It’s Cool To Be Kind: The Hottest Vegan Fashion Label’s You’ll Love

It’s cool to be kind. Luckily enough, finding stylish animal-friendly vegan clothes has never been easier

Nanushka vegan leather clothes

by Charlotte Pavitt |
Updated on

Once upon a time, if you said the phrase ‘vegan clothes’ we’d immediately think of murky-coloured hemp sacks, scratchy knitwear and clompy shoes. But, in the words of Bob Dylan 'the times they are changing'. Even if you weren’t one of the record number of people (250,000) who took part in Veganuary this year, it’s likely you know someone who did. Whether it’s because of Beyonce, Lewis Hamilton, Ariana Grande, Ruby Tandoh, your health or the planet’s, or because of the cute helpless animals, veganism is a lifestyle choice on the rise. Being vegan means more than denouncing the traditional Sunday roast and hangover fry-up, it means rethinking your entire wardrobe and the brands you buy from. Luckily, the fashion world has clocked that the vegan consumer market is growing at an exponential rate, so the options for animal-friendly shopping have never been so good.

A tsunami of labels at every tier of the industry have publicly denounced the use of fur - labels like Versace, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger Michael Kors, Shrimps, Gucci, Gap Inc., H&M, Inditex (Zara’s parent brand), Burberry and Marc Jacobs. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele told the Business of Fashion, ‘[f]ashion has always been about trends and emotions and anticipating the wishes and desires of consumers’, which gives us reason to hope that the future will be lined in faux fur.'

As Yvonne Taylor, Director of Corporate Projects at PETA '"vegan" is now one of the most used words in fashion, it's clear that today's conscious consumers are extending compassion to all aspects of their lives'

With the rise of 'cool' conscious labels like H&M Conscious, Shrimps, Nanushka and this week's drop of a collaboration between Reformation x New Balance trainers - it's never been easier to look cool yet responsible.

Cheap Vegan Clothing

While Stella McCartney might be leading the way, finding vegan fashion on the high street is possible. Fact. However, it just requires being clued up on what you’re really buying. For starters, the concept of veganism is simple: avoiding using, buying or partaking in any action that exploits and ‘uses’ animals. This means wool is out, cashmere is contentious and leather is a total no-go. That said, alternative animal-free fabrics are out there, you just need to look out for epithets like ‘faux’, ‘vegan’, ‘fake’ and ‘imitation’. ‘High-quality animal-free leather is made from many different materials, including non-animal microfibers, recycled nylon, polyurethane (PU), and even plants, including mushrooms and fruit. And bio-fabricated leather grown in laboratories is coming to a shelf near you soon!’ explains PETA.

Shopping for vegan clothes requires relegating not just fur but cashmere, mohair, feathers, bone, shell, angora, exotic skins, angora, silks, down feathers, shearling and wool to the reject pile. Sidestep animal-cruelty by looking for plant-based or manmade fabrics instead, like cotton, linen, polyester, acrylic and nylon. Yvonne Taylor explains, 'Vegan fashion really is everywhere today – from British high-street stores to luxury labels and independent vegan designers (many of which produce locally and use recycled fabrics). There's an abundance of cruelty-free synthetic and natural materials to choose from – including microfibre, linen, cotton, and faux animal skins. This movement is also leading the way in developing innovative, eco-friendly materials – in the past couple of years alone, pineapple leather, seed-fibre down alternatives, and "fleece" made from recycled plastic bottles have all come to the market.'

It’s a complicated world and the concept of cruelty-free clothing and vegan fashion are mutually exclusive. While ethics are on the side of animal-friendly labels, that doesn’t mean their production methods, sustainability and ethical business practices are in check too. Get Googling, pay a visit to PETA and get clued up because forward-thinking shopping is within reach, it just takes some research. While investing in synthetic clothes may tick the vegan-friendly box, they fuzz over the green question.

For instance, cotton may count as animal-friendly but the harvesting of it does untold damage to the planet’s eco-system and context many animals live in. Producing cotton is thirsty work, it's estimated that 40% of the world’s clothing is cotton and to make it requires 18% of the global pesticide and 25% of the world’s insecticide use. To craft this material so much water is required that rivers dry up and local communities are under-provided for, plus the run-off from these pollutants leaves the local waterways that survive in a bad state of affairs.

'When you consider last year's groundbreaking Pulse of the Fashion Industry report – which found that three of the four most environmentally damaging materials are animal-derived – shopping vegan means choosing kindness over harm to both animals and the environment.' Adds Taylor, 'Leather was cited as the worst offender by far – its environmental impact was found to be twice as severe as that of polyurethane.'

For all it’s faults, our shopping habits can be managed with a little compassion and consideration. Think about what you’re buying, look for the vegan trademark and shop sensibly.

The Best Vegan Clothing Brands, Shops And Online Stores


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Free People

H&M Conscious

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Vegan Clothes You Will Love

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Stella McCartney at, Oversized double-breasted herringbone wool-blend coat, £1,545

Stella McCartney

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New Balance X Reformation, 574 Sneakers, £‌85

The latest New Balance x Reformation collaboration

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Shrimps at, Duke tiger-print faux-fur jacket, £425


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Rombaut, Vegan leather boots, £300


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Nanushka at, Elpi vegan leather shirt, £345

Nanushka Vegan Leather

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Reformation, Lawrence Dress, £‌255


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Skall Studio, moonlight dress, £173

Skall Studio

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Pringle of Scotland x H&M Conscious, Jacquard cardigan, £49.99

H&M Conscious

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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