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"What Is That?" A Vegan Fabric Guide

by Caitlin McGrother | Posted on February 12 2016

When creating an ethical vegan wardrobe, you must scrutinize garment fabric the same as you would an ingredient label. "What are the fabrics listed? Do I recognize them? What is that?" Because of this process, you may tend to choose clothing and accessories in which you easily understand the fabric label. Organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, jersey, soy, microfiber, and spandex are well-known and recognized as derivatives of nature/man-made materials. But what about fabrics such as lyocell, vegan leather, and modal? Can they be trusted?


A Vegan Fabric Guide

The answer: Yes! The innovation of vegan fabrics has come a long way from its stiff hemp and plastic fake leather past. Rather than looked down upon, eco-friendly textiles have become super high-quality, luxe, and preferred over its animal-derived counterpart. Read below to educate yourself on the amazing vegan fabrics you may not recognize now but will quickly come to know and love.

A Vegan Fabric Guide

Lyocell: a form of rayon made with plant pulp, such as eucalyptus. With properties similar to cotton, lyocell is soft, absorbent, and resistant to wrinkling. It is also known as the name brand Tencel.

Lyocell garments on Bead & Reel include:

Nyssa Dress, EcoSkin, $140 | This dress is a multi-season basic, lightweight but with long sleeves that can be worn alone or over your favorite leggings. Also available in pink, it's a great travel piece that doesn't wrinkle easily. 

Long Sleeve Lazy T with Pockets, Groceries, $78 | An over-sized, comfy tee is a must have in every wardrobe. This one is perfect for those lazy days of hanging around the house or when you need to run errands and still want to look put together.

Puebla Poncho, ecoSkin, $118 | How perfect is this poncho? It's like a super chic, fashionable blanket you wear. It hangs beautifully on the body and pairs perfectly with a pair of black leggings. This poncho is also amazing to curl up with on a long plane ride. You'll travel in eco-style.

Vegan Leather: a broad term used to cover a wide variety of materials that mimic animal leather. Two of the most popular versions are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyurethane (PU). PVC is the third most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. It is water resistant and often used to make coats, shoes, and accessories. PU is also a plastic polymer that is lighter than animal leather, waterproof, and washable. It is used to make products including coats and upholstery.

Vegan leather accessories available on Bead & Reel include:

Alden Cut-Out Bootie, Bhava, $249 | The most comfortable heels you'll ever own, these boots are made with Italian-made vegan leather, eco-suede, cork, and free of chemicals. These booties can easily be dressed down with a pair of jeans or up with a cute little dress.

Wide Belt, Bhava, $99 | A new belt is essential when making the transition to a vegan, eco-friendly wardrobe. This belt is produced with the use of solar generators and made from high-quality vegan leather and eco-suede. It's a total win: good for the environment, good for the animals, and good for you.

Silver Flat Waist Bag, Hipsters for Sisters, $145 | Fanny Packs are making a come back in the biggest way thanks to Hipsters for Sisters. This belt bag is super chic with metal detail. It's perfect for those days you are running out the door and could care less about lugging around your overstuffed purse. It is vegan minimalism at its finest.

A Vegan Fabric Guide

Modal: a form of rayon made with cellulose fiber, often from beech trees. Modal is known for its soft texture and silky appearance.

Modal garments on Bead & Reel include:

Zoe Top, Amour Vert, $84 | You'll look effortlessly stylish wearing this one size fits all top. Made to flatter a wide variety of individuals, it boasts a scoop neck, slight bat wing, and tapered silhouette. Add a long, minimalist necklace to take this look to the next level of elegance.

High Waisted Tapered Pants, Rujuta Sheth, $100 | Have you ever seen a chicer pant in your life? This trouser is super soft and can be worn all year long, in a flattering cut that can be easily dressed up or down.

Danielle Baseball Tee, Amour Vert, $86 | This top is the most feminine baseball tee you'll ever own. With a modest, yet low neckline, it is super flirty but relaxed at the same time. It transitions from sleepwear to Sunday morning brunch perfectly.

Vegan, eco-friendly clothes shopping is not intimidating once you have a better understanding of the multitude of high-quality fabrics available. No animal-derived textile is superior to those of organic origin. Vegan fabrics are super chic, fashionable, and made to last.

Some animal-derived materials to look out for when reading labels include: angora, bone, cashmere, down, fur, lambswool, lanolin, leather, mohair, silk, suede, and wool. If you do not recognize a fabric on your garment tag, be an informed consumer and research it first. Knowledge is power.

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  • Hannah : August 19, 2016

    Thanks so much this has been such a big help! Is vegan leather as breathable as animal derived leather? And are there any more vegan fabrics that are worth looking into?

  • Rania : March 20, 2016

    I have always wondered though, how does Vegan leather made from PVC affect the environment? We all know PVC isn’t super environmentally friendly.
    Do you think it’s a good substitute for leather?

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