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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have loved the SCA since I first heard of it (For those of you who haven't it's the Society for Creative Anachronism which is sort of a cross between a renaissance faire and a living history group [closer to the living history usually] you can get more info at SCA.org).
But it poses an interesting question relating to veganism. Simply put, pretty much no on in the SCA's time frame was vegan. Food is pretty easy, most people take their own food to big events and most event autocrats (an event organizer basically) in your own small area will usually be willing to accommodate you at the smaller ones.
The problem is clothing/shoes/accessories especially for people interested in 'Arts & Sciences' (the crafts, skills, and technologies from the time period and cultures that the SCA covers recreated by members)
The fabric used for basic every day clothing in most places, by most people, for most time periods is wool. So, not vegan.
The fabric most commonly used for fine 'court' (fancy) clothing in most places and times was silk. Also not vegan.
Items like belts, pouches, and shoes were almost always made out of leather (unless you were very rich, then they might be silk). Once again, not vegan.
You could probably find substitute fabrics that would be similar enough for 'garb' (the period clothing you wear to an event) with some work but you couldn't enter those clothes in a arts and sciences event. One of the main judging points (if not THE main judging point) is historical accuracy. (Though I think they make small exceptions for dresses that are supposed to have real jewels or pearls sewn onto them.)
This is all without mentioning beeswax candles, real parchment paper, goose feather quills, etc.
What do you think? Skip the SCA because it can't be vegan without changing what it is? Wear vegan recreations for regular clothing and skip A&S even if it's the main thing you love about the societey? Make an exception of sorts for A&S but wear vegan regular clothing?
NOTE: I sort of already have my opinion on this all set but I thought it might make for some interesting discussion. Hope you agree.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable with it, especially the silk and wool. But if you absolutely must do this, and it's what you love, I'd say seek out a small local sheep farm to get your wool from, and make sure they are humane when shearing the sheep (no tail docking, etc). I'm pretty sure there is vegan silk available, and from what I've heard, you can't really tell the difference. And, of course, wear the vegan stuff when not participating in the A&S contest
 

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I think you should treat it like a civil war reenactment. They manage to have those all the time without actually killing anyone. You can do the same thing here by replicating every part of the experience except the cruelty. Just use other materials instead of wool, goose feathers, and whatever else is not vegan.

I personally wouldn't feel comfortable being surrounded by all that stuff, but there shouldn't be a problem if you can deal with that.
 

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Originally Posted by sequoia View Post

I'm pretty sure there is vegan silk available, and from what I've heard, you can't really tell the difference.
Peace silk is very different than most regular silks. It has a much coarser weave. It might work for some historical purposes if you're looking for a substitute for raw silk or maybe something like dupioni, but it wouldn't replace silk crepe or chiffon for example.

Maybe you can construct your clothes from secondhand materials? Also look for resources that might support that other materials could be used. Silk and wool may have been the most commonly used, but I bet there is some evidence that cotton and linen could have been used for some garments in various time periods as well. There are also some fabrics that are indistinguishable from wool or silk, so unless you are require to submit a swatch of fabric for a burn test, the judges wouldn't necessarily know the difference.

I would also look for other sympathetic people within your group. Since this is something people do for fun, there isn't any reason the rules couldn't change over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sequioa: I've never heard of 'vegan silk' do you have any more information. What's it made out of? I've only heard of silk being made from, well, the cocoons of silk worms.
Jinkies: How do you they do civil war re-enactments? I've never been to one.
RunnerVeggie: The most common silks would have been brocades for the very rich. I'm not sure if chiffon or silk crepe existed/were used during most periods. As my persona is a not extremely rich male viking in either the 9th or 10th century the only things I really have to think about are leather (shoes/boots/belts/etc.), wool (tunics/sometimes undertunics/hose/trousers/puttees/etc.), and fur (lining of hats and cloaks mostly).
Cotton and linen were used. Later periods, mostly (almost exclusively in the middle Eastern regions) they might have used cotton underclothing and underclothing for most people in most places (at most times) was made of linen. For instance, my 9th-10th century viking man would probably have worn a wool tunic, linen undertunic, wool trousers, wool puttees (leg bindings), leather shoes, leather belt, and a wool cloak. Lots of wool, not much linen.
Secondhand materials do play a very big part in my thoughts on this issue but, as I said above, linen and cotton (rare as it was) would have been used almost solely for underclothing and things like women's veils/wimples/etc.
Also, I looked it up, the judging points for A&S are authenticity and documentation. I don't know if you have to submit swatches or anything as I've never entered clothing in a competition (there a certainly a good many other mostly non-vegan things to enter in such a competition) but I do know that the judges are always very well educated in what they are judging and so a vegan substitution of, say silk, would have to not only look like silk, but feel like it and drape like it as well. Such things often give away the composition of a fabric to someone experienced with it.

Thanks for all the discussion, I hope you're all finding this as interesting as I am!
 

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Someone said it's called Peace Silk or Tussar Silk. I've never used it, though. And, as RunnerVeggie pointed out, it isn't the soft stuff.
 

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Originally Posted by stasher View Post

I would wear vegan clothing and accept that I wasn't going to win any prizes for authenticity.
me too
 

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Originally Posted by AlexanderS View Post

Sequioa: I've never heard of 'vegan silk' do you have any more information. What's it made out of? I've only heard of silk being made from, well, the cocoons of silk worms.
Jinkies: How do you they do civil war re-enactments? I've never been to one.
RunnerVeggie: The most common silks would have been brocades for the very rich. I'm not sure if chiffon or silk crepe existed/were used during most periods.
Peace or ahimsa silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms where the worm has already emerged. I wouldn't necessarily label it vegan, but it is supposed to be cruelty free. It has a more nubby raw silk texture due to the shorter fibers. I haven't ever seen it made into anything finer like a brocade.

What I would probably do is use secondhand non-vegan materials for key pieces, and use vegan new materials to fill in any gaps. I would feel iffy about using fur, even secondhand, but that's just me. There are some very nice poly/rayon blends that can replicate wool quite well. If the judges really require complete authenticity, you might lose some points if you use a non-traditional fabric, but I think it's worth trying unless you know you would be completely disqualified for it. Just make sure the rest of the outfit is crazy awesome!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderS View Post

Jinkies: How do you they do civil war re-enactments? I've never been to one.
I was just referring to the fact that they use fake guns and don't actually go around killing each other. Recreating the experience is fine. Recreating the cruelty involved is not. My best advice is to use vegan materials and not make any attempts to win an award for authenticity.

I honestly don't see how participating in the activity can be vegan if you're trying to be authentic, though. There's a huge list of things out there that vegans can't do. Dressing as an authentic viking or whatever is just another one of those things.
 

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The principles of vegan are to not exploit animals as much as is practical, and possible. You now have no need for wool, leather, or silk. Recreate those items, as you would any other of there actions.
The use of wool, parchment, and leather had a place in that world, but not in todays world.

You may be interested in The Bloodless Revolution by Tristram Stuart
 

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My husband used to be in the SCA. It seemed to primarily be an outlet to get drunk and have casual sex in the woods... but I digress...

His garb is cotton, except for a leather belt, but one could also use a rope-style belt. You don't HAVE to wear silk/wool/leather, and you could do something like making chain mail and not something like leatherworking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'd like to correct something I said earlier. It would seem that you could wear entirely non-wool or silk clothing if you were a not-too-rich-but-probably-not-extremely-poor early (Kievan) period Russian and don't wear a coat. (Early/Kievan period here being the 9th to 14th centuries) I'm basing this on this article at SCA-Russia.
I'll quote the part I'm referencing for people who don't feel like reading it.
Quote:
The majority of the population wore shoes and clothing created of homemade materials. In most families, women spun and wove flax, hemp, and wool at home, as evidenced by numerous archeological finds of implements for these crafts. (Rabinovich, p. 41.) Linen was woven on a horizontal loom, in simple weave or in complex patterns, ("bran," damask). The thickest linen (or hemp) fabric was known as "votola" and used for outer wear, the thinner though still coarse fabric as "tolstina" (for thickness) or "uzchina" (for narrow width), while the finest bleached linen was called "poniava" or "bel'." Coarse woolen fabric destined for plain coats was "sermiaga," while finer wool was called "volosen."
As you can see from that, a heavy weight linen is taking the place normally held by wool. I'd never have expected that considering how cold the majority of Russia is and how good at insulating wool is.
I welcome you to read the article, I'm not through it yet myself but it's turning out to be quite interesting so far and to, of course, check any references as you see fit.
 
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