If your clothing is vegan, does that mean it’s “cruelty-free”?

If your clothing is vegan, does that mean it’s “cruelty-free”? Don’t answer that until you’ve watched The True Cost, a movie about clothing. It is available on Netflix and through their website.

The True Cost – This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

As you will learn if you watch The True Cost, “cruelty-free” is a misnomer that is often used to describe things that are vegan but not necessarily cruelty-free. Suffering and death is rampant in the production of clothing, food, and much more. As vegans, we must continue to learn and do what we can to opt out of these systems of exploitation, suffering, and death.

I really like this graphic called “THE BUYERARCHY OF NEEDS”:

The Buyerarchy of Needs
This image shows a pyramid with multi-colored layers. From the bottom to the top, the layers read, “USE WHAT YOU HAVE,” “BORROW,” SWAP,” THRIFT,” “MAKE,” and “BUY”. The text under the pyramid reads, “THE BUYERARCHY OF NEEDS (with apologies to Maslow)”.


Sarah K. Woodcock