A Guide to Vegan Clothing

A Guide to Vegan Clothing

Fashion is an essential part of our everyday lives without being aware of it. We don’t just dress because we’re civilized beings; we dress to impress others, express ourselves, and attempt to belong.

However, many of our fashionable choices were made at the price of a poor animal’s suffering or even life because even materials that can be used without killing the animal still subject it to horrible conditions of living.

So, we created this guide to help vegans who are trying to make the right clothing choices.

Most Common Materials to Avoid



Leather is the most conspicuous culprit in animal cruelty. I mean, we are ripping the skin off of dead animals. 

There is a misconception about which animals exactly we kill for leather. Many believe that leather is the by-product of the meat and dairy industries. However, many animals are killed specifically for their skin, such as elephants, crocodiles, kangaroos, and many more.

Even when it is a by-product of the meat and dairy industries, these animals are killed for their skin when they’re not deemed useful for other uses anymore.

Leather is usually used in making belts, shoes, wallets, and bags. You need to inspect supposedly leather-free products carefully because it may be sneakily used in the details or insides of clothes, shoes, accessories, and even clothing labels.

What to Wear Instead

Faux leather is where it all started. Alternatives such as polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane have taken over the vegan clothing industry. Fortunately, there is a type of leather that is made of plants such as Piñatex, which is made of pineapple leaves, cork leather, and apple leather.

> More info: The ultimate guide to vegan leather



Many non-vegans genuinely believe that wool and similar fabrics are cruelty-free, which is far from the truth. First, let’s understand where wool comes from and why it is bad. Wool is the hair of goats, sheep, alpacas, llamas, camels, and more. 

The public is led to believe that shearing is a necessity for these animals; however, wild animals are capable of shedding their own hair, while domesticated sheep were bred to grow excess wool that leads them to depend on humans for shearing.

Due to the unnatural wool excess, many sheep die of heat exhaustion in warm climates such as in Australia, which is the world’s primary source of wool.

Raising, maintaining, and extracting wool from animals involves many cruel activities such as mulesing, rough shearing, export, and, of course, slaughter.

Wool can be found in suits, cardigans, jumpers, and more.

What to Wear Instead

Cotton, bamboo, and linen are breathable, lightweight alternatives that can replace wool in all its uses. Nothing is sleeker than a linen suit in the summer.

> More info: Why isn’t wool vegan?



Nobody can resist the softness, sheen, and luxury of silk.  However, the “Queen of Fibers” is created by raising silkworms on mulberry leaves, then boiling them alive in the cocoons they formed to extract as much silk as possible. It takes boiling as many as 2500 cocoons to produce just 1 pound of silk.

Silk is popular in blouses, neckties, nightgowns, sport coats, and much more. So, pay attention next time you purchase any of them.

What to Wear Instead

Nylon, rayon, and seedpod fibers are more affordable alternatives to silk that still have that silky feel we all crave.

> More info: Is silk vegan?



Down is the soft layer of fine feathers that are closest to the skin hiding under the tougher exterior of feathers. It is usually found at the underbelly or chest of birds, especially the babies.

The process of extracting feathers and downs is gruesome, and it starts when the birds, usually geese and ducks, are just 10 weeks old. They are painfully lifted by their necks and restrained by their legs, while the feathers and downs are ripped out, leaving open wounds. This messed up process is repeated every 6 weeks until they are killed for meat.

The comfiness we feel because of high-end feather coats and down gloves doesn’t feel so comfy anymore, does it?

What to Wear Instead

While it is not easy to find alternatives to down and feathers, puffer jackets are currently being made of vegan down.

Animal Glue

Animal Glue

Animal-based glue is your sneaky enemy. It is made by boiling down animal connective tissue and bones to extract collagen, which gives it that sticky texture and turns it into an adhesive. The most popular source for glue was horses, but now it is taken from cattle as well.

Shoes, even the ones that are leather-free, may very well contain animal glue.

What to Look for Instead

Look for shoes with synthetic adhesives or ones that are sewn instead of glued.

Additional Tips

1. Download vegan applications that help you read labels or inform you of what to avoid.

2. Feel the materials yourself.

3. Ask around.

4. Contact suppliers before purchasing for any inquiries.

5. Follow 100% vegan brands in your area.

Final Thoughts

There are many materials we wear or used to wear on a daily basis that had horrific origins where millions of animals and insects have unjustly suffered. However, every day is a new chance to change. So, don’t be afraid to embrace your consciousness.

Thomas has been vegan for over 5 years and has decided to move to Costa Rica with his family to be closer to nature and live a more minimalistic life. He loves yummy vegan food and sustainable products.