What is Vegan Fashion? The Complete Guide that Answers All Your Questions

Vegan-fashion-blogger-Harmfreefashion-street-style-what-is-vegan-fashion-outfit-ideas-Matt-and-nat-duck-boots-gigi-hadid-style-vegan-fashion-influencer
Michelle Rothenburger models vegan brand Matt & Nat (boots) and vegan-friendly brand Stella McCartney (purse). All other items were thrifted.
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What exactly is vegan fashion and how can a closet be vegan?

How do I know if my clothing is vegan and which fabrics are suitable for vegans to wear?

These are just a few of the common questions surrounding vegan fashion that you might be wondering about.

Keep reading below to see the answers to these questions (and many more) to see how you can make your wardrobe a little (or a lot) more vegan.

Table of Contents

1. What is vegan fashion?

2. How do I know if my clothes are vegan?

3. What is vegan clothing made of and which fabrics are vegan?

4. Which fashion brands are completely vegan?

5. Where can I find vegan fashion inspiration?

6. FAQs

1. What is vegan fashion?

Vegan fashion simply refers to all clothing and accessories that are free of any materials of animal origin. 

The most common items people think of that come from animals are leather/suedewool, and fur

In addition to these, the other items a vegan closet eliminates are:

These animal products can be found in both clothing and accessories.

When it comes to footwear, the glues used are also often animal-based. This means that most synthetic shoes (while they are predominately vegan), will not be 100% vegan.

What makes clothes not vegan?

Clothes aren’t vegan if they contain any animal-based materials or elements of animal origin.

This could be a pair of jeans with a leather patch, a blazer with mother-of-pearl buttons, or a wool sweater.

None of these examples would be vegan as they all contain animal-derived materials (the leather patch in the jeans example, the mother-of-pearl (nacre) buttons in the blazer example, and the wool used to make the sweater).

2. How do I know if my clothes are vegan?

how do I know if my clothes are vegan

Determining whether your clothes are vegan is a more involved task than simply checking the label (although that’s the best place to start), so refer to my other in-depth post on how to tell if clothing is vegan for a comprehensive guide.

Below is a brief summary to help you determine whether or not your clothes are vegan.

1. Check the fabric content label for animal materials such as leather, silk, wool, mohair, angora, fur, cashmere, shearling, or down.

If any of these materials are listed, the item is NOT vegan.

2. Inspect the trimming, ornamentation, & findings of the garment (buttons, patches, zipper pulls, undercollar, etc.) for hidden or unlabeled animal materials.

3. Understand your country’s labeling requirements to know what is and what isn’t required to be listed on the fabric content label.

4. Write to the brand if you’re still unsure whether their garments are 100% vegan.

3. What is vegan clothing made of and which fabrics are vegan?

What-is-Vegan-Fashion_-Read-This-First-vegan-material-labels

These days there are so many innovative new fabrics that are 100% vegan. From apple leather and pineapple leather to Banbū leather and cactus leather, there’s no shortage of up-and-coming materials that are in many ways superior to animal-derived leathers.

Refer to the table below for a comprehensive list of vegan fabrics and materials that are currently available.

Vegan Fabrics

Acrylic
Apple leather (Appleskin)
Bamboo
Banbū leather
Cactus Leather
Canvas
Cork
Cotton
Cupro
Econyl
Faux fur
Faux leather
Faux suede
Grape leather
Hemp
Jacroki® paper
KOBA®
Leaf leather
Linen
Lyocell
Mango leather
Modal
Mushroom leather
Nylon
Organic cotton
Pineapple leather (Piñatex)
Polyester
Rayon
Technik leather 
Tencel
Vegan fur
Vegan leather
Vegan silk
Vegan suede
Vegan wool
Viscose

Is wool vegan?

non-vegan label of a garment containing 100 percent schurwolle pure new wool

Wool is not considered vegan as it is a fabric woven from sheep’s wool. The most common vegan alternative to wool is polyester (sometimes termed vegan wool).

In late 2022, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) created a Vegan Wool Challenge. The 1 million dollar prize will be awarded to the “first entrant who creates such a [vegan wool] material and has it adopted and sold by a major clothing brand.”

Is cashmere vegan?

Similar to wool, cashmere is not considered vegan as it is a fabric woven from goat’s wool.

Nowadays you can find vegan cashmere alternatives made from fabrics such as viscose. There’s also a new innovative Vegetable Cashmere that’s made from soybeans.

Is cotton vegan?

Cotton is one of the many fabrics that are vegan.

Cotton is a water and chemical-intensive crop, so a more sustainable option is organic cotton.

Many brands are transitioning to exclusively organic cotton, so it’s much easier to find organic cotton clothing than it was even a couple of years ago.

Is polyester vegan?

Polyester is a synthetic fabric that’s typically derived from petroleum, which means it is suitable for vegans to wear.

It’s commonly used as a vegan alternative to wool.

4. Which fashion brands are completely vegan?

Vegan-fashion-blogger-Harmfreefashion-street-style-what-is-vegan-fashion-outfit-ideas-themoire-vegan-bios-purse-vegan-brands-aikyou-vegan-bras-vegan-fashion-influencer
Michelle Rothenburger models vegan brands Aikyou (bra) and Themoire (purse). All other items were thrifted.

Vegan Accessories Brands (purses, wallets, belts, etc.)

Afroblonde
Angela Roi
Ashoka
Bleed Clothing
Canussa
Denise Roobol
Donnant Donnant
Doshi
Finch & Walker
Hemincuff
Jill Milan
La Enviro
Labante London
Luxtra
Matt & Nat
Melie Bianco
Minuit Sur Terre
Miomojo
Noah Italian Vegan Shoes
Oliver Co.
Peta and Jain
Sans Beast
Svala
Thamon
THEMOIRè 
Von Holzhausen
Watson & Wolfe
Will’s Vegan Store
Vegan-fashion-blogger-Harmfreefashion-street-style-what-is-vegan-fashion-models-vegan-fashion-brand-Melissa-shoes-platform-fisherman-sandals-vegan-influencer
Michelle Rothenburger models vegan brand Melissa Shoes (fisherman sandals).

Vegan Footwear Brands

A Perfect Jane
Aera
Afroblonde
Allkind Vegan
B_Boheme
BeFlamboyant
Bego
Bhava
Bohema
Cult of Coquette
Donnant Donnant
Femme LA
Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather
GURU mtp
Humans Are Vain
Kat Mendenhall
Lemon Jelly
Lovjoi
Marzeri Milano
Matt & Nat
Melissa Shoes
Mink Shoes
Minuit Sur Terre
Mireia Playà
Momoc
NAE
Noah Italian Vegan Shoes
Noize
Novacas
O2 Monde
Pawj California
Pīferi
Rombaut
Solari Milano
Sylth Virago
Sylven New York
Veerah
Vegetarian Shoes
Venus is Vegan
Vincente Verde
Virón
Von Holzhausen
Will’s Vegan Store
Xocoi
Zette Shoes
Harmfreefashion-street-style-what-is-vegan-fashion-models-vegan-fashion-brand-Save-the-duck-long-puffer-gilet-lovjoi-boots-peta-and-jain-bag
Michelle Rothenburger models vegan brands Save the Duck (long puffer vest), Peta and Jain (purse), and Lovjoi (boots). All other items were thrifted.

Vegan Apparel Brands

Aikyou
Apparis
Bleed Clothing
Boody Wear
ColieCo
Culthread
Daniela Paradeis
Dauntless
House of Sunny
Lé Buns
Lovjoi
Magnethik
Matt & Nat
Mud Jeans
Noize
The Nude Label
Pact
Ragwear
Recolution
Save the Duck
Sentient
ThokkThokk
Unreal Fur
Vatter
Will’s Vegan Store
Woron
You Underwear

5. Where can I find vegan fashion inspiration?

vegan-fashion-instagram-influencers

Social media is teeming with vegan food bloggers but when it comes to vegan fashion, the pool of accounts talking predominately about vegan fashion is still rather small.

For this reason, I’d like to shine the light on those influencers making it a point to focus on and highlight vegan fashion. Give these Instagram accounts a follow to fill your feed with vegan fashion inspiration.

And for a more detailed breakdown of each account, give my other post a read: Must-Follow Vegan Fashion Influencers.

9 Instagram accounts to follow for vegan fashion inspiration

@grandermarnier | Sarah

@christinapippin | Christina

@clarakoi_ | Clara

@saschacamilli | Sascha

@dresswellthinkwell | Anita

@style.withasmile | Noa

@justeasynice | Klara

@hakamme | Emma

@tedisarah | Tedi

Also, feel free to poke around on the other articles on my blog for styling inspiration from clean girl aesthetic to dark academia and everything in between.

6. FAQs

Can vegans wear wool?

Wool contains animal by-products (wool comes from sheep’s wool), so it is NOT considered vegan.

Can vegans wear silk?

The material used to produce silk comes from an animal (the silkworm), so it is NOT considered vegan.

Can vegans wear leather?

Leather contains animal by-products (leather comes from the skin of cows, goats, sheep, and other animals), so it is NOT considered vegan. There are so many faux leathers that are made from innovative materials such as apple leather or pineapple leather, so there are plenty of cruelty-free options available.

Can vegans wear cotton?

Cotton doesn’t contain any animal byproducts, so it is considered vegan.

Can vegans wear pearls?

Pearls are produced by an animal, so they are NOT considered vegan. Vegans should look for faux pearls.

Can vegans wear cashmere?

Cashmere contains animal by-products (cashmere comes from goat’s wool), so it is NOT considered vegan. These days, vegan cashmere alternatives exist such as Vegetable Cashmere and an alternative made from viscose.

Can vegans wear polyester?

Polyester doesn’t contain any animal byproducts, so it is considered vegan. It’s often used as a vegan alternative to wool.

Can vegans wear faux leather?

Faux leather doesn’t contain any animal byproducts, so it is considered vegan. There are so many faux leathers that are made from innovative materials such as apple leather or pineapple leather, so the options are expanding and becoming more sustainable all the time.

Can vegans wear UGGs?

Typical UGGs are made from sheepskin and suede, so they are NOT considered vegan. However, there are a number of 100% vegan brands that make vegan UGG alternatives. Check out Zette Shoes, Vegetarian Shoes, Will’s Vegan Store, Pawj California, and Matt & Nat for some cruelty-free UGG-style boots, and check out my guide to Vegan Uggs to see styles from each of these brands.

As always, happy styling!

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Michelle Rothenburger

Michelle Rothenburger is a vegan fashion blogger whose work has been featured in such publications as Marie Claire, InStyle, Woman & Home, and Vilda. Find out more by reading Michelle’s full story (from bullied to fashion influencer) and feel free to send her a personal message.


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Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a kind comment! 💛



2 thoughts on “What is Vegan Fashion? The Complete Guide that Answers All Your Questions”

  • Wow! It’s quite interesting and new, I really didn’t know about vegan fashion. Thanks for sharing an informative post.

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