I’m not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world right now, but here in my little corner, it’s cool, grey, and rainy: autumn in all of its glory! Don’t get me wrong, I love this weather, but it definitely urges us to bundle up in snuggly warmth to fend off the chilly damp.
While walking over to my favourite cafe in search of a soy latte, I checked out the people around me and noticed that everyone I saw was decked out in some sort of knitwear. Hats, scarves, gloves, and legwarmers all seem to have been pulled out of storage, and are warming the city’s denizens in every shade imaginable. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued regarding what these items were made from, and how we can ensure that the snuggy bits we wrap ourselves in are vegan.
Not wearing something obviously labeled “WOOL” is a good start (I’ll go into the reasons why it’s wrong to wear wool in a soon-forthcoming post), but there are many different types of fibres sourced from animals that many might not be familiar with. Alpaca, angora, cashmere, mohair, merino, silk, and qiviut are all fibres that are either harvested from or, in the case of silk, created by animals from their own bodies. There’s really no need to use any of these when there are synthetics and plant-based yarns available that are just as warm and durable as animal-sourced ones (if not moreso!), and happily, cruelty-free. Try to watch out for any mention of “chitin” in your yarn as well – it’s a pigment sourced from the shells of mollusks and other sea creatures, and is used to give red and orange items extra vibrancy and lustre.
Aim for products made of acrylic, nylon, polyester, bamboo, soy, coconut, cotton, rayon and linen when you’re shopping, or else go right to a source of vegan clothing so you’re sure to be shopping ethically, as well as supporting dedicated vegan artisans and manufacturers.
I absolutely fell in love with this scarf (pictured left) when I saw it. Posted on the Ecolissa web store, a shop that is totally eco-friendly and vegan, it is one of many products on there that is not only ethical, but stylishly gorgeous as well. Compassion Couture is another online vegan store that’s full of stylish vegan accessories, like the handmade vegan cap by Lara Miller featured at the top of this post.
Etsy is also a fantastic resource, where creative people from around the world sell their wares. Treewool, as sourced by vegan shopping site The Streets I Know is one company you definitely want to check out. They refer to themselves as a “slow fashion” company and all of their knitwear is made by hand using consciously sourced vegan yarns. Their pieces are simple yet unique and designed to be layered for all types of climates and occasions. I’m actually thinking of picking up one of their turban-style earwarmers for one of my best friends for Xmas. It seems like turban-style hats and earwarmers are going to be a big trend this season!
Of course, you crafty folks can always consider knitting or crocheting your own pieces, be they for yourself or for others. The ridiculously cute pink hat I wore today was made from an acrylic yarn that I picked up at a local knitting shop, and there are countless online stores that carry vegan knit supplies as well.
Knitpicks has some great, natural fibre yarns at really reasonable prices, like their Shine Worsted one, made of a mix of cotton and beech-wood fibre. Seattle-based Earth-Friendly Yarns has an entire vegan line to choose from, and The Fake Sheep blog has several other links and suggestions for vegan knitting.
Happy autumn from my creepy friend and I!