You’re vegan… is your wardrobe vegan too?

When you decide to "go vegan", it can be very daunting to know where to start. Once you have your diet sorted, it's not unusual to start thinking about all the other areas of our lives and how they impact animals. Our aim is for this guide to help you decode the fashion industry and to shop in a sustainable, vegan friendly way.

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When you decide to eat a plant-based diet, you’re likely to be doing it for one of or both of these reasons:

  • You want to stop harm and cruelty to animals
  • To play your part in protecting the environment

Of course, there may be other reasons, all of which are personal to you.

Your diet is 100% vegan, but have you considered your wardrobe? In this article, we wanted to provide an easy to follow guide to help you ensure your wardrobe is vegan too. There are the obvious things to avoid, like leather and suede, but what about the hidden processes and items that we might not notice?

We are going to assume that the items you’re buying are sustainable and ethical… but are those products also vegan?

01. Clothes Dye

As a child of the 80s/90s, I have always been surrounded by vibrant and colourful clothing! Until now, I hadn’t considered how theses dyes are produced. Of course, it seems obvious to me now that these vibrant colours may have an impact on our environment and could be derived from animals.

Why fabric dyes may not be vegan friendly:

  • The dye could be tested on animals
  • The source of the dye could be derived from animals (Cochineal, for example)

Another thing to think about is the pollution and environmental damage caused by the dyes used in our clothing. The textile industry is one of the most damaging industries to our waterways and our planet. We will be writing an article about this soon.

02. Leather and Suede on patches

This may seem initially obvious, we know we don’t want leather or suede as part of a vegan wardrobe!

Keep an eye out for hidden leather though! Think about labels on jeans, patches, zip tags, and product labels.

It’s also worth checking that any products that are labelled as “faux” actually are fake and that they are ethically produced.

03. Silk components in linings

Silk has been considered luxurious, but it is made from a fiber that is spun by silkworms as they form their cocoons. Making it a big no for vegans. Keep an eye out for silk in linings of jackets, bags, purses, or skirts.

04. Beeswax on jackets

Traditional waxed jackets are known for their durability and practicality but what about the Beeswax that is often used in the coating?

Beeswax production and how it fits in the vegan community is widely debated. However, on larger farms it is reported that the queen bee’s wings are cut off so that she has to remain in the colony. If the handling is haphazard, bees may be killed or have their wings and legs torn off.

Whatever your opinion is on this subject, it seems that removing beeswax from our wardrobe seems the right thing to do.

05. Glues

Used often in shoes and handbags, glue can contain animal derived ingredients. Sometimes containing skin, bone or milk protein.

Our biggest tip is to buy shoes and handbags that are certified as vegan. This is the only way to be sure that the hidden glues are vegan friendly.

06. Feather and down padding

For obvious reasons, feather and down isn’t vegan friendly. Watch out for it as padding in jackets, gillets and gloves.

07. Fur instead of fake fur

We all know that real fur is cruel. It’s a big NO. It’s also worth being cautious when buying anything that looks like fur or that is labeled faux-fur. With some products having been labeled as fake, when they were real, we feel it’s best avoided completely.

08. Buttons and decoration

Make sure you check that buttons and any decorative items are not made from bone, pearl or horn.

09. Vintage clothing

It’s harder to spot whether an older item of clothing has any animal-derived components due to less strict labeling. It’s worth double-checking the material, lining, buttons, fixings, and quality before purchasing.

10. Screen Printing

Some inks that are used for prinitng are tested on animals or contain animal-derived ingredients. It’s not always easy to know if this is the case.

The other hidden thing to watch out for in screen printing is the emulsion used on the screens to create the stencil itself. Many of these emulsions contain gelatin.

Shopping with 100% certified vegan brands is the easiest way to know if the screen printing process they use is vegan friendly. Alternatively, contact customer services and ask directly. We find companies are more than happy to answer any questions… and if they are not, then we don’t buy from them anyway.

How to shop with confidence?

01. Know your brands…

Buy from certified vegan only brands. There are so many brands that are 100% vegan, meaning you can shop with confidence. Lots of these brands are also sustainable and ethical.

Check out our posts highlighting our ever growing list of vegan products and brands.

02. Know your materials…

Once you know the materials to look for, shopping for vegan clothing becomes so much easier. Some materials that are usually vegan include:

  • Organic cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Linen
  • Cork
  • Hemp
  • Seaweed
  • Lyocell/Tencel (made from wood cellulose)
  • Soy fabric

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