Is this faux real?
Unsure which materials + symbols are vegan and which aren't?
Here's your go-to legend.
Look for these icons on the bottoms of shoes—usually on stickers—or on the inside of the shoe.
Labelling that signifies your item is vegan: All Man-Made Materials or Synthetic.
Look for these on material tags + labels, usually sewn onto a side seam on the inside of a clothing item.
These tags are usually found halfway down or towards the bottom for tops (shirts, sweaters, coats), or around the hip area for pants. You'll get good at finding these tags quickly, I promise.
This handy Wiki chart lists all the fibers you'll come across in their respective categories. Just stay away from that top section of animal materials and you're good to go.
The Main Leather + Fur Uses
Shoes, belts + Bags
Includes suitcases, briefcases and purses.
Shoes and bags are often made of leather (sometimes in the form of real suede or patent leather) and are often at a higher price point than cheaper alternatives at fast-fashion retailers, although price isn't always an accurate measure.
Note, however, that cheap fast-fashion alternatives are often made of plastic (not plants) and aren't great for the planet.
We def recommend investing in pieces from ethical brands for these items, where you'll find more plant-based leathers used instead. Made of cool things like mushrooms and pineapple husk, plant-based, sustainable leathers are gaining in popularity and even being used by high-end designers like Stella McCartney and Givenchy.
Winter Coats + Parkas
Winter coats have often been made using wool, down (feathers), and furs, but thanks to tidal shifts in the waves of our collective consciousness (yass) this is quickly changing.
Instead, look for equally-warm synthetics, faux-furs and leathers—pieces labelled as made with all man-made, or plant-based, materials.
There are amazing high-quality winter coats being made with vegan materials in every price range, like the cutie puffs at Save The Duck.
Check back for our winter coat shopping guide next winter season! We'll get you all the best brand hookups.
The Sometimes Vegan,
Real leather or wool jackets = not vegan :(
Pleather jackets, faux fur jackets, jean jackets, army jackets = vegan :)
Sometimes made of animal products like wool, cashmere or mohair.
Look on the material tag for vegan materials like cotton, polyester or other synthetics.
Tip: Fleece goes both ways, but is usually vegan. Sometimes fleece is a wool product (not vegan), but it's often made of polyester (vegan). Polar fleece = vegan, super-durable, light + very very warm. Check that material label.
Like sweaters, scarves are also often made of animal products like wool, pashmina, cashmere, or silk.
Instead, look for cotton, linen, synthetics, polyester, and other vegan materials.
Fancy Shirts, Skirts + Dresses
Dressier pieces are sometimes made with silk. Look for equally-fancy but much animal-friendlier materials like rayon instead.
Non-animal materials like rayon and cupro can be very soft and silky (Aritzia is a master at this), so check the label if you're curious.
The Usually Vegan
Pants are almost always vegan, aside from the obviously non-vegan leather pant, although it's more likely you'll be finding the pleather version at most stores and in most price ranges anyway.
The only exception to look out for: jeans with leather labels. This isn't that common anymore but worth noting as something to be aware of.
Brands like Levi's use a leather-like patch on most of their styles that is actually vegan, but will still use real leather patches for some of their higher-end styles.
To distinguish between the leather and the pleather, check the material + washing label (usually sewn onto the inner seaming of one of the hips) and learn to identify leather by feels by reading our tricks to tell without a label, below.
Shirts—aside from the dress shirts I addressed above—are usually made of vegan materials like cotton or rayon.
Dresses + Skirts
Casual dresses + skirts are often made of vegan materials like cottons and polyesters. Just watch for silk in party, wedding or holiday dresses.
Backpacks, Sports Bags, Travel Bags and Totes
Often made of canvas, jean, nylon, etc, but leather logo patches, buckles, and straps are also common.
Things to avoid:
Common places to find sneaky leather:
Shoe uppers, or components of them: logos, linings, etc.
- Logos, straps and labels on bags + backpacks
Things to look for:
Common vegan materials are often labelled as:
- All man-made materials
- Other materials
Tricks to tell faux from real without a label
Eventually, you'll be able to accurately guess materials right away based on cues like texture and the price of the product. For example, real fur tends to feel silkier and look shinier than faux.
A trick for seeing if it's real fur or leather or not: find a seam or backing to the material and pull it slightly between your fingers. With faux-fur, this will reveal a small fabric of woven netting that the fur is attached to (like a tiny version of the image beside this paragraph) whereas real fur will hold firm on dried skin.
Ok, cutie, you've reached the end!
If you'd like a more in-depth understanding of what animal fibers are and entail, we found this page on PETA that gives a good overview.
Happy friendly non-lethal hunting, kitten!