For some, being a vegan is simply the practice of not eating animal products. No meat, no eggs, no dairy, no honey, etc. For other vegans, though, it’s a lifestyle choice affecting all facets of life. Before eating a candy bar, they might ask themselves, was this refined with white sugar? What kind of charcoal was used in this? Does this, in fact, contain choline bitartate? For some vegans, the choice they’ve made is a central, core value that is not to be tampered with. It can have religious rhetoric, at times. It is to be followed strictly, to the extent that this is possible. It is a political, environmental, even – gulp – moral issue.
So off the vegan goes, into a world filled with animal bi-products. It can be difficult to even pick out clothing. Even clothing that looks animal free might have, say, a leather patch on it somewhere. In fact, if you don’t already take issue with animal-based clothing, look at what you’re wearing now. Chances are you’re wearing at least a couple animal products. Unless you’re a nudist.
Here are a few tips to help you find animal-free clothing.
Which Clothing Types Are Vegan?
Wool, fur, silk, and leather are all out the door. Consequently, everything else is in. Cotton, denim, polyester, can all be worn by those following the vegan lifestyle. Some articles of clothing may be produced using a blend of fibers, like 20% cotton / 80% wool. Keep an eye out for this, as it’s easy to see “cotton” on the label, and then dismiss it as animal-free. For vegan footwear, we highly recommend Groovebags.
Connect With Other Vegans
The best way to find clothing that are both vegan and styleized to your taste is through word of mouth. Is your vegan friend wearing a completely awesome hat? Chances are it’s vegan and they can tell you where it’s from. Becoming a member of your informal vegan community is a great way to make new friends, as well.
Look around online. There are plenty of different societies and groups that are dedicated to connecting vegans with vegans. Talk about what you’re having difficulty finding, and another dedicated user will surely offer their guidance.
One commonly cited problem of becoming a began is it’s price-wall. This may be true for the food side of it (if you can’t give up fake cheeses and meats), but need not be the case for clothing. Somevegan clothing stores – online or physical – may over-charge for their products, simply because they congregate them, package them nicely, and create a lovely shopping experience. Some people like to pay for these pleasures and conveniences, but for those more strapped for cash, there are alternatives.
One important point to remember: most clothing is already made with plant-based products. You can find more than enough vegan clothing at your local thrift store – Goodwill has plenty, I know. Just check out the label, check the price, and out you go with your affordable, vegan clothing.
Some animal-based clothing is just superior. Some are more durable, rugged, comfortable, or luxurious than typical clothing you might find. There are alternatives to these, though, and often times they are just as high of quality, if not more so, than the originals.
Wool seems innocent enough. Sheer them in the summer when it’s hot anyways, and they grow back their coat by the time winter rolls back around. Repeat perennially. There are issues with cruetly to highly refined wool operations, though, ranging from sever scarring of their skin to not properly caring for them once their wool production dwindles.
Polar fleece is a fantastic replacement. Not only can it be made from recycled plastic bottles, it very light, insulating, flame retardant, water resistant, and affordable.
Faux Fur is another interesting phenomenon that is presently booming. These are made from a variety of products including cotton and other synthetics. Fake furs are generally cheaper, and are in fact more widely used than real furs. The fur label is also regulated, so anything containing fur – partially or entirely – must be labeled as such.
In considering purchasing faux fur, though, question your motivations for doing so. If you don’t endorse the use of animal bi-products in any facet of your life – including clothing – then why wear something that becomes legitimate through mimicking animal products? People looking at your jacket may not know it’s fake fur, and go out and by it’s animal equivalent.
Artificial Leather is also widely available, found in every department store. Check product tags to ensure that a product that look like leather is actually fake leather. Fake leather is made from plastic, so beware of the health effects associated with this.
Beware of the “Certified Vegan Leather” label, as well. This is nothing more than niche-marketing lingo for “fake leather”. There is nothing special about products with this label, other than they are typically over priced.
In the end, it’s pretty difficult to go wrong shopping for vegan clothing. The best ways to avoid animal clothing is to talk to people, check labels, research, and ask questions. Just keep your eyes open, and you’ll be sure attain your desired goals.