1. Why are the products you feature more expensive than those I am used to seeing at conventional stores?
Brave GentleMan features products that meet a stringent set of criteria. It is unfortunate that our current economic model rewards the cheapest, fastest, dirtiest and most careless practices with an "affordable" price-tag. Often, "ethical", “sustainable” and “vegan” (E/S/V) fashion is more expensive to make and thus, more expensive to buy than conventional fashion. Reasons for this include:
Artisans producing E/S/V fashion are paid a fair living wages and given proper healthcare.
E/S/V fashion is produced using alternative labor models that empower communities rather than exploiting them (including small-scale, domestic, or cottage industry).
Extra precautions are taken to minimize pollution and toxicity at every production phase, from textile production through garment construction.
High-quality and sustainable alternatives to convenient animal skins or hairs are developed or sourced.
New ethical textile science is researched and developed.
Alterative textile production methods are preferred, such as sustainable, small-scale, or closed-loop EIPs (Environmental Industrial Park).
E/S/V fashion companies source from manufacturers who obtain relevant and costly labor, environmental, and ethical certifications.
When fashion is “affordable,” that often means that someone was— to be frank– screwed over in the supply chain – whether it is laborers in a sweatshop, animals bred or trapped for their skins or hairs, or ecosystems that are polluted and destroyed with cheap and toxic production methods.
2. Is there a Brave GentleWoman in the works?
Brave GentleMan is non-binary fashion in the menswear aesthetic. It is geared toward individuals who enjoy menswear aesthetics because there is a disproportionate emphasis on femme lifestyle products in the "eco", "green" and "ethical" realm.
In addition to this imbalance, there are many instances where mainstream masculinity is positioned in direct contrast to compassion and ethics, presenting a major roadblock to sustainability. For more information, visit BraveGentleMan affiliate TheDiscerningBrute.com.
3. Isn’t vegan leather worse for the environment?
In most cases, no, animal skins are far worse for the environment, and this is backed up by data from inside the fashion industry as well as outside. For the data, please read my article Why The Fashion Industry Should Worry About Leather More Than Plastic and MASSIVE FASHION INDUSTRY STUDIES CONDEMN ANIMAL MATERIALS.
4. I understand not wanting to sell fur or leather, but what’s wrong with wool? Isn’t it just a haircut?
I wish! Momma nature led many animals to evolve in the perfect design when it comes to staying warm and dry in the elements, so it’s no surprise that humans who lack that body-hair want to wear it themselves. Many consider wool sustainable because it’s a ‘natural’ product that is biodegradable. But, shockingly, wool production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions in on wool-producing continents, water pollution, land erosion, and animal cruelty:
According to the United Nations, “The world’s sheep population is just over one billion – one for roughly every six people. Nearly half are in Asia and the Near and Middle East. Sheep are the species with the highest number of recorded breeds – contributing 25 percent to the global total for mammals.” (source)
The impact that livestock (including sheep) has on the environment, is by no means trivial, according to the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html
One study has shown that in New Zealand, which has approximately 48 million sheep, methane emissions from enteric fermentation, coming mostly from sheep, constitute almost 50% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Most scientists acknowledge that this has a significant effect on climate change. Combine that with erosion, water pollution, resource needs like water, graze land, processing needs, etc., and wool starts to appear a lot less sustainable than we’d like to think: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-2010-snapshot/index.html
At least 7 major and recent investigations into the cruelty of sheep/wool production (even on so-called “humane” farms) reveal that, in an industry that is producing at such huge scale, systemic cruelty is business-as-usual. Measures taken to maximize profits, whether mulesing, ear-puncturing, tail-docking, and castrating (all without anesthetics), whether it is paying shearers by volume (and therefore speed), whether it is breeding sheep to have more skin and not to shed naturally, or the simple economics of minimizing veterinary costs and slaughtering sheep when they are “spent” to make one last profit from their bodies, wool production almost always results in cruelty.
On the Cruel Australian Live Export of Sheep: http://liveexport-indefensible.com/facts/issues.php
On Ultra-Fine Wool production: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/ultra_fine_wool.php
From an ecological and ethical perspective, I hope this provides some clarity as to Brave GentleMan’s and others’ desire to avoid using any wool for any reason.