What do we mean when we say vegan clothing? Can clothing actually be vegan? Yes it can!
Many animal products are used to make clothing, shoes, and other accessories for human consumption and these, like the parts that are eaten, are not considered vegan.
Vegan clothing also means that there is concern and attention paid to how the clothing has been manufactured. Vegans do not want to purchase products whose manufacturing involves the exploitation of workers, especially children.
And vegans are generally not too happy about wearing pesticides or chemicals either. Polar fleece, for example, is made from petroleum - eeew! - and conventional cotton uses about 24% of all pesticides made in the entire world!
Where Can I get Vegan Clothing?
Turning Life - This company has an expansive global sensibility policy to insure that not only their products, but their packaging and shipping are eco-friendly as well. Gorgeous selections include fabrics made from organic hemp, organic cotton, and organic bamboo rayon. Great prices too, for such clean fabrics!
Tianello - Tianello specializes in clothing made from an eco-friendly fiber called tencel. It is made from the celluose of wood fiber, from trees grown on managed tree farms and without chemicals. The fabric has a beautiful drape that will flatter your form, and is completely biodegradable.
- This company specializes in green, vegan, and fair trade products. Their catalogue is lovely and boasts some very high quality items. Gaiam has lovely organic and vegan clothing for women as well as many high quality health and beauty products. Their selection is a bit limited, but the prices are moderate.
For information about eco friendly vegan shoes and accessories, Click here.
There is a rapidly growing market in organic vegan clothing and fabric. You'll find those fabrics described below, but first:
- Leather and Suede - This one is pretty obvious. Leather is made from the skin of cattle and is used to make shoes, belts, wallets and handbags.
- Wool - But wait, they don't kill the sheep to get the wool, right? Actually, sometimes they do. And during the shearing process the sheep are often severely and agonizlingly mutilated and mistreated. Millions of lambs die each year from exposure after being sheared too early.
- Silk - And why is silk not considered vegan clothing? Silkworms are just bugs right? Well, vegans don't even want to exploit bugs. And to tell the truth, the silk-making process is very cruel, with every worm dying in the process by being gassed or boiled alive.
- Fur - I think this one goes without saying...
- Goose and Duck Down - Duck down is plucked from ducks killed on factory farms, which is bad enough, but geese are often plucked for their down while still alive, a process which is excruciating for them.
Fortunately there are some wonderful fabrics to choose from as you shop for vegan clothing. And designers like Calvin Klein and Versace have started working with vegan and organic fabric - the market is only going to get bigger, which means more selection for you!
- Organic Cotton - Organic cotton is soft, breathable, and most importantly - allergen-free and safe to bring into contact with your skin - the largest organ in your body. In addition, organic cotton manufacturing does not exploit workers or use chemicals in the dyes or processing. What makes it organic?
- Hemp - Not only is hemp a superfood, but it makes a wonderful fabric as well. Hemp fibers are strong, and the growing and processing of industrial hemp involves no pesticides or bleaching. This means that it's great for sensitive skin. Hemp clothing becomes softer the more you wear it, is very durable and strong, and holds dye well so that the colors do not fade as quickly over time.
- Bamboo - Bamboo is actually a fairly recent development in the vegan clothing industry, but it's a very exciting one. Not only does it make a great fabric, soft, breathable (even more than cotton) and hypo-allergenic, but as a crop, it grows quickly, improves soil quality, and "breathes out" almost 35% more oxygen than most other trees. So buying clothing made from bamboo is a big, huge plus for the environment!
- Soy - Although soy has been used to make fabric in China for thousands of years, it was, if you will kindly dig this, Henry Ford who first brought soy fabric to the west. He used soy fabric to upholster the seats of his cars, and even had some clothing that was made from soy. Soy fabric is made from the leftovers of tofu production which are heated and spun into fibers. The process is completely closed so there is no pollution involved - a big plus. Soy fabric is soft like cashmere and drapes like silk. It is resistant to bacteria and is biodegradable. Soy fabric is primarily produced in China, which in this case is actually a good thing because it means the soy is not GMO!
- Peace Silk - As I mentioned above, silk is not considered vegan because the silkworms are killed during the process by boiling them alive in their cocoons or gassing them. One silk thread is then extracted from the cocoon for processing. Peace silk, on the other hand, allows the worms to live out their natural lives and emerge from the cocoons before the silk is extracted. As yet there is not much in the way of clothing made from peace silk, but there are a few items available at Aurora Silk.