Should I wear second-hand or recycled animal fabrics?
Thinking that vegans cannot wear second-hand animal fabrics because they do not use products of animal origin means only sticking to the definition of "vegan".
In this case, the reality of the world we live in, which is decidedly non-vegan, is not taken into account and it is not clear why most vegans are vegans.
Being vegan means not wanting to support or be part of the cruelty and exploitation of animals . Wearing second-hand animal fabrics means do not contribute personally to create demand for those fabrics. Buying a vintage leather garment, for example, does not directly contribute to the death of one or more animals. Buying brand new leather would create demand that buying second hand leather does not create.
Buying second-hand items, when you need to buy something, is always the best choice, regardless of the fabric or material with which they are made . The costs of materials, packaging, shipping a new product have a different impact on both animals and the planet.
You may not like wearing animal materials because you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of wearing something that comes from a dead animal, but it's a question of what you are comfortable with - it is not a valid reason why other vegans should not wear second-hand or recycled animal materials.
Animal tissues are animal products. For definition, vegans do not use products of animal origin : wearing animal fabrics, second-hand or not, is not technically vegan.
Wearing them brings out the idea that it is desirable or acceptable to use animals for clothing, no matter where or how you got your garment. If, for example, you wear leather, you become a symbol of acceptance of objects made with that material.
Your item may be second-hand, but others may be influenced to buy new animal-derived garments because they like yours. Vegans who wear leather will confuse others as to what veganism stands for.
It is quite difficult to get most people to understand what veganism is regardless, if vegans go around wearing leather then our cause becomes harder to understand.
Nowadays, there are many great clothing and accessories made from synthetic or natural non-animal materials. Even if you shop second hand you should be able to find a truly vegan version of what you want.
The skin, for example, is still the skin of a dead animal. How can a vegan feel comfortable wearing it knowing where it comes from and the cruelty those animals have had to endure?
A non-vegan can avoid buying a new leather item if they have more second-hand ones available. By avoiding buying second-hand leather, you can indirectly contribute to the decrease in the demand for new leather to be produced, therefore more animals to suffer. If you inherit a leather item of clothing, you can donate it to a charity shop - this is an ethical and vegan choice. You no longer own an animal product and have made a positive contribution to a worthy cause.
In conclusion, I do not know which of the two opinions is the one that reflects me more.