Wearing Wool as a Vegan? Fair Fashion Outfit with Me and May

With Winter around the corner the topic of what to wear to stay warm is pretty prominent once again. I see many posts on social media talking against wearing wool – and many promoting wool. So I thought it is time to discuss the topic and answer the question: am I wearing wool as a vegan?

For today’s post I have been choosing an outfit wearing a cardigan made from recycled wool! What’s the whole topic about recycling wool? Is wool a sustainable material at all? Is it possible to make wool in a non-violent way? Why are some people so much against wool? These are the questions I would like to discuss in today’s post.

My cardigan is from the Munich-based label Me and May by the way … but more about that below!

Before starting off into the discussion, I guess I first have to explain why many vegans do not wear wool and why there is this whole debate about wool:

Actually, around half of the world’s Merino wool comes from Australia. There sheep are specifically bred to have wrinkled skin in order to increase the wool production. This wrinkled skin is prone to flystrike due to the accumulation of excess moisture and urine in the wrinkled. Flystrike is when flies lay eggs in the folds of the skin and the hatched maggots eat the sheep alive. So what are the conventional farmers doing? Cutting off huge pieces of skin from the area around the tail and back of the legs, producing smoother, scarred skin that doesn’t harbor fly eggs. This practice is usually performed without anesthesia and causes a great deal of distress to the animal, and in many cases the bloody, untreated wounds often get flystrike before they have healed – overall this isn’t much different to what you will find in most animal factories where pigs or cows are held for food production and are turtured on a day to day basis. And this is only one of the many horrible things happening to sheeps – often they are also sheared too early in the year (to make sure the quality of the wool is best) which leaves them exposed to cold weather (approx. 1 million die every year because of exposure).  The shearers are paid by volume, which forces them to speed – and this results in rough handling and injury during the process. You want more? Using a knife to cut out testicles or a rubber ring to cut off the blood supply, a knife to cut off the tail, and a scraper blade or dehorning shears to remove the horn bud without any painkillers doesn’t sound very nice, does it?  All of this is a daily business in the wool industry.

And this is only sheep… I will not even start off with Angora rabbits (google it if you want to see how cruel that is going on!)

So there ARE many very good reasons NOT to wear conventional wool!

So do I wear wool? Yes I do! But do I wear any wool? No! I am not wearing “any” clothes at all – with every piece that enters my closet I am checking: who made it? Under which circumstances? Out of what? Dyed with what? And this applies to anything made from cotton or bamboo – and anything made from wool!

I wear three different types of clothes made from wool:

– second hand pieces

– pieces made from recycled wool

– pieces made from wool from companies that are transparent in how the sheep are held, that are organic certified, and fair trade of cource.

I do not see anything harmful in wearing second hand pieces made from wool. Overall consuming what is already there aka buying second hand is always the best option: you save ressources, nothing new needs to be produced, and you still get what you need. However, I can understand why e.g. vegans do not like to wear leahter, because it feels like wearing a dead animal. With wool I personally find it a little different, as it is not a dead animal that you are wearing, but only the hair.

I own a few second hand pieces made from wool and I like and enjoy them a lot. In my latest second hand outfit, I’ve been wearing a second hand sweater made from 100% wool.

The next point then is to use recycled wool!

Using recycled wool means, like buying second hand, that no new wool needs to be produced, hence taken away from the sheep. So no harm is done to anyone.

The cardigant that I am wearing here is made from recycled wool and Me and May is actually one of those labels trying to make recycled wool big – something I find absolutely wonderful! Using recycled fibers (also cotton and polyester) is getting more and more common overall in the fair fashion industry (and beyond) and I am so happy about this trend! With big companies popping up that are selling the recycled yarn, it gets easier and easier to produce an entire collection out of recycled pieces. Yet, this is mainly possible for smaller labels and only to a limited amount to the big ones … but we are getting there!

You can find more information on the reycled materials used by Me and May on their blog!

And you can find the exact same cardigan here 🙂

The dress I am wearing is a second hand one that I found through In Love Again. My scarf is from Mein Frollein.

Finally, you can actually find companies out there that are taking care of the sheep that are shorn!

Companies such as Armed Angels, Hess Natur, and other “big” players on the fair fashion market are very transparent about where there get their wool from, how the sheep are treated, and why wool is a great choice compared to synthetic fibers. Armed Angels actually has some pretty good short clips on their website all about the conventional wool industry and their own! You can find them here.

So when I actually buy new pieces made from wool, I make sure I buy them from companies that do care about their animals, that are transparent in their communication, and where I simply know that the wool I am wearing didn’t cause any harm to any animal.

But why to wear wool overall? We could leave the whole discussion behind us and just go for other materials couldn’t we?

I do not believe so! Wool is most definetly the material that will do best in keeping us warm and cozy, it is also perfect for sports wear since it can easily take up humidity/sweat. Wool is very breathable and can be layered perfectly. You hardly ever have to wash wool – which makes it a very sustainble material. When it smells bad all you have to do is to hang it outside for a few minutes and the smell will disappear. When you have stains on wool, you can just brush it out with a wool brush (no water needed). Nothing of this applies to other materials and this is what makes wool so unique – and so wonderful!

So yes, I wear wool, I love wool – and I find it important to ALWAYS be critical about EVERY material out there!


This blog post contains names of/pictures of/weblinks to brands and hence, is perceived advertisement. I was not paid for the post and all opinion is my own.


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10 Kommentare

  1. November 19, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    I agree with you 1000% and I want to refer to your article in my latest post if that’s ok with you 🙂

    • November 23, 2018 / 10:05 am

      That would make me really happy if you would do so 🙂 Thank you so much!

  2. November 21, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    What a lovely outfit for Fall, you look great! I love wool, but I would never wear Angora. And I love to buy in second hands, especially those comfy sweaters. A litle about me: a while ago I told you something big was coming for me in October and I’m extremely happy to say I am a proud mama to a beautiful baby boy:) He is 7 weeks now! Actually we are having a Catholic baptism this Saturday, so we are very excited:)

    • November 23, 2018 / 10:05 am

      Thank you so much! I am so happy for your and I’ve been expecting something like that 😉

  3. November 24, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    Great article! I’m glad there are companies out there that take great care of the animals that provide the fur. I used to have pet rabbits so I am always especially sad about the way angora rabbits are treated for their furs 🙁

  4. Januar 24, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    Hi, this is a lovely Outfit! I agree with you on wool. I am not a vegan… though I am 99% vegetarian and I love wool because it almost lasts forever and a good wool garment looks neat. It’s a natural fibre, dirt-repellent, kind to most skins, and production is pretty organic. After years living in rural Britain, I understand sheep are kind of needed to graze the hills in some environments. They will produce wool whether they want it or not and the sheep must be shorn at least once a year or they get really bad matting. The Problem is the farmers get almost nothing for their wool which is a waste of some good resources. Some wool from these local sheep (they are different breeds, but not Merino which make beautiful wool) makes quite nice wool for sweathers and jackets so I totally Support wearing wool as Long as I know that the animals have been reared ethically. Some but not many “traditional” English or Scottish brands even still manufacture near the source. Ist always good to check where the garment was made – I believe EU-made garments will fall under the Minimum wage. As for other wools… I am not sure. Cashmere and angora I avoid – what about Yak, alpaca, camel, and ??? other wool-producing animals?

    • Februar 6, 2019 / 12:10 pm

      Thank you SO much for the intersting insights from GB! That’s so good to read! I think the other kind of wools are sourced so differently, depending on the label. Like right now, I am working with a label that wants to protect and support Alpacas in Peru and they do this by using their wool to make scarfs that they sell in Europe to raise awareness and money to make sure those Alpacaas have a good life. But I know for sure that this is the exception from the rule 🙁

  5. Februar 17, 2019 / 5:52 am

    Look at that beautiful scarf – I am so in love with it!
    What a great post and a good point of view on the things. I also like buying second hand however it is not that easy as there is no second hand shop in the city I am living. Angora wool and things like leather are materials I avoid since years as I am buying my bags, belts and shoes mostly from a company producing vegan fashion (but am afraid they might not be fair… have not checked that yet). But I am sure there is even more I could do as honestly speaking I am still buying from some well-known online-shops.
    I am sure your blog will give me lots of inspiration on how to get some nice fair fashion pieces 🙂
    All the best, Katja

    • Februar 18, 2019 / 2:26 pm

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for your words! I would love to know where you get your vegan shoes and accessoires!? I have SUCH a hard time finding pieces that actually last – and that are vegan! I guess there is always more that we can do, but I do also strongly believe that each little step is making a difference and that we shouldn’t put ourselves too much under pressure 😉 Loads of love!