I rarely buy truly new clothing; I have gotten nearly all clothing for 3 years from second hand stores. I do buy new underwear/socks/shoes but that's it and I carefully buy it from certain stores. I have a wedding coming up and making that vegan/eco-friendly as possible has been a bit of a brain stretch. I'm going heavily on the "re use" route.
The only new thing: Wedding dress. I have conscripted a local tailor/corsetiere to make my wedding gown from scratch. I hate white and I want to make something I'll wear very often, so I've gone totally non traditional in my approach to shape and color. I really wanted to like hemp as a fabric but man, the samples I tried were not very soft at all. And I avoided the bamboo-made-into-cloth options. Picked "organic" cottons. Then the question of natural vs synthetic dyes came up.
I did a lot of google research and there are more sources saying natural dyeing is dangerous and not eco friendly than not. Iron, Aluminum, copper, and lots of water are used with natural dyes. Also, when you are avoiding animals fibers and bug/creature based dyes, the color doesn't stick as well. I ended up heavily leaning towards a certain set of low impact synthetic dyes. And then I saw the MSDS sheet (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the synthetic dye and right smack in the middle of the page was a description of the safety testing.
Which, of course, in this cruel world, involved dripping this synthetic dye directly into rabbit eyes. The conclusion was that it wasn't very irritating to rabbit eyes. Ugh.
This put me into a conniption. All that careful buying, and anything dyed involved a synthetic product 99% likely to be tested on animals. There are very few places in the USA that dye with natural dyes; it's a bit of a lost art and inefficient. Finally, I understand why everything "organic vegan" clothing wise usually has no dye at all. Boring browns, whites, sands. And yet, my macbeth vegan shoes are blue and black...and my vegan saucany shoes were black and white. And my man made materials shoes are various colors. I understood man made materials meant oil industry but it never occurred to me to even think that a synthetic dye that gets absorbed into a clothing would need to be tested on animals. We don't eat it, we don't rub copious amounts into our skin. Like, why?
In the end, I went with the inefficient natural dyes. I live near a river and I checked in with the water treatment facility and they filter heavy metals. With my first world benefits, seems I can lower the damage that the metals would have by working within the systems I live in.
But it was all severely disappointing and I've cut out some of my secondhand stores as future buying options. I also feel like, in the end, that my ethics against harming animals won out against being environmentally friendly. Being vegan doesn't always mean being environmentally friendly....
But I suppose the upside is that low impact or not, the synthetic was made from oil stuff more than like. And the whole system of animal testing, the facilities, the care are not environmentally friendly.
I guess I'm seeing it this wayNatural Dye
Pros: Non animal testing
Pros: renewable plant resources
Pros:Vivid colors that fade to still good colors
Cons: Not color "fast" so the fade occurs faster
Cons: More water usage
Cons: Heavy metal usageSynthetic Dye:
Pros: No heavy metals
Pros: Less water usage
Cons: Animal testing
Cons: Non renewable oil sources
Cons: Initial Vivid colors fade to "yuck"
Not really a question. Just sharing a story.