Vegan clothing is clothing that was produced without using sentient beings as part of the production process, either through the use of their skins, or the use of their bodies as part of the manufacturing process.
You might be surprised to learn that many of the materials used to produce clothes people wear every day are not vegan. Vegans cannot wear or use wool, leather or silk, for example.
There are many online and offline retailers worldwide who stock and sell vegan clothes and accessories.
Vegan clothing in the UK
If you're vegan, you're probably as conscious about the clothing you're buying as you are about the food that you eat. At first, it might feel complicated, but don't worry, there is lots of vegan clothing in the UK. You can find items on the high street, or by buying from specialty vegan clothing retailers. You'll also find shoes, socks, and accessories that are vegan-friendly, too.
What is vegan clothing?
Vegan clothing is clothing that's produced without using animals in any form. Vegan clothes do not use the skins, fur or coats of animals in their materials, or use animals as part of the production process.
There are some clothing products that are not vegan by default. These include wool, leather, suede, and silk.
Do vegans wear wool?
No, vegans do not wear wool. Lots of non-vegans do not understand why this is the case, because sheep are not killed for their fleeces. Many are of the belief that sheep need to be sheared, and that farmers are doing their sheep a favor by taking their coats from them. This is not the case. Just like humans, sheep evolved across millions of years, and survived perfectly well long before humans were there to take their fleeces from them.
Like most farm animals, sheep are bred and kept for one sole purpose; to make money for farmers. Because those who keep them are trying to make money for themselves, they rarely have the best interests of the animals in mind. Sheep are selectively bred to have wrinkly skin so that they can produce more wool, which makes them susceptible to flystrike, a deadly disease usually found in rabbits. To prevent it, farmers sometimes subject sheep to mulesing, a practise that involves cutting skin and flesh from the hind quarters of sheep.
As they age, sheep fleeces deteriorate in quality, and they are sent to slaughter. Sheep are exploited for their lambs, their fleeces and finally, their flesh.
Vegan wool alternatives
There are lots of vegan alternatives to wool. The industrial revolution means that synthetic alternatives to wool are available in most high street stores. There is no need to wear wool that was grown and belonged to an animal who most likely suffered when they had it taken from them. Here are some great other fabrics to try, as provided by PETA:
- Organic cotton
- Beech Tree Fiber
Alternative names for wool
If you're vegan, it's really important that you learn the alternative names for wool, so that you can check your clothing labels for it and avoid buying it. To do so is not vegan, as you're contributing to an industry that exploits sheep, and then sends them to slaughter when they are no longer of use.
Wool is also sometimes called:
Is tweed vegan?
Tweed is sometimes vegan, but it is most commonly made from wool. It is also quite often made from compositions of other fabrics, including silk, which isn't vegan either. If you're a fan of tweed, you'll need to find out if the tweed fabric you're considering exploited sentient beings as part of its production process, because if it did then you shouldn't be buying it.
Is leather vegan?
Traditionally, leather is not vegan. It is a by-product of the beef and dairy industries and is made from the skin of cows.
But don't worry, there are many vegan leather alternatives. If you're vegan, you can still buy motorcycle jackets, leather-look boots, and almost anything else you might want to look like leather, without the animal exploitation.
Vegan leather is produced using a variety of materials, and without the exploitation of animals as part of their production process. You can buy jackets, bags, shoes, and accessories that use vegan leather alternatives instead of actual cow skin.
Vegan leather is made from the following products, as reported by PETA:
- Recycled rubber
- Waxed cotton
- Coolstone leather
- Tree bark leather
- Apple fibres
- Recycled tyres
- The hana plant
- Teak leaves
You'll most certainly find the leather clothing and accessories you loved when you were non vega in a vegan variety. You can even get non-leather, vegan Dr. Martens.
Why is silk not vegan?
Silk is not vegan because it's created by stealing cocoons produced by silkworms. In order to harvest these cocoons, which are used by silkworms before they turn into moths, the insects must be held captive and exploited. They are often killed as part of the process of collection.
It is estimated that 10,000 silkworms are killed to produce one single silk sari. Vegans pledge to live their lives without harming or exploiting sentient beings, and so cannot support the silk sector by purchasing products from it.
There are nonviolent methods of silk production, but these make up a tiny portion of the silk market. It is much cheaper for manufacturers to exploit these creatures, and so, unfortunately, that's what they most often choose to do.
Vegan clothing brands
There are tons of vegan clothing brands out there to choose from. To help you, we've listed some of them below.
Looking for luxury streetwear? No Fixed Abode of London is a vegan and ethical fashion brand likened to Vivienne Westwood.
It has two lines - a luxury black label line, and a premium line, and provides clothing for men, women, and children. On its website, you'll find a range of streetwear apparel and accessories including tops, t-shirts, dresses, sweatshirts, leggings, shorts, skirts, beachwear, scarves, bags, sunglasses, and luggage.
Uncaptive believes there's no need to harm humans, animals or the environment in order to provide beautiful clothing. It uses bamboo, organic cotton, and recycled plastic bottles to produce t-shirts, scarves and socks.
The zero waste part of its website offers belts made from retired fire hoses, bamboo toothbrushes, and natural soaps.
It’s offering 10 percent off everything for Plant Based News visitors with the code PLANTBASED10.