Why is a fashion editor writing about veganism? Because it’s fashionable. High-profile adherents include Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow, while the demand among for vegan food among the UK populous is such that German supermarket chain Veganz are opening their first British outpost. Eschew preconceived notions of earth mother frumpiness. Vegan is in.
For some, at least. But not for me. Veganism, like celibacy, leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t mean meat, necessarily. Nor cheese, eggs, milk and various types of gelatin, among many other things. What veganism leaves to be desired, in my opinion, is relaxation. The lack of overt concern over what you’re putting in your mouth.
I’m not proposing an unhinged-jaw approach to diet. In fashion terms, I’d rather wear cashmere made in India than polyamide knocked up in Taiwan. Your intestines evidently feel the same about GM versus organic, never mind wading into 2013’s horsemeat scandal. But while I do want to know what it is I’m eating, I’m not obsessed with every minute detail. Veganism often becomes fanatical, and as with many forms of fanaticism, it sucks out the joy.
I can’t add enough caveats about this being a personal point of view, but I wonder if, for some, veganism is a form of dietary totalitarianism? It’s is an ethical choice for many, coupled with a lifestyle and wardrobe that includes a lack of leather, and of course fur. There are even high-fashion adherents: although she’s personally vegetarian rather than vegan, Stella McCartney refuses to use any animal skins in her clothing designs. Leather goods are a cash-cow for many companies – in fact, for virtually all of them. McCartney’s staunch stance is unique. It’s also probably difficult to maintain. Her profit margins could be higher, if her morals were lower. She won’t budge, and although I sport leather myself, I applaud her dedication.
My main issue with veganism, however, is the niggling sense of judgement. There’s a religious fervour to many vegan adherents. Look at the furore when Beyonce was recently papped in a vegan restaurant wearing fur. She’s a vegan in diet, not fashion. But her divorce of diet from ethics is difficult for many to stomach.
As with McCartney, I applaud the dedication of vegans, the rigour and control their diet demands. Especially because I know it’s something I could never do. I like cheese too much, and meat. Plus, honestly, I can’t imagine it being much fun.