People often ask me why I don’t wear wool. They say things like “but wool doesn’t hurt the animal!” or “aren’t sheep supposed to be sheared?”
Little do they know that it goes much deeper than just shaving a sheep.
The wool industry is a billion-dollar business that operates on the basis of using animals purely for profit. Sheep, by nature, really don’t need to be shorn of their protective wooly coat. In fact, they produce enough wool to protect their own cute behinds.
So the whole thing about “but they need to be sheared!” should totally be thrown out the window.
Having said that, it’s perfectly fine to shave a sheep, as long as after it has been shaved, it doesn’t get sent back out into the wintry climes their wool coat was supposed to protect them from in the first place. There are companies that routinely abide by only using ethically-sourced wool, like Izzy Lane, Stella McCartney and The Merino Company.
And when I say ethical, I not only mean not mulesing, but also not supporting companies that use specifically-bred sheep to overgrow their wool and cause extreme pain for the poor animals. Check out this guide to the mistreatment of sheep in the wool industry, and you’ll see what I mean.
Having said that, I’m not opposed to wearing wool from thrift shops. Some vegans might criticize me for doing so, but in my opinion, it’s clothing that would have been discarded and reuse of the clothing seems environmentally viable, and therefore not an un-vegan activity. If more people did the same, we wouldn’t have to waste yet more resources in creating new clothing!
Anyway, let’s get on my list of wonderful, cruelty-free, down-free (I don’t have to explain that right?!) vegan coats.
1) Carly coat – Stella McCartney – $1,775
If I could afford to buy this coat, I’d do it in a heartbeat. This super-versatile, long-length coat not only looks sharp, but is also probably ultra-warm… also, like I said before, crafted from ethically sourced wool. So no guilt trip there, except for your wallet.
1) Sarte Coat – Izzy Lane – $486
Another great option for an ethical wool coat is this irreverent number by Izzy Lane. This label uses wool from sheep that would have otherwise been slaughtered for not meeting certain specifications, so you’re not only going to get a chic, warm cocoon of a coat, you’re helping those adorable fuzzies as well.
2) Belden Coat – Vaute Couture $450
This specialty vegan retailer makes consistently high-quality, affordable, and most importantly, practical goods you can feel great about rocking. Everything is treated with utmost care and attention, from their proprietary vegan ripstop Primaloft to their local garment-district manufacturing. Don’t forget, they have an adorable brick and mortar store off the Bedford Park subway stop!
Being that this particular coat is VC’s bestselling style, it’s not really a surprise it wound up on my list. Made with organic and recycled fibers, this coat is not only stylish and vegan, but is also features one of my favorite things about a winter coat: a funnel neck. It’s also water and snow-repellant. Can I call this my superhero coat already?
3) Waxed Snorkel Parka – Spiewak $345
It’s true… I have a minor obsession with Spiewak products. Not only do they fit my aesthetic seamlessly, but their coats keep me toasty warm in the thick of NYC’s OCD weather.
This waxed winter parka is perfect for trudging around the city running errands, or simply on a casual day with girlfriends. All purpose everything!
4) Arya Trench – B By Burton $329
When those nilly-willy wool-like coats just won’t cut it in sleet and snow, I always turn to one of my cold-weather mainstays: Burton. Not only do they make killer-cool snowboards, but their jacket game isn’t too shabby either.
Often, sporty-category coats like Burton’s are kind of shapeless and well, un-feminine. This particular model, however, definitely does not fit the rest of the Burton oeuvre. Trench-style coats are always in vogue, and the added waist-cincher pretty much closes the deal for me. Can you guess what I want for Christmas yet?
5) Full Length Parka – Noize $400
For girls that just adore that Moncler-puffy coat look, try this ultra-puffer on for size, without compromising any vegan values. This coat uses 100% polyfill and keeps you 100% warm in inclement weather, without feathers!