Velvet is used for all kinds of things, from clothes and shoes to sofas even the seats of buses. But is velvet vegan-friendly? Or is it made from hidden animal ingredients?
Read on for everything that vegans need to know about velvet,
Can vegans wear velvet?
Velvet was not historically vegan because it was made with silk. However, nowadays, you’ll find that almost all velvet is made from synthetic materials with no animal involvement. Not only is modern-day velvet cruelty-free, it’s also significantly cheaper and more durable.
Vegans can usually wear velvet, but you’ll want to check what type of fabric the velvet it is actually made of.
What is velvet made of?
Originally, velvet was made from silk which comes from silkworms. Traditional velvet is made by combining silk woven into two layers. This technique dates back to Northern Africa and was used from around 1000 AD.
Unfortunately, silk isn’t vegan-friendly, and it’s also not vegetarian-friendly as silkworms die to produce silk. According to PETA, 3000 animals die for each pound of silk.
Today, however, most of the velvet produced in the world is vegan-friendly. That’s not because the whole world has decided to save silkworms, although there are many conscientious people like yourself out there. It really comes down to money.
It’s much cheaper to make velvet using synthetics or other non-silk fabrics. Most vegan-friendly velvet is made from man-made fibres like polyester, rayon, or nylon.
This is good news for our silkworm friends and great for consumers looking for vegan velvet to flaunt down the high street.
However, there is one contentious issue that you will see floating around the internet or perhaps one of your non-vegan friends may kindly point out – many vegan velvet fabrics are not so eco-friendly.
Is velvet eco friendly?
Traditional velvet that is made from silk is considered more eco-friendly than many of the fabrics that go into synthetic velvet today. When velvet is made from primarily synthetic materials it is not eco-friendly. The plastic that goes into it and how it’s collected is harmful to plants, animals and humans.
That’s because plastic comes from petroleum by refining crude oil. The crude oil is drilled from under the ocean floor and this destroys habitats and can lead to oil spills. Then, once the oil is collected it’s turned into plastic using chemicals.
But, don’t despair, there is vegan velvet on the market that has solved both of these dilemmas; protecting animals and the environment.
For example, Winter & Company came up with a material called ‘velours recycled’ which uses upcycled PET-plastic bottles. It still produces that magical velvety soft touch and takes care of some recycling at the same time.
We hope that you are happy to hear that you can still wear velvet, as long as you choose the fabric wisely. This soft, comfy, luscious material can be enjoyed by all. What’s more, you’re getting a more affordable version while sticking to your morals at the same time so it’s a win-win.
Does fabric matter to vegans?
Vegan fabric must be produced without using animal products at any stage of the manufacturing process, including the raw materials. Typical vegan fabrics include the likes of organic cotton, hemp, linen, lycra, polyester, spandex, rayon, nylon, acrylic, Aertex, bamboo and denim.
If you’ve recently turned vegan or considering this brave but important move, it can be overwhelming at the beginning as you run into more and more products that contain animal products. Many you probably wouldn’t have assumed before!
It’s not possible for anyone to be 100% vegan so the first thing is to recognise that you’re doing your best and you should congratulate yourself on that. We’re giving you this information about velvet as a vegan option so that you can make your own decisions on what you feel comfortable wearing.
But if you’re new to veganism, it’s always wise to stick to the big issues like meat, fish, dairy and eggs before worrying about the clothes that you wear.