What Is Vegan Clothing + 4 Other Cruelty-Free Fashion Questions Explained

Because going vegan affects your wardrobe, too.

This post comes from contributor, Katheryn Erickson.

Becoming a vegan is not a light, easy thing to do. It’s a deeply personal decision and different for everyone, ranging from the strictly dietary (giving up eating all animal-based products, like eggs, meat, and honey) to a complete lifestyle overhaul (also saying goodbye to leather, wool, and certain makeup). If you’re contemplating a fully vegan lifestyle, there are a lot of questions to consider. What is vegan clothing? Can I keep my leather boots? Do vegans wear wool?

Ask any vegan and they can probably tell you the exact moment that they took the plunge. For celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, it all started in her junior high Biology class. “We were dissecting rats and I realized mine had been pregnant,” she says. “I was disgusted and the idea of eating living things was no longer appetizing to me.”

Thing is, going vegan can be more of a process than a one-time decision (so don’t beat yourself up if it’s a journey). “I went back to eating some animal products in college (especially dairy via pizza) and on an around-the-world backpacking trip, but became fully vegan over a decade ago,” Snyder says. “I was bloated, constipated, had acne and low energy. Up to 90% of the environmental toxins come into our bodies by way of animal products (which accumulate as you go up the food chain), and when I became vegan, my digestion healed, my weight balanced, and my hair and skin because healthy again.”

If you are thinking about a fully vegan lifestyle, there are a lot of questions to think about. What clothes can I wear? Can I keep my leather boots? Here, Snyder clears up a few FAQs.

What kind of health benefits can you expect to see from becoming a vegan?

Being a vegan is an incredible way to heal and rejuvenate your whole body. Plant foods are dense in micronutrients and only plants contain fiber to cleanse your system. Becoming vegan will increase your energy, your ability to be clear-headed, focused, creative, have glowing skin, and healthy hair. Results can depend on your prior diet and state of health, yet you can see skin changes from becoming vegan and drinking my Glowing Green Smoothies (my signature greens, lemon and high fiber fruit recipe), in as little as three days.

What is vegan clothing?

Vegan clothing is free of any animal-derived ingredients. The vegan fashion trend is growing (see our collection here), and there are a lot of great options out there today: Faux leather, nylon, polyester, organic cotton, denim, and acrylic are just a few examples. Since the demand for vegan clothing is growing, the quality continues to evolve. Pleather used to look highly plastic and synthetic, but with improving textile technology, materials can look almost as real as genuine leather.

What is faux leather?

Faux leather comes in various forms — and some are better than others. Generally, faux leather is lighter and less restrictive than real leather — and a lot more affordable! When purchasing faux leather clothing, you should always be aware of potential chemicals used–some can have petroleum-derived materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that can be harmful to health because it contains chlorine and toxic additives such as lead.

Do vegans wear wool or silk?

Every vegan has different standards for what they will and won’t wear. Some might not wear any animal products at all (like feathers), while some are okay with wool, since sheep generally aren’t hurt in shearing process. Silk is another material that is different for each vegan.

There are countless ways to dip into the world of veganism, and it starts with educating yourself. From understanding all your vegan clothing options to vegan nutrition 101 and even vegan beauty essentials (more on what makes up vegan makeup here), a vegan lifestyle offers many different ways to go cruelty-free. Have you tried incorporating veganism into your day-to-day? Share in the comments below!


[Editor’s note: The most strict vegans try to avoid silk and wool—according to some vegan-focused websites, silkworms are harmed in the making of silk and sheep can get injured in the shearing process. Look for cruelty-free silk and wool, or skip it altogether, if you want a kinder option.]



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Thank you for the post! It’s so easy to get confused and misunderstand what these terms really mean, with all the marketing ploys present.

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

4 years ago

Silk is a no-no too! The silk worm builds it’s cocoon, while it’s in its cocoon the silk is harvested and the silk worm dies. The cocoon in its early stages has the desired long threads for silk cloth.
If someone really wants to be vegan as far as clothing, stick with cotton, hemp, linen, and wool from sheep, alpaca, the cashmere goat, yak (farms that use their animals for shearing, are careful with their animals, and want to keep their herds healthy)

4 years ago

Update: I forgot mohair goat and the angora rabbit.
Just a thought, any clothing that is made with LESS than 80% cotton, wool, etc., and the rest is viscose or rayon (which is made from wood pulp) is a cheap material that doesn’t hold up!
So if you want quality clothing go for %100 naturals!

4 years ago

I would caution anybody with the idea that sheep generally are not hurt when being sheared. There is plenty of proof out there that this is not the case. As with anything else, you have to know the source. Smaller farms that are not about mass production should be ok, but larger companies are very rough with the sheep, as the workers are not paid by the hour but by how many sheep they shear in a day. So, it is totally doable to find wool that comes from friendly farmers, but that shouldn’t be the general assumption.

4 years ago

Using synthetic materials as polyester or acrylic are often harmful for the enviroment. Cheap clothes (not specialistic like for sport/safety) ale poor quality. They are not warm and the worst thing are washed out microplastics.

3 years ago

Nowadays Vegan leathers are available in huge quantities. Many people are coming out and experimenting with plants and even fruits like an apple!! Its a good transition for vegans.