The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Sustainable Sweaters 2021

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The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Sustainable Sweaters 2021


This post may contain links to shops that I regularly support and am affiliated with. Read my About Page or my Disclaimer for more information.

The Annual Round Up of Vegan Sweaters is Here!

As I began my search this year for ethical brands that produce vegan sweater options, I was pleasantly surprised. You’ll notice that I’ve added quite a few new brands from the last vegan sweater guide that I published back in 2019. And this year, I’m focusing on ethical manufacturing. In addition to being free from wool and cashmere, these sweaters and cozy pieces are produced in locations that treat garment workers fairly (as they all should be!)

A few things before we jump in: The European brands are nailing it when it comes to gorgeous vegan sweaters. This may by due to European countries already having the manufacturing infrastructure to produce knitwear, which requires different machines and techniques than other fabrics. Knitwear can also be made specifically for a pattern piece, meaning there’s no excess fabric that gets wasted. So that’s another plus when you’re investing in vegan sweaters for your forever wardrobe! (Check each brand’s website to see if they follow this process for knitwear. Nu-In and Mila Vert specifically call this out on their websites.)

If you’re a fan of cashmere, I’d recommend that you check out California-based Bleusalt. They use a proprietary fabric that feels like a vegan alternative to cashmere. Yes, I’ve raved about Bleusalt quite a bit lately, but I am genuinely loving how luxurious and forgiving their pieces are. Especially now that I’m pregnant. (I also have a $20 coupon for Blesalt that you can apply to your order.)

Lastly, towards the end of this list, you’ll also find some suggestions for brands that don’t necessarily have the most ethical manufacturing in place but incorporate other sustainably-minded practices. These brands are also a little more budget-friendly since they are using factories in China to produce most of their garments. I thought I should include them so that various price points could be considered.

Vegan Sweaters Made in Europe

Nu-In

Working with a variety of sustainable materials, Nu-In is a great destination for vegan sweaters. You’ll find sweaters made from organic cotton, recycled cotton and polyester, Lenzing Ecovero, Tencel, Seaqual and more. Nu-In partners exclusively with ethical factories in Turkey and Portugal that use less wasteful garment manufacturing techniques–some are even powered with polar panels.

Style-wise, there’s something for everyone at Nu-In. You can find chic, neutral pieces as well as more on-trend designs. I particularly love their vegan sweater dresses! A good knit dress is a staple in my autumn and winter wardrobe.

Note: Nu In has limited shipping options, and as of the date of publishing this article it appears that they are not currently shipping to North America.

Mila Vert

Mila Vert is designed and manufactured in Slovenia. They partner with two family-owned sewing companies and a local knitting studio to produce their garments. This effortlessly chic label makes timeless wardrobe staples that remind me a lot of REISS or Burberry. They are classy, easy to wear, and most importantly: ethically crafted, vegan, and sustainably produced.

Oh, and Mila Vert also provides a free custom fit option! Which is great if you want that perfectly tailored fit. You’ll just need to provide your measurements and height when you place your order. I have my eye on their knitted sweater dress and matching long-line cardigan.


Vegan Sweaters Made in Canada

Encircled:

Designed and made ethically in Toronto. Encircled makes my favourite wrap cardigan. And they also have a few other cold-weather layering pieces that I practically live in, like the Comfy Blouse.

Province of Canada

Based on the “buy better, make it last” theory, Province of Canada declares itself “anti fast fashion.” They manufacture 100% of their clothes and accessories in Canada. And if you happen to live in Toronto, you can visit their brick and mortar store on the East End. Their 2020 sweaters feature a thick weave and cozy, unisex fit.

And if you’re not in the market for a new sweater, Province of Canada has a wide range of very high-quality basics. Touques, leggings, bike shorts, waffle weaves, rugby shirts, sweatpants, half zips, hoodies, socks, and so much more. They even stock a small selection of pillow cases and linens!

Essentiels Co.

Based in Montreal, this brand produces pieces that are a little more fashion-forward but can also fit into a capsule wardrobe. All of their garments are made locally in Montreal. I’ve purchased quite a few pieces from Essentiels Co over the years. I was really impressed with their recent Autumn collection that featured a few vegan sweaters and lots of cozy fabrics in both draped and form-fitting designs. Their price point is also very budget-friendly. Sign up for their newsletter, because they usually do sales once a season.

Preloved:

Designed and made ethically in Toronto with deadstock and vintage fabrics. They always have a few vegan sweaters designs every fall and winter. I’m a big fan of Preloved’s sweatshirts! (Ok, I know I’m cheating because a sweatshirt is not a sweater, but they are terry-lined and seriously cozy.) Preloved has been around for over two decades and has been a staple of Toronto’s eco-conscious community for a long time.


Vegan Sweaters Made in the USA

VETTA

I’m so pleased to see that VETTA has created a wide variety of vegan sweaters that are made in the US. VETTA is a capsule-wardrobe-focused brand and many of their pieces are meant to be worn multiple ways. These cozy sweaters, cardigans, and knit dresses are all made from organic cotton. Usually, VETTA ethically manufactures their garments in New York, but it seems that they have partnered with a Los Angelos ethical factory to produce their knitwear collection.

I definitely have my eye on a few of their beautiful and versatile pieces.

Bluesalt

My love for Bleusalt runs deep! I just published an article on my favourite pieces from this Califonia brand. Bleusalt produces its timeless pieces using a custom material made from beechtree pulp. Think of it as a vegan cashmere alternative. I always reach for my Bleusalt pieces when the temperatures start to drop. But being pregnant this year has made me appreciate the brand even more because their signature fabric is so soft and has so much stretch.

PS: I also have a $20 coupon for Bleusalt. You can apply it to your order by clicking the button link below.


Vegan Sweaters Made with Fair Trade Partnerships or Certified Ethical Manufacturing

Kowtow

Founded in New Zealand, Kowtow is entirely committed to fair trade production and designs with longevity in mind. Kowtow’s cotton is certified by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and they only work with SA8000 certified manufacturers. Additionally, they offer garment repairs and a takeback program. Kowtow designs are high-quality and feature classic styles but they also dabble in some fun colours and patterns with their knitwear.

Eileen Fisher

An often overlooked sustainable brand that has been established and thriving for quite some time. Eileen Fisher is one of the original American designers to really focused on sustainable clothing design and manufacturing. She’s a huge advocate of capsule wardrobes, so expect to find lots of high quality basics and timeless cuts with this brand.

Just note that Eileen Fisher is not an exclusively vegan brand. When browsing their sweaters, use the Fabric Type filter to tailor your results to only vegan sweaters.

Kordal:

Kordal’s mission is to create quality, responsibly-made garments that exemplify the possibilities of sustainable design. All collections are designed and produced in an ethical manner by designing garments that are not trend-focused; using natural, organic, and recycled textiles; and paying workers a fair wage. For their knitwear, Kordal partners with top-quality mills in Guatemala, Peru, and Japan. By keeping the materials and corresponding production as local as possible, they reduce the carbon footprint of excessive shipping and provide jobs in the local communities.

Note that Kordal isn’t 100% vegan, so look for sweaters made from Pima Cotton.


Vegan Sweaters Made with Sustainably-Minded Fabrics

TenTree

The concept of TenTree is that ten trees are planted with every purchase. They focus on sustainably-mind fabrics and try to enforce ethical manufacturing standards at their overseas factories. While TenTree does provide documentation of their expected code of conduct for these factories, the vast majority are not third-party-inspected (ie: they are not BSCI, SA8000, or fair trade certified.) However, they are an official B-Corp organization and do seem to have lots of other environmental initiatives.

If you’re looking for vegan sweaters, you’ll need to focus on their organic cotton knits since they do use wool blends frequently.

Kotn

As the name suggests, Kotn works with organic cotton that is purchased directly from farmers. Garment production is done in factories that prioritize fair and equal pay. Kotn is also B-Corp certified.

Frank and Oak

While this Canadian company doesn’t provide any documentation of ethical manufacturing, they do offer a growing selection of interesting sustainable fabrics that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I bought a SeaCell sweater from Frank and Oak several years ago, which is made from plant cellulose and seaweed (!). You’ll also find Kapok, post-consumer recycled cotton, recycled polyester, Lenzing Ecovero, and recycled nylon when you browse their selection of knitwear. Watch out for the cashmere and wool blends though, if you’re looking for vegan sweaters specifically.

Looking for more vegan sweater ideas?

You can always browse my previous Vegan Girls’ Guide to Sweaters 2019 or look through wardrobe posts that feature vegan sweaters. Previous posts that feature the brands above can be found by clicking on the post tags below. Happy shopping!

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