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Luckily enough, finding stylish animal-friendly vegan clothes has never been easier

Update:12 Apr 2018

Once upon a time, if you said the phrase 'vegan clothes […]

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 (168,500) 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.

Just yesterday, San Francisco announced the city is banning the sale of fur. This comes after 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'

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.'