Seven Things Vegans Should Look Out For When Shopping For Vegan Clothing
Animal materials could be hiding in the details of your clothing without you even knowing it. If you’re trying to stay away from wearing leather, fur, wool, down, and silk, then you need to pay attention to what’s not listed on the label. These details usually won’t be listed in the item descriptions online or on the tags.
If I’ve learned anything from running Unicorn Goods, the world’s largest ethical vegan catalog, it’s that you have to be careful about what you buy. Here are seven things to look out for when shopping for vegan clothing.
Many buttons are made from shell, and some are made from bone. This is especially prevalent in nicer men’s and women’s dress shirts and oxford shirts. When shopping for pieces of vegan clothing that have buttons, double-check that the buttons are made from non-animal materials like wood, resin, or plastic. Corozo is becoming increasingly used for buttons and is made from a nut, making it vegan.
Most jeans and some casual jackets, bags, and backpacks will have leather patches as the brand label. Synthetic leather is becoming increasingly common, especially for jeans, since it’s less expensive and washes more reliably. For example, all Levi’s jeans have synthetic brand patches, making them vegan-friendly.
While zippers themselves are not generally made from animal products, zipper pulls usually are. A zipper pull is an accent detail that’s normally added on to the end of the zipper handle to make the zipper look more finished and easier to use. It’s still very common for zippers to have small pieces of leather straps or leather tassels on them.
Most jackets, blazers and bags have inner linings, and silk is still a common choice for this finishing layer. This can still be the case if the item is labeled or marketed as vegan by the company that makes it. For example, I’ve seen numerous vegan leather jackets that are actually lined in silk.
Shoes pose a special challenge for vegans, especially if you want to wear nicer-looking or more formal shoes like women’s heels or men’s oxfords. Many shoes that are marketed as vegan actually have leather insoles or are lined in leather. For example, most TOMS shoes have leather insoles, though TOMS has recently started offering more vegan shoes options that have synthetic insoles.
Sunglass and eyeglass cases are often made from leather, especially for nicer frames. Since the case is not attached to the actual product being sold, but rather included as a complimentary item, most descriptions of sunglasses and eyeglasses don’t specify the materials that the case is made from. For example, all Warby Parker and TOMS sunglasses and glasses come with leather cases.
Toggles are traditionally made from horn. Most toggles, like the ones you find on winter coats, are now made from plastic, but you should make sure before you buy.
What You Can Do To Make Sure You’re Buying Vegan
To make sure that the item you’re buying is 100% vegan, you should shop from stores and websites that have vegan commitments, like Unicorn Goods. Unicorn Goods list over 2,000 vegan items from over 250 brands. If you ever can’t find what you’re looking for, you can also take advantage of the free personal shopper service, which truly makes vegan shopping pain-free.
Photo source: stevelosh.com