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By Lora O’Brien
Winter can be a testing time for our ethics. The weather outside is down to body numbing temperatures, and when we look for clothes to keep us warm, it seems like the shops are hell-bent on selling us planet killing acrylic, polyester and rayon, or worse yet, fur, down, leather and other not-so-cruelty-free fashions.
So what’s a sensitive fashionista to do when she wants to stay warm AND stylish?
Whist a lot of vegans are anti-wool with good reason (citing the fact that the sheep are treated badly on farms and brutally sheared, often ripping their skin to get the wool), we here at Eluxe are actually pro-wool; depending.
Our editor visited some wool producers herself in Peru and were convinced the sheep there couldn’t ask for a better life – they were outdoors all the time, free to eat grass and hang out with each other, and when it came time to shear them, they willingly lined up to get rid of the masses of wool that was actually keeping them too hot. The shearers didn’t cut them down to the last millimetre of wool, either – instead, they left the sheep with a rather ravishing ‘haircut’ that allowed them to stay warm way up there in the mountains of South America. She witnessed the same humane treatment of alpacas in the region.
Animal lover Stella McCartney also believes that wool can be a vegan friendly material, and raises sheep on her own farm, which is then used for some of her super stylish, guaranteed-ethical creations.
Here’s our pick of the best cruelty-free winter fashion to survive the cold with a clear conscience!
It fits just about anyone, covers up just about any winter outfit without bunching, and that ombre effect? Killer! No wonder Eileen Fisher’s Kimono Coat is a bestseller. Made from a thick, boiled wool sourced from humanely raised, sustainably and gently sheared sheep from the Peruvian Andes, you can rest assured that no animals were harmed to make this coat.
This coat’s ethics couldn’t be better: it’s made of 100% recycled, closed loop, zero-waste, windproof, snow resistant ripstop insulated with 200 gram Primaloft ECO (an insulation Arctic explorers use). Oh, and in addition to being super stylish, it’s also warm as hell (well, maybe not literally).
This organic cotton faux fur bomber jacket by House of Fluff is simply, well, the bomb! So slouchy, so soft…it’s pretty much like wearing teddy bear fur – but promise: no teddies were hurt in the making of this coat.
Because sometimes you just want to slouch around in an oversized sweater with jeans! And this one is made from 100% pure wool from Stella’s own farm, ensuring the sheep are gently sheared and generally treated like the fashion royalty that they are!
Ohhh how we LOVE Maggie Marilyn’s designs! The New Zealand born talent features retro sportswear highlights in this super cool jumper, which is made from thick organic cotton in a hot popping red. It’s perfect for when you have somewhere special to go, but you want to look good without having to freeze your butt off.
Thick organic cotton can be just as warming as wool, but it’s not necessarily the cozy factor we love with this jumper – it’s more about the comfort factor! This loose knit covers up your holiday ‘food baby’ up pretty well, and also pairs beautifully with tights or jeans for a casual look.
Sometimes it’s so cold, jeans won’t do! These fake leather leggings by Free People keep you even warmer than denim, and go perfectly with each and every other item on this page.
Tall boots have been very ‘in’ for a few winters now, and if you love your boots high, these are for you. Made in ethical factories in Portugal, they are created from 100% vegan-and-eco-friendly materials that will keep you warm from your sweet little knees to your adorable little toes.
Formerly a punk staple in the 70s then a grunge-style must-have in the 90s, Dr Martens were amongst the first fashion labels to present vegan boots to the public, and their street stomping style has survived the decades to become stylish once again. Wear them with just about anything.
Once upon a time, shawls and scarves were associated with old ladies. Well, no longer! A baby soft baby alpaca wrap is one item that should be in all of our wardrobes from cradle to grave. It’s super versatile, and can be worn as a scarf or wrap, or even used as a blanket. And yes, vegans CAN wear alpaca – it’s actually cruel NOT to to shear these gentle little beasties.
Sometimes you just want to wear a pair of super fluffy boots. Sure, they may make you look a bit like Chewbacca, but they’re warm, they’re cosy and they feel soooo luxurious. These slipper boots from Vegan Haven have a sherpa fleece lining for warmth and comfort with a sturdy faux suede sole. Bonus: with each purchase, a donation is made to their wildlife rescue company. Yay!
Sometimes, you just want to climb under a thick, snuggly blanket! These gorgeous cotton throws by Rizzy Home will not only do the trick, but they’re also going to add a beautiful, colourful accent to your bedroom or living area. Ideal for evenings on the sofa, full of Netflix and hot chocolate.
Main image: House of Fluff