Finding the best vegan clothing brands can be difficult and time-consuming. Fair Trade Finder is here to provide a comprehensive list of online fashion companies to expedite your search.
What are the best vegan clothing brands for alternatives to fur, wool, shearling, cashmere, and angora?
The wool, shearling and cashmere industry brutally strips animals of their protective fur in a painful and barbaric process called factory “mulesing”.
Moreover, the fur is removed regardless of the season, thus exposing the animals to cold when they most need the fur. Just as humans use our skin and hair to keep ourselves warm, sheep use their fur to protect themselves in the winter.
Mulesing is like somebody skinning you, and then making you walk naked through the snow.
Sheep are brutally harmed during the process, their ears are hole-punched, tails are chopped off and the males are castrated—all without any anesthesia for the incredible pain they feel. Lambs, goats, and rabbits are also harmed and often killed for shearling, cashmere, and angora wool.
Here’s the bottom line on vegan fashion:
The vegan brands below offer warm vegan clothing alternatives made from twill, cotton, orlon, synthetic shearling and recycled polyester (rPET). These materials are 100% vegan and do not harm animals in their production.
Altir carries a large selection of accessories, bags and jackets made of 100% Pinatex. This unexpected material is made from pineapple leaf. Pineapple has emerged as one of the most exciting alternatives to leather, because of it’s long-lasting, durability. It also has a similar texture to leather, and softens and molds to the body in the same way.
The pineapples are sourced from plantations and farming communities in the Philippines and then sent to Spain where the skin is processed into Piñatex. 16 pineapples generates approximately 1 square meter of vegan leather.
Stella McCartney, daughter of Paul and Linda, Stella McCartney has been a pioneer in vegan fashion since the early 2000s.
As stated on the company website,
“Our leather alternatives do not just look good, they are also better to the environment. Using recycled polyester instead of Brazilian calf leather … creates 24 times less of an environmental impact, as calculated through the Environmental Profit and Loss …”
London based Will’s Vegan Store is a designer of carbon-neutral, vegan boots, shoes, purses and sneakers. Their website states that the products are 100% vegan, from the fabrics to the glue. The materials are sourced from cereal crops in Italy and Spain. The company is Vegan Society registered and PETA Approved.
Launched in 2010, Brave Gentle Man (BGM) is the world’s first vegan menswear brand. The company invests in sustainable technology, high-quality vegan materials, and ethical labor practices. Their clothes are produced in New York City.
“Many people don’t realize that popular materials like wool and leather are associated with disastrous climate impacts, loss of biodiversity and animal cruelty. At Brave GentleMan we simply don’t view animals as acceptable sources of fiber.”
Colorado-based Pact’s tagline is “Sustainable fashion for all”. Their material of choice is 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton. Organic cotton requires significantly less water to produce and is free of toxic chemicals. The company also works to ensure safe workplaces and equitable pay for its entire supply chain.
Canada based Baro Jackets creates environmentally-conscious, technologically-advanced jackets and outerwear for men and women. They are PETA-approved and 100% vegan.
Customized for cold Canadian winters, the majority of their fabrics are insulated with PrimaLoft® made from recycled materials.
The company’s motto is “Design with purpose. Own less. Live more.”
U.K. based TALA specializes in comfy, stylish athletic wear for women. The company creates clothes using a combination of up-cycled materials and eco-friendly fabrics.
Exceptional because of its dogmatic and eco-conscious approach to sustainable fashion, Outerknown has perfected the flannel, plaid lounge shirt. The company creates subtle, timeless looks using high quality organic materials and production methodologies.
Los Angeles-based designer Bella + Canvas creates their unique, handcrafted “clean” cotton by disinfecting and combing out 30% of “dirty” raw cotton until the material meets rigorous quality assurance standards. The store offers a variety of products for men and women, from sweatshirts to t-shirts.
They are certified by the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (W.R.A.P) 4 organization, which reviews apparel facilities to validate that they follow U.S. and international codes and regulations, provide a safe work environment and pay living wages, and employ environmentally friendly clothes production and manufacturing methods.
As stated on their company website,
“We recycle nearly everything that can’t be turned into a t-shirt … Solar powered energy is used to power our manufacturing facilities and … we use eco-friendly dyes and efficient dye machines that require 7x less water than average clothing manufacturers …“
Offering an array of shirts, pants and jackets for men, women and kids, New Zealand-based AS Colour follows a strict process of supply-chain sourcing review and qualification. Since they work with partners in countries at a high risk of worker abuse, like Bangladesh and China, they have a rigorous vetting process to ensure safe, fair, and humane working conditions.
80% – 100% of their clothes are Oeko-Tex 100 5 certified, which verifies that the fabrics are free from 100 harmful and polluting chemicals. AS Colour also has an official code of conduct and an ethical product guide.
Denmark-based Organic Basics has turned converting recycled materials like plastic bottles and pizza boxes into an artform. They feature gorgeous recycled cashmere sweaters, scarves, and gloves for men and women, in addition to a wide variety of underwear, t-shirts, tops, socks and accessories. They do not use harmful chemicals when treating their fabrics, and instead utilize a non-toxic silver salt called Polygiene® to stop bacteria and odors.
Animals & the Fashion Industry
Throughout the past 60 years, modern clothing has become increasingly cheap to produce. This in turn has caused the fashion industry to be incredibly harmful to animals, with millions of animals killed each year. 1 In addition, the manufacture of fur produces more fossil fuel pollution than any other garment. 2
The fashion industry is responsible for a number of terrible environmental effects, including destruction of land and trees for agriculture, industrial pollution, and climate change. All of these issues compound and lead to a loss of animal habitats and species across the globe.
However, with modern technology and innovation, we don’t need to harm animals and the environment to look good.
We’ve written extensively about the best sustainable clothing brands that support ethical, fair trade practices. In this article we focus on vegan fashion brands and shoe companies that use sustainable, vegan materials. These clothes brands endeavor to respect and cherish our furry neighbors, such as alpaca, cows, sheep, rabbits, snakes and others sourced for their hides.
Final Thoughts on Vegan Fashion Brands
Animals have been sourced as materials for clothing since the dawn of man. During prehistoric times, extreme weather conditions and the lack of indoor heating and cooling necessitated using materials like leather and fur to stay warm and dry.
Animals including rabbits, minks, goats, foxes, crocodiles, alpacas, llamas, and even dogs and cats are coveted by the fashion industry. Their fur and skins are used to make a variety of what’s marketed as ‘luxurious’ clothing. 4
However, with the advent of sustainable alternatives to animal fur and leather, we have a multitude of vegan and cruelty-free choices that provide great alternatives while still looking good and stylish.
Here’s the kicker:
Fashion brands are still sourcing animal materials for clothing despite the existence of a wide selection of vegan options, and cruelty-free, sustainable materials to use, such as vegan leather, faux fur, recycled fabrics and organic cotton.
As fashion, apparel and textiles have evolved over the centuries, the need to wear animals as protection against the weather and the elements has become unnecessary. We also don’t need to destroy the earth by creating cheap, toxic, “fast-fashion” that is here today, and in a landfill tomorrow.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Animal well-being and environmental conservation are gaining traction, the vegan lifestyle is becoming popular, and this in turn is changing the face of the vegan fashion industry.
“Fast-fashion” is turning into “Slow Fashion”, which prioritizes the well-being of animals, worker rights and the preservation of the natural environment.
The emergence of vegan clothing brands and ethical fashion has produced an ever-growing line of awesome vegan brands for clothing and shoes.
In addition to animal skin or fur, vegan materials and sustainable fabrics also exclude products derived through animal exploitation, such as silk, mulesed wool, feathers, angora, and down.
The following materials are animal-derived and are not vegan:
The more you know:
Vegan leather is made from a range of materials, from non-animal microfibers, to plants, including mushrooms and fruit.
Bio-fabricated like Vegetan and Lorica (or EcoLorica) utilize sustainable materials and are vegan alternatives grown in laboratories. Vegetan is highly biodegradable, and Lorica is created from combining microfibres soaked in resins. Cork, barkcloth, glazed cotton, waxed cotton pineapple leaf fiber, apple peels, mushroom, and corn are also popular alternatives. 1
What’s the bottom line?
You can avoid animal-sourced and cruelty products by converting your fashion to vegan clothing brands and sustainable fashion. These clothes companies are also eco-friendly, and do not use artificial leather and fabrics derived from toxic, fossil-fuel based materials, such as polyurethane and petroleum.