It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless, of course, you’re an animal or an animal-loving human. Just take a look around you; the very moment the temps begin to drop, you’ll find fur coats, wool sweaters, leather boots, and down parkas abound.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Nowadays, we simply have far too many identical-or-better-looking alternatives available– all of which are just as effective at keeping you warm– to keep on shopping the same old tired, irreverent brands and materials.
Pre-vegan me used to traipse around the city in my vintage, floor length fur coats passed down from my grandmother— I felt I was the epitome of chic. This behavior is now taboo, as evidenced by high fashion houses Armani and Gucci pledging their fur-free statuses in the past year. You can still get the look, though, if you’re into that sort of thing! If you have copious money to spend, look to eco-fashion hero Stella McCartney, whose “Fur Free Fur” coats have truly set the bar. If you’re a mere, average, working mortal like moi, don’t stress! You can absolutely get in on this action with the bourgeoning availability of “cant even tell its faux” pieces by brands like London’s Unreal Fur (prices range from around $200-$350).
Wool: the sneakiest of fabrics. Assumed by many to be the product of a sheep’s simple, peaceful haircut. Five seconds spent googling images of the term “mulesing,” though, and you will know the truth. So what do we wear instead? Ethical fashion house, VAUTE, has sweaters for men and women alike that are not only extremely high quality and vegan, but also eco-friendly! If you’re on a budget, not to worry… Simply check your material tags while shopping (located on the inside of the sweater, usually on a side seam), and eschew anything labeled as containing wool, cashmere, or angora in favor of materials such as cotton, hemp, tencel, and acrylic.
Winter boots— whether for mountain trekking or city slicking— are absolutely a winter staple. Luckily for us, the vegan leather options are endless these days! My picks for snow boots are Sorel (I own their Winter Carnival Boot), Cougar Shoes, Jambu, and Columbia… All of which have tons of great vegan options to choose from. If you’re looking for something a little bit more along the lines of a sleek over-the-knee boot, riding boot, or ankle bootie — I would encourage you to check out cruelty-free brands like Bhava, Cri De Coeur, and Matt & Nat. After all, we want to put our money into ethical and eco brands like this so that they can keep on upping the game in the fashion revolution, yeah?
Finally, let’s wind this article DOWN. See what I did there? Joking aside, down is just the worst. Geese are live plucked, and you can only imagine how awful an experience like that would be. Long thought to be the most protective measure out there for frigid temperatures, would you believe that it was actually the military in the 1980’s who sought out alternatives once discovering that down was actually a total liability when wet? I personally decided to splurge on my down-alternative parka by Hoodlamb because I despise being cold and I visit Colorado every year around the holidays. Let me tell you that this coat is perfection— way warmer and more luxe than a Canada Goose (yuck) and also eco-friendly! If you need to save a few bucks, check out Noize and Save The Duck for more earth-friendly options.
Voila! Hopefully you feel prepared to tackle the winter season with style and with your ethics intact. More info is always available on my blog, fashionveggie.com, and on my Instagram where I showcase my favorite ethical brands. I am always here to help you! I can’t wait to talk more about vegan fashion with you all in upcoming issues— because it’s a new day in fashion, where cruelty in any form is not necessary, nor is it tolerated.