Vegan materials: for which fabrics, clothes and accessories?

Alternatives and ethical solutions to animal materials and fast-fashion, vegan materials are firmly established in the fashion landscape. Focus on these new fabrics that take us into the next world.

  Vegan materials: for which fabrics, clothes and accessories?

This is one of the fights of the detractors of the textile industry: the transition to ethical, responsible and… vegan fashion . That is respect for people, the planet and animals. If the latter have long been hunted for their skin, their fur, their feathers or their horns, the time has come for a change. For several years, many of the big names in fashion have banned fur and exotic leathers from their collections. But vegan fashion proposes to go further by offering alternative materials to add or wool, so many ethical and eco-responsible solutions to fast fashion and bad habits in the industry.

What is a vegan material?

Faux fur coats from the Apparis brand

A vegan garment, by definition, does not contain any animal material. More generally, consuming vegan means saying no to any product for which an animal has suffered during the production process. If certain materials such as leather and fur are obviously to be avoided when one wants to adopt a vegan lifestyle, others are more difficult to identify. Among those to avoid , we find :

  • the laine ,
  • goat hair,
  • cashmere,
  • sheepskin,
  • camel hair,
  • mohair,
  • the silk,
  • alpaca,
  • goose down,
  • the fur of any animal...

And the list is not exhaustive.

Concerning the vegan certified materials , where count:

  • the cotton ,
  • linen,
  • acrylic,
  • cotton flannel,
  • synthetic fabrics,
  • hemp,
  • by analogy...

And to help you identify a vegan brand or garment, the label PETA-approved Vegan is an additional guarantee of confidence, whether for a luxury brand or for more accessible ready-to-wear for men, women and children.

What vegan materials should be used to replace leather?

Les sacs a main vegan by Stella McCartney

Just ten years ago, shoes or plastic bags were the only alternative to leather. Today, new materials have emerged in order to replace the leather , made from fruit and vegetable waste such as:

  • the fiber of feuilles d'ananas (Pinatex),
  • the cactus feuilles (Desserto),
  • apple skin (Appleskin),
  • grape marc (Vegea),
  • the cork,
  • l'eucalyptus…

We obviously still find synthetic materials such as elastic and resistant polyurethane (PU), or even microfiber and its peach skin appearance reminiscent of nubuck.

Be careful, we hear more and more about shoes or leather goods in vegetable leather . This term is confusing since it actually refers to animal leather but which has been vegetable tanned to avoid chrome tanning. Longer and more expensive to produce, the vegetable tanning consists of using tanning agents from vegetable sources (fruits, wood bark, roots, leaves, etc.). This more natural process does not, however, make this leather a vegan material.

What are the benefits and limitations of vegan materials?

So yes, who says synthetic materials, says oil and who says oil, says pollution. Even the so-called 'vegetable' materials contain synthetic components such as polyurethane to make them durable and robust. However, it is worth noting that it takes on average 20 times more resources to produce a kilo of leather than to produce a kilo of synthetics. And this without even taking into account the harmful effects of the leather industry on the environment, on the tanners as well as animal suffering...