What is Vegan Fashion?

Changing your diet is just one way to go vegan. Those wanting to embrace veganism fully often take the decision to cut out all animal products from their life – and this includes clothing. For those that may have just completed ‘Veganuary’ and are now thinking of adopting this lifestyle permanently, here are just a few ways in which you can get involved in vegan fashion.

Which materials aren’t vegan?

Any material that comes from an animal is generally regarded as not vegan. Some of these are obvious such as leather, fur and snakeskin – these all involve the slaughter of animals. Even if they are sometimes by-products as a result of slaughtering for meat (as is the result of leather), many vegans still don’t like the idea of wearing leather as many slaughterhouses are still paid for this leather.

Some vegans are fine with materials like wool and cashmere as these don’t involve the slaughter of animals. However, others still see this as an animal product that results in the industrialisation of animals and so are opposed to it.

Many vegans also avoid silk. Whilst this material can be extracted from silkworms without killing them, many distributors boil silkworms alive in their cocoons to obtain this material – hence why so many vegans are opposed to it. There are ethical silk brands out there that you can opt for if you desire.

Which materials ARE vegan?

There are many organic materials that are vegan including cotton, linen, hemp and coconut fibre, as well as man-made materials such as nylon, acrylic and polyester.

Materials like denim are vegan too – they consist of finely woven cotton dyed with indigo – however you should be careful when buying jeans as many contain patches made of leather. By searching carefully, you can usually find denim products without these leather patches.

There are faux materials out there that can simulate leather and snakeskin. Some of these are cork or kelp based, whilst others are made from polymers. You should make sure that these are wholly free of animal products as whilst some brands may not use cowhide, they may substitute this with other animal hides.

What about cosmetics?

A lot of make-up contains animal products too. Tallow is animal fat commonly taken from pigs which is present in many eyeliners, lip sticks and makeup bases. It’s generally found in thicker and more glossy types of cosmetics. Other ingredients to look out for include beeswax, elastin, lanolin, albumen and shellac. As for make-up brushes, some of these contain animal hair, so you should also be wary of this.

There are plenty of cosmetics that don’t use animal products including vegan lip gloss and vegan foundation. These products usually substitute these ingredients with the likes of palm oil and coconut oil instead. You can meanwhile buy makeup brushes that use synthetic bristles.

Where can I find vegan clothing/cosmetics?

Switching to vegan clothing and cosmetics isn’t as limiting as it may seem. Most mainstream brands will sell some clothing made from plant-based and man-made materials. In fact, you can probably go into any high street store and find a good selection of animal-product-free clothing and makeup (you just need to always check the label).

There are a growing number of clothing brands that are exclusively vegan. Some of the biggest brands include VAUTE, Beyond Skin and Brave Gentleman. You can shop for these clothes online. There are similarly many make-up brands that are exclusively vegan.

Should I throw away my old wardrobe?

There may be no point getting rid of the clothing you’ve already bought – the money has already been spent on these products. That said, a lot of vegans can’t bring themselves to wear clothing or cosmetics containing animal products once they’ve adopted this change of lifestyle. It’s really a case of personal preference as to whether you want to get rid of you old clothing or not.