Going vegan is about more than just what you eat. Going cruelty-free is also a lifestyle choice that encompasses everything from the food on our plates,the clothes on our back, and even our tattoos. If you wouldn’t dream of eating a cow, why would you wear its skin as shoes?
Thankfully for all of us who love fashion and animals, vegan clothing is more than organic cotton tees and billowy blouses made of hemp. Today you can find ethical and stylish sartorial choices from a wide variety of brands. In fact, many of your go-to boutiques probably sell at least a few cruelty-free items.
Just like at the grocery store, it’s not always obvious whether a piece of clothing is vegan. So the next time you’re browsing through the racks, take a look at the labels.
We put together a list of some of the most commonly used textiles made from animal products — and what to grab instead. For a more complete guide, The Compassionate Closet has an in-depth list of every fabric you could possibly imagine, and whether it’s vegan.
|Instead Of This...||...Try This Instead|
|Leather||Vegan leather, faux-suede, canvas|
|Suede||Faux suede, vegan leather, synthetic materials|
|Silk||Linen, cotton, jersey|
|Wool||Denim, cotton, twill|
|Cashmere||Acrylic, cotton, faux leather|
|Down||Gore-Tex, polyester fill, synthetic down|
|Angora||Cotton, linen, jersey|
|Mohair||Linen, cotton, jersey|
|Fur||Faux fur, other synthetic materials|
|Snakeskin, alligator skin, and other animal skins||Faux versions, vegan leather, faux suede|
5 Stylish And Sustainable Vegan Clothing Brands
Don’t want to spend time scouring labels to see whether your clothing is vegan? No problem! These five vegan clothing brands prove that the old “beauty is pain” cliche is as outdated as low-rise jeans and trucker hats.
One quick note: Many fast-fashion brands also use synthetic fabrics that are vegan. While you’re free to make your own style decisions, we prefer brands that take a more eco-friendly approach to creating clothing.
Los Angeles-based Groceries Apparel offers 100% non-toxic garments that are manufactured in California. All of their men and women’s clothing is colored by hand with vegetable dye, making this vegan clothing brand the only production-scale vegetable dye house in LA.
- What you’ll find: Fashionable basics made from a variety of eco-friendly materials
- Price range: T-shirts for men and women cost upward of $38
- Did you know? You can filter clothes on this website by “ingredients,” including organic cotton, recycled plastics, and eucalyptus.
Elizabeth Olsen created Olsenhaus back in 2008 to marry her passion for fashion and design with her love of animals and sustainability. The New York City-based brand sells shoes that are not only vegan, but fair-trade, eco-friendly, and low-carbon. Their website also includes a variety of resources for going vegan, including a list of magazines.
- What you’ll find: Ethical shoes made from a variety of synthetic and renewable plant materials for men and women
- Price Range: Men’s shoes start at $80, women’s start at $125
- Did You Know? The fashion brand has a faux suede that’s made out of recycled industrial waste from a Japanese television factory
Matt and Nat
Matt and Nat, out of Montreal, has created bags of all colors and styles for more than 20 years. The company is always looking for innovative materials, and recently added recycled bicycle tires to its lineup. Though it sounds like it was founded by two guys named Matthew and Nathan, Matt and Nat is actually short for mat(t)erials + Nature.
- What you’ll find: Any style of bag you can dream of, including purses, backpacks, and even diaper bags for babies
- Price Range: Wallets start at $70, backpacks start at $125
- Did You Know? The linings of all their bags have been made from 100% recycled plastic since 2007
Vegan clothing brand Della has a home base in Los Angeles and Ghana. The idea for the brand began in 2009, when a volunteer program took Tina Tangalakis to Hohoe, Ghana. She fell in love with the people and culture, so she teamed up with a local entrepreneur to start the fashion line.
- What you’ll find: Clothing and bags in a range of colors and prints, handcrafted with authentic textiles from Ghana’s Volta Region
- Price Range: Dresses start at $98
- Did You Know? In addition to paying a fair income, Della provides skills training and education for the men and women of Ghana
California boutique Harper+Lange offers a curated collection of “modern bohemian clothing for wanderlust souls.” The cruelty-free shop sells an assortment of on-trend clothing and unique jewelry that’s perfect for Coachella or weekend brunch.
- What you’ll find: Bohemian-style dresses, festival gear, and on-trend jewelry
- Price Range: Dresses start around $69
- Did You Know? You can score free shipping with this deal from PETA
We know there are way more than five amazing vegan clothing brands online, so we want to hear from you! Share your favorite places to score cruelty-free clothes in the comments, and check out everything you need to know about sustainable fashion.