelty-free options all around us that are not only accessible but CHEAPER than silks and wools. For example, linen or cotton sheets and a down alternative comforter and pillows can be found at most major box stores including Pottery Barn, Target, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware. It really is a win-win all around! You get to save cash, have a beautiful and peaceful home, and no animals are harmed in the making.