Cozy Knit Sweaters: Vegan & Eco-Friendly Roundup

 

As you guys already know, keeping my fashion choices both vegan & eco-friendly is of utmost importance to me. And of course, we can’t forget about ethical production either. I quickly learned how limited my options were for warm winter sweaters that checked all of these boxes. But as always proven to be true, when you search hard enough you will always find exactly what you’re looking for! I’m sharing with you below an unreal company that is making the coziest sweaters you ever did wear: vegan, made from organic & sustainable fibers, and produced ethically. (Oh, and did I mention a generous coupon code to go along with it?!) First, let’s talk about why these 3 criterion are so important and what exactly they mean:

VEGAN MATERIALS

As an advocate for vegan & cruelty-free fashion, wool is a no-no in my book. Albeit a sustainable material, wool is not as cruelty-free as some may think. A common practice in the wool industry is a procedure call “mulesing” which is when the animal’s skin is cut around their backside to avoid moisture buildup and attracting flies. The sheep are left with a scar which does not produce wool and therefore is thought to reduce the risk of inhabiting maggots. Not only is this procedure cruel and often exposes the sheep to more risk of infection, but it is often times not even effective.

Here you can see a baby sheep who has undergone the procedure of “mulesing” – their legs are tied up and their backsides are cut. Photo via peta.org with credit to Patty Mark / ALV.org.au

 

I’m not one to include photos or videos of animal cruelty, but I thought this was important for people to see. These are baby sheep we are talking about! They are the picture perfect image of the world’s most gentle creatures. If you think that these sheep are being sheered humanely while frolicking in an open field, I’m afraid to say that is far from the truth. If you want to face the reality of the wool industry, there is lots more info + an eye opening video here. There have been very few companies that I have come across that are genuinely doing wool the best and most ethical way possible (and by very few I mean literally only 1, and even still it’s hard to verify) – so my choice is to just stay away from wool & animal-fibers all together. Also, here are some other animal-based fibers that you might find in your sweaters that you’ll want to stay away from:

  • Angora – Rabbit fur. Don’t even get me started. If you know me, you know what a deep love I have for rabbits and it pains me to my core to know that this still goes on.
  • Alpaca fiber – Similar to wool, but from an Alpaca which resembles more of a llama.
  • Cashmere – Another fiber commonly used in sweaters, which comes from a few specific types of goats.

ECO-FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE

Ok, so now that you’re making it a point to stay away from cruel animal fibers in your sweaters, you’re checking the tags and you see this: 100% Acrylic. What does it mean? Acrylic, like the stuff used for fake nails back in ’05? YES, pretty much! Acrylic is a 100% synthetic fiber and although its finished product is very soft and tends to be inexpensive, there are some serious downsides. Acrylic garments are most of the time machine washable unlike their wool-containing counterparts, which many view as an upside (less of a need for toxic dry-cleaning, right?!) However, what we can’t see happening when we throw these acrylic garments into our washing machines are the hundreds of thousands of tiny synthetic fibers that are washing into our waterways and our oceans. You may not think that this is such a big deal, but it all goes back to the animals and our health. The marine life are consuming these particles, breathing them in, and then (if you are still consuming fish) they’re ending up right back into our systems. These are non-biodegradable fibers that have no business being a part of our environment. This is a clearly unsustainable practice and by shying away from buying synthetic fibers we can help to decrease the demand for these garments. In addition to acrylic, here are some other synthetic fibers that you might find in your sweaters that you’ll want to stay away from:

  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Viscose
  • PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

ETHICALLY PRODUCED

Let’s be honest, if we’re going this far to make sure our garments aren’t harming the animals or the environment, why stop there? How our clothing is being made is never to be overlooked. I always try to support brands that are super transparent in their supply chains (not all that common to come across!) and that are supporting local artisans or giving back to the people that are working so hard to produce their clothing. As I’ve mentioned many times before, if you’re interested more in this area I highly highly suggest watching the documentary called The True Cost. It is an incredibly eye opening and well done film talking about who is paying the true cost of our cheap fast-fashion buys. They not only touch on the reality of garment production, but also the importance of sustainable materials as well. It is available on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and more.

 

NOW… FOR THE ETHICAL & ECO-FRIENDLY SWEATERS OF YOUR DREAMS

Do you guys think I’d feed you with all of this information just to leave you hanging and feeling hopeless? Think again! This past winter on my hunt for vegan & ethically produced sweaters made from sustainable and natural fibers, I came across an amazing company called Indigenous Designs. Indigenous is doing everything right: they have a great selection of sweaters made from natural, animal-free fibers like organic cotton and Tencel, and they are dedicated to incredibly fair and transparent production. Get this: every garment comes with a special code that you can scan with your smartphone that will bring you to Indigenous’s “Fair Trace Tool” where you will be able to see the following:

  • The name of the artisan that made your garment.
  • A brief video of the artisan talking about the garment.
  • The working conditions where your garment was made.
  • The region in which the garment was made and the cultural origins of the fabrics.

Now THAT is transparency! You guys, this honestly makes my heart light up when I come across companies like this. THIS is how fashion should be done. If only every company out there was even a fraction as thoughtful as Indigenous is, we’d be on the road to radical change in the fashion industry.

*Important note: Not all of the styles that Indigenous carries are vegan. They do have a lot of styles that contain wool and alpaca, but I’ve personally seen a growth just over the past few months in the number of styles that are made from organic cotton & tencel, which is awesome! I’ve included below a few of my favorite vegan styles that you can find on their website at the moment. And best of all, they were kind enough to include a coupon code to extend to my readers, so with the use of code “Ash4V” at checkout, you can save an extremely generous 30% OFF OF YOUR PURCHASE!!! 

55% Organic Cotton, 45% Lyocell/Tencel
55% Organic Cotton, 45% Lyocell/Tencel
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton
100% Organic Cotton *This is the style I am wearing in the cover photo*

 

A few final notes:

  • If you’re having hesitations about the price even after the coupon code, keep in mind the quote by Vivienne Westwood (one of my all time faves): “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last” – we have to switch our mindsets from buying inexpensive garments in large quantities to buying less often, and investing in quality garments that will last us for years to come. These are truly quality pieces, I promise you!
  • They’re actually WARM! Way warmer than I anticipated. I have a handful of the styles that I included above and all of them have kept me perfectly warm this winter.

What do you think of this brand’s values and the styles of the sweaters? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Lots of ethical love,

Ashley

 

Affiliate Notes: This piece is in no way sponsored and I was not asked by Indigenous to feature them. I reached out to them and they were kind enough to extend the coupon code for my readers. All items that I have by Indigenous were purchased by me. This post does not contain any affiliate links. Read my full promise to you here.

 

Important Links & Sources: 

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/

http://toxicfashion.org/chemical-txtbad.html

http://www.indigenous.com/artisan-made-clothes-apparel/fair-trace-tool-fair-trade-supply-chain-tracking/

http://truecostmovie.com

 

About Ashley Morganic

Hi loves! Join me in my journey to becoming the change I wish to see in the world; a change to organic, vegan, and non-toxic living.

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