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According to this article having vegan clothing should not be very complicated, as it simply means avoiding some materials:

Here’s a list of things to avoid, if you want to keep dead animals out of your closet: leather, fur, silk, feathers, bone, horn, shell, wool, cashmere, shearling, angora, shahtoosh, snakeskin, suede (microsuede is animal free, though), down, pashmina, mohair

However, this deals with the primary materials only. This article illustrates that clothing industry uses hundreds if not thousands of various substances when producing clothing:

The 2010 AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) Buyer’s Guide lists about 2,000 chemical specialties in over 100 categories offered for sale by about 66 companies, not including dyes. The types of products offered run the gamut from antimicrobial agents and binders to UV stabilizers and wetting agents.

So, knowing if all the substances used in your clothes comply with vegan philosophy seems like an impossible task.

Question: Considering above information, is there clothing for vegans?

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Yes, there is.

Cotton, flax, and synthetics are obvious examples of vegan textiles.

Some textiles or raw materials are not easy to replace without a change in look and feel, but that was not your question. Having said that, I am wearing felt shoes right now that were produced to mimic suede. There is a growing fringe industry around producing vegan clothes that mimic animal-derived fabrics and materials.

I'm​ not aware, on the other hand, of production methods in which animal-products might be used to process otherwise vegan raw materials. If you are concerned about those, have a look at the various existing vegan labels and clothing brands. A simple Google search for 'vegan clothes' yields many relevant results.

In their guide to vegan clothing, PETA don't consider production methods and additives, which leads me to believe that this is a minor issue, if any. At the same time, production methods have strong environmental and social implications. The global organic textile standard (GOTS) covers many of these, including working conditions and toxicity of additives. It does permit animal products, however. My suggestion is to use good judgement when chosing the raw materials (no wool, horn etc.), and check for GOTS certification on top of that.

  • Thanks for the quick answer. Clearly, there are quite a few vegan textiles. But besides the actual materials, the production methods involve many substances. I wonder if clothes labeled as vegan deal with the raw materials only or they also involve other used substances. – Alexei Jun 3 '17 at 10:50
  • @Alexei you're right. From what I gather, this seems not to be perceived by NGOs and the like as an issue of animal welfare but rather as having environmental and social implications. I've made an edited to point this out. However, it would be nice to have a definite answer from someone who knows the industry from within. – henning -- reinstate Monica Jun 3 '17 at 11:16

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