Hi guys! Since Autumn is right around the corner, I thought I would talk about a topic I still get a lot of questions about, which is the one about wool.
I should address this topic with the same enthusiasm as the one about leather, since winter will eventually come and we vegans will have to find an alternative to wool! Which is tricky.
The Wool Industry
The wool industry is a one that doesn’t not look as bad as the leather one, some might argue. But if you are here that means you want to find out more about it. Sheep are gentle animals that, like all animals, feel joy, peace, as well as hunger and pain. Now, what you might not know is that most sheep are genetically modified to produce wool in big proportions. This means that if left alone, sheep would produce enough wool to protect themselves against changing temperatures .
Whether its wool, mohair, pashmina, or cashmere, is it right to think we are not harming the animals? Unfortunately the answer is no. With mass industrialised animal practices, workers are actually paid by volume, not by the hour. This incites them to overlook animal welfare in the name of speed and quantity. This leads to frequent injuries, amputations during violent shearings, and more often than not, sheep will die from temperature exposure and poor nutrition before being killed for meat.
In fact there is something called ‘mulesing’ which means that part of the sheep’s skin is teared off whilst the shearing happens. No painkillers either, of course.
Hitting, stomping and kicking sheep are normal practices. And PETA also shows horrible sheep abuse in its exposés.
If this doesn’t feel good to you, there you have a reason to go wool-free. You can buy animal-free sweaters and coats made from natural fibres like hemp and cotton. To read about how to shop vegan, go read my article: How To Shop Vegan: 4 Beginner Tips.
Solution n°1: Vegan Coats or Wool-Free Coats
Here are some brands that offer vegan coats (some of them are not vegan but they stock vegan coats):
For down-free coats made from Plumetech: warmer, more breathable and lighter than the original one. They are PETA-approved.
Vaute came from ‘Haute’ Couture, and it’s actually the first clothing brand in the world that started selling vegan coats and vegan clothing. They will oftentimes used recycled and organic materials and all the garments are made locally in the US. They are PETA-approved.
A new one for me, they are Australian and provide high quality faux fur coats for the stylish working woman. Regardless of whether you are vegan or not, these coats are seriously stylish and you should totally check them out! They are PETA-approved.
Following from faux furs, they make luxury faux furs and have even been at New York Fashion Week, Their hashtag id #refauxlution and they are also PETA-approved.
They are an exciting new brand coming straight from Berlin! The eco-friendly pool for green fashionistas. They currently have a vegan coat which is so dreamy!
These girls are more on the fair, eco-friendly side of things. Their names are Anna and Jula and their idea behind the brand was to create a sustainable, affordable, fair and High Fashion Brand. LOVE them! They have many vegan coats, but this one if my fave by far.
HoodLamb crafts high quality sustainable and cruelty-
One more faux fur company! As if there weren’t enough options to give up on animal fur. They offer elegant and classic vegan coats for the stylish women and men.
Who doesn’t love Free People? Known for their Boho garments and contemporary clothing, Free People’s stance on ethical, sustainable fashion are well known.
Targeted at 26-year-old girls, who are smart, creative, confident and comfortable, Free People offers vegan coats and many other vegan garments. In fact, they even collaborated with PETA in a lookbook!
Eclectic, young, disruptive. Nasty Gal was founded by Sophia Amoruso, best selling author and also the inspiration for the Girl Boss series on Netflix. If you type in ‘vegan’ in the search bar, you will find tons of super stylish coats but also shoes!
For very low temperatures, this should be your go-to. Canadian brand Wully creates ethical, sustainable and warm coats.
Also specialising in vegan coats and jackets, James Co uses cruelty-free fabrics and vegan leather too. PETA approved.
You can also find gorgeous vegan pieces in this article I wrote on the 5 Most Stylish Vegan Online Stores.
Solution n°2: Layering
Quite an obvious one, but I didn’t think about this for a while! and I’m not just talking about putting five long-sleeved T-shirts under your sweater. There is a serious methodology on how to layer properly and I want to talk about it briefly here (though feel free to Google “how to master the art of layering” yourself.)
The thing with layering is that you can still wear your summer denim jacket under a coat. Some of my suggestions are long dresses with oversized jumpers, a turtleneck sweater with a faux-fur vest, and a faux-leather coat under a classic coat like the one I’m wearing in the picture. Vegan, and cold-proof. BOOM!
Feel free to add a belt if you feel extra fancy.
Solution n°3: Shop Vintage or Recycled Wool
This is a last-resource solution and something I will have talked about on social media. I own coats that do contain wool. Why? I have them because I got them before I went vegan. You actually have two stances on this double-edged argument: either you donate or sell them (so get rid of them), or you can keep them until they get really used up, and only invest in vegan coats when you need a new one. In my opinion, this is the most sustainable thing you can do. Buying used wool does not go back to the wool industry to support the exploitation of sheep, you are not creating any more harm. This in turn should incite you to buy a wool-free, eco-friendly alternatives that will hopefully last you at least five years!
The one I am wearing in this outfit is actually a second-hand coat that does contain some wool from a little vintage shop I found in Tokyo 4 years ago. I wasn’t even vegan then but I do like the fact it’s second hand, durable and stylish. Camel is a go-to colour for autumn, and you’ll find camel coats a lot during autumn/fall. I find that camel goes so well with chunky knits, and this time I paired mine with navy and black. Who’d be interested in seeing an article in vegan knits?
I elevated my look with some faux-leather leggings from Uniqlo (also 4 years old) and they are incredibly warm. I also have another pair from New Look as shown in this article.
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