Vegan clothing—it's a hot topic, but what does it even mean? Basically: Vegan clothing enthusiasts don't wear any kind of clothing items that contain leather or animal skin, wool or animal hair, or fur, down, silk, or any other material that comes from or is tested on animals. A more comprehensive what-to-look-for list in on PETA's website, but cotton, polyester, nylon, linen, and hemp are just a few examples of vegan materials.
I happen to be moving my wardrobe to vegan for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that I've been allergic to animal hair and fur since I was a kid. Luckily, these days there's much more variety. The vegan clothes and shoes I buy look just like the real thing, and I don't have to compromise on durability or warmth. If this is something you care about, here are some brands that offer stylish vegan clothing.
An important note: Not every item on every one of the below websites is vegan. It also doesn't mean that other brands don't have vegan options (Everlane has great all-cotton tees, for example). So, if you care about the topic, read the product information before you buy. If it's not available on the webpage, most stores have a messaging/email system that will help get you the deets.
I love ASOS. (I might have been addicted to its inexpensive-and-trendy aesthetic when I was in my 20s. Still might be.) I know that I can count on it for the most variety on clothes, especially when I want something a bit more fashion-forward but don't want to break the bank.
ASOS is particularly good at things like vegan coats—wool is, by and large, the go-to material for most brands' heavier, cold weather items like outerwear and sweaters. It makes sense, but technology is starting to catch up. I actually have this purple jacket, and it's just as warm and heavy as wool without being uncomfortable or itchy.
I can't help it: I dig the chunky boots of my youth. Plus, the '90s are back in a big way, and Doc Martens have been riding the wave of nostalgia. So imagine my surprise to learn that the shoes I love actually have a whole section of their website dedicated to vegan shoes.
The line contains all the classic looks, plus a couple new updates. The synthetic material is called Cambridge Brush and apparently looks and feels exactly like the real thing. It's a modern spin on an old classic I can get behind.
Okay, now, I know what you're thinking—Stella's not cheap. And you're right! These pieces are investments. But Stella has been a proponent of eco-friendly fashion long before a lot of other designers came on board. Plus, she's a fan of sustainability, too, so she's embracing the fashion of the future in all its forms.
Her website makes it clear on their items what exactly they're made of. The manmade materials are often listed as sustainable—they don't use fur, utilize vegetarian leather, and work with manmade silk. And the quality is still high-end, so you're not simply paying for a label.
One of the more challenging aspects of embracing a vegan wardrobe is finding nice purses. I feel that pain: I love a good handbag, and up until recently, it was pretty easy to spot a fake, cheaply made (a.k.a. non-leather) one. But the aptly named Unicorn Goods has unique pieces that are also stylish.
They've got bucket bags and fanny packs for the fashion-forward—Stella McCartney is one of their vendors, in fact—and totes and weekender bags for those who are more into classic styles. These bags mirror the real thing, from soft, supple faux suede to smooth or pebbled faux leather.
Ever want to swan around town/your living room in the kind of plush fur coat that Carrie wears in the final scene of the TV show Sex and the City? Yeah, me too. I was never able to, but now fake fur has gotten a LOT more realistic in the past couple decades. Unreal Fur is taking full advantage of that with the most plush fake fur coats around.
There are all kinds of textures, too: From long and thick (like beaver), to short and satiny (like mink), to matted and fuzzy (like shearling). If you want to take advantage of the fake fur wave, start with this brand.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.