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Clothing & Footwear

When you go vegan, there are several things you need to watch out for besides food. You may be busy focusing on what you’re putting into your body, but it’s also important to be mindful of what goes on your body too. This includes everything from wool gloves to leather boots to silk scarves.

Clothing 

When you think of non-vegan clothing, fur is probably what first comes to mind. However, fur isn’t the only thing we have to be mindful of. Other animals are often abused and stripped of their skin and fur, including leather from cows, wool from sheep and silk from silk worms.

How do I check if clothing is vegan-friendly? 

The best way to check if clothing is vegan-friendly is to buy from vegan brands or brands that have a vegan section. Alternatively, you can shop in regular stores and check the labels of the clothes you’re interested in. Things like Polyester, Acrylic, Nylon, Viscose, Cotton, Linen and Rayon are all vegan-friendly. You’ll be surprised at the amount of clothing that is made from man-made fibers. It’s usually expensive brands that use animals in their clothing.

What if there is no label on the item of clothing I want to buy? 

This can occasionally happen when you’re shopping in charity shops or cheap independent stores. If there is no label then there isn’t a way to check what the clothing is made of, unless the shop keeper can help you. In cases like this, it’s up to you whether or not to buy it.

If you want a full list of common vegan-friendly fabrics, check out this list.

If you’re looking for some vegan-friendly bags and purses, check out Matt & Nat.

Footwear

If the shoe is made of synthetic, man-made materials, then they are suitable for vegans. If the shoe is leather (ie. made from the skin of an animal, usually a cow or pig), it is not vegan.

What if I buy leather shoes second hand at a charity shop? 

Some vegans, usually people who are environmentally conscious and against fast fashion, buy clothing and footwear from charity shops. Occasionally, these products are made of animal leather. For instance, some vegans buy second hand leather boots and belts, particularly vegans who don’t have a lot of disposable income.

This is justifiable because by paying for the boots at a charity shop, you aren’t paying the company that made the boots. They’re secondhand, so you aren’t contributing to the profit of that company, which will then go on to make more boots. You’re just wearing out the boots until their end, while giving money to charity at the same time.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to draw your own ethical line.

Footwear from vegan companies can be quite expensive, but you have to remember that you’re paying for quality. If you were to buy animal leather, you’d also pay top euro. Shoes from vegan companies like Will’s Shoes are very high quality, they’re often waterproof and they look like animal leather.

You can also check out Vegetarian Shoes (based in the UK) and Avesu.