Vegan clothing is a broad category of clothes, shoes, and accessories that are made without any animal products. Most vegan clothing is specially manufactured to adhere to the animal-free and cruelty-free dictates of veganism, but any article of clothing that contains no animal products generally qualifies. Vegan clothing is typically made from renewable resources and may or may not be licensed as pesticide-free.
The term “vegan” is widely applied to people and products that eschew animal products in all forms. Vegans not only do not eat meat but neither to they consume eggs, honey, or dairy products. Following the same pattern, vegan clothing contains no animal products, which means no leather, wool, or fur of any kind.
Along with being animal-free, veganism is also well known for being cruelty-free. Vegans typically believe that humans should exist without any dependence on or use of animals. It is for this reason that things like wool sweaters are considered outside the scope of vegan clothing. Sheep do not die when they are shorn, but sheering practices are not always within the scope of what vegans and other animal rights activists consider humane. Choosing a sweater made of cotton or renewable fibers saves vegans from inadvertently supporting animal cruelty.
Many vegan clothing retailers pair their animal-free mission with a pledge to be eco-friendly. The vegan lifestyle revolves in many ways around a holistic view of life and the world. Avoiding animal-derived products is a part of this, but so is choosing healthy, locally-made foods and products, avoiding pesticides and harsh chemicals, and making life choices that sustain the earth and the environment.
A normal cotton shirt, while animal-free, might not fit every vegan’s description of vegan clothing. Cotton is often grown with the use of a variety of harsh pesticides. Mass produced clothing made in factories is often also disqualified because of the risk of child labor or inequitable sweat shop labor.
Vegan clothes, vegan shoes, and accessories like vegan bags and water bottles are usually made of certified organic, fair-trade materials. Renewable fibers like bamboo and hemp are common, as are organic canvases, eco-friendly polyvinyl, and recycled rubber materials. The details of what makes vegan clothing specifically vegan varies from place to place and from person to person. In most cases, though, vegan clothing is made in a way that does not impact animals, does not impact the environment, and is not oppressive to any person or manufacturer.