Our guide to vegan-friendly outerwear

It seems like every single coat in existence seems to come with a label that proudly and enthusiastically screams “wool-blend!” and contains an annoying 8% wool. If it wasn't wool, it was alpaca, or cashmere. 

On the rare occasion that a coat was actually vegan, it was likely to be made from polyester – not exactly a friend to the environment. 

Firstly, learn what you're looking out for. Fur is a no-brainer.

Other materials to stay away from include leather, wool and cashmere, but also angora, alpaca, mohair, and vicuña – all animal-derived and sometimes present in outerwear in small percentages. 

Although thanks to pressure from animal rights campaigners, angora and mohair are disappearing from retail and are getting more difficult to find.

Vegans also stay away from down and feathers: not only do geese and ducks spend their entire lives on crowded, cramped factory farms without any chance to engage in behaviours natural to them, they are also often plucked alive.

Instead, vegan versions of on-trend puffer jackets often contain fillers that are made from recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, which are also great at keeping you warm.

Recycled materials often also play a role in vegan parkas – popular for their fashion-meets-function appeal, parka jackets resurface every season, never really going out of style. If you're the outdoorsy type but still want to look chic, this is a design for you. 

One item that is quite rightly considered a part of a timeless wardrobe is the classic trench coat. Luckily, this is a design that is most often vegan, as it's commonly made from cotton or cotton-blends.

An upgraded eco version can be made from Tencel (wood pulp cellulose) or Cupro (waste parts of the cotton plant). Often, these materials are mindfully made, use fewer resources, and are biodegradable. 

Raincoats also deserve a special mention, at least in countries like the UK. Often already vegan, raincoats have also stepped up from planet-harming plastic to recycled materials, while retaining their weather-safe, water-repellent properties.

And finally, there are the statement pieces, such as faux furs. 

Whether in classic black or featuring more of a stand-out pattern, faux fur is higher in quality than it's ever been. 

As animal fur completely disappears from the fashion industry – designers refuse to work with it, big-name furriers shut down, entire countries ban its production – brands specialising in vegan fur gain ground, experimenting with more planet-friendly practices such as linings made from – again – recycled fabrics. It's a great time to fake it. 

So until spring arrives, let's not fear the cold – vegan coats are the perfect companions for cold-weather days.

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