With animal-free fashion thriving in recent years, it’s apparent that vegan is the new black! But what makes a fashion product vegan?
It’s hard to remember a time before the last couple of years where vegan alternatives were given any serious thought when it came to mainstream fashion. But here at The Vegan Society, we’re proud to have been helping vegans find clothing and accessories that don’t compromise their ethics with the Vegan Trademark since the 90s!
For the past 30 years, the Vegan Trademark has been helping to makeover the fashion industry one animal-free step at a time, ensuring brands give the boot to animal-based materials and testing* in any product registered by us.
But there’s so much more to vegan fashion than replacing leather. If you’ve ever wondered what exactly we inspect for, here’s an insight:
PU, or Polyurethane
PU is commonly used in fashion items like footwear or bags to replace leather as it is a cheaper alternative. However, sometimes a finishing spray containing ground-up leather is used to give the PU a more ‘authentic’ look, making it no longer suitable for vegans. So, we would ensure any PU that’s used has not been treated with an animal-based finishing spray.
To avoid metal hardware such as buckles from rusting, they undergo an anti-corrosive stage during production. This can include using an anti-corrosive agent to coat the metal which may contain oils and lubricants derived from animal fats.
Adhesives and glues
Some adhesives, like glue and tape, are prepared using collagen from mammals, insects, fish, and products found in mammal milk.
Dyes used in clothing, footwear and accessories can contain a multitude of raw materials, but our main concern is pigment. For example, crushed cochineal insects can be used to achieve reds, murex snails for purples, or the ink sac of cuttlefish for browns.
Silk and wool are often used as lining or padding inside handbags and jackets. Whilst it’s obvious these materials are animal-derived, it can be easy to forget because they are hidden inside the garment or accessory.
Most belts have a few layers of material; often PU and in between, a ‘filling’ to help the belt keep its shape and stiffness. If a vegan alternative like EVA isn’t used, the filling is usually made up of recycled material which can be hard to trace back to its origin. And so, we can’t be sure of the materials and processes involved in making these fillings before they were recycled.
Ensuring we can follow the supply chain is extremely important. Sometimes suppliers can pick up components in bulk from a marketplace. We don’t accept any components from a marketplace as we wouldn’t know if any animal derived dyes, glues or treatments have been involved before arriving there.
But the great news is that there are vegan alternatives for all the above. Our team ensures these have been used in products submitted for registration, or will help brands to reformulate using these options where the product falls short.
Shopping for products registered by us is the easiest way to identify animal-free products for you or your vegan loved ones.
Here’s a peek into the wardrobe that is our Vegan Trademark registered range to give you a hand:
For many, the perfect seasonal transitions to Autumn (and wardrobe staples) include faux leather pieces. Along with hundreds of other registered items, New Look offers vegan leather jackets like this one, and check out their PU leather-look leggings too.
Melbourne based brand Forever New also offer faux leather jackets and skirts. Just look out for the Vegan Trademark on product images. Forever New clothing is available in 25 countries including Australia, the UK and Canada.
If you’re after something for your activities and walks, keep an eye out for outdoor trousers for men and women by Wünsche Fashion in Aldi UK, Aldi Ireland and Aldi Suisse.
New to our growing number of registered footwear is Superdry’s debut vegan sneaker range, born from their sustainability goals. As well as being vegan, 33% of the upper shoes are made with recycled materials. Available in Superdry stores and online.
Gola Classics have a range of vegan trainers for men, women and children in their classic styles, from the vintage Coaster plimsoll to the original Tennis Mark Cox. Shop here.
New Look has a vast vegan footwear range including shoes, boots, sandals, heels and trainers. Look for our trademark on product images online, or check the description which states if a product is registered.
For high quality shoes, boots and trainers, check out Grenson.
Available across the US, UK and Europe, Blowfish Malibu have a collection of footwear styles inspired by Southern California. Look for shoes displaying the ‘Vegan Registered’ sticker on their website.
Australian based Holster Fashion also have a large range of shoes registered by the Vegan Society. Shop here.
George at Asda recently launched a significant collection of vegan bags in styles ranging from cross-body to baby changing bags. Available in selected Asda stores and online. Look out for our trademark on swing tags and within bag descriptions online. We’re delighted to see that like New Look, George at Asda plan to now only produce vegan bags.
Dubai based Eurthlin have a premium range of Earth inspired, signature printed vegan handbags and pouches that work together to offer maximum usage out of minimal pieces. Available for delivery worldwide, shop them here.
For eco-friendly, unisex backpacks, check out sustainable fashion brand, Mi-Pac and for a limited time, get 15% off their 'Renew' range using the code MIPNB15. Available here. Look for ‘Registered with the Vegan Society’ in product descriptions for bags we’ve ensured are suitable for vegans.
Along with bags and pouches, Off Duty Ldn offer some bold and stylish coin purses and travel cards. Shop their vegan collection here.
Keep looking out for the Vegan Trademark when shopping for vegan fashion and if your favourite brands aren’t offering vegan ranges – send them our way and show them it’s cool to be kind!
*at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.
By Vegan Society Digital Marketing Officer, Nishat Rahman.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.