August 08, 2022 6 min read

Diet is usually the first thing to come to mind when most people transition to a vegan lifestyle. While that’s arguably the most critical aspect of going vegan, the next thing that most people look at holds similar weight: their wardrobe.

We spend our entire lives accumulating clothes and shoes made from animals, from leather boots and belts to wool sweaters and hats. It’s not our fault; we were just buying what was sold without thinking about where these pieces came from, and to be completely honest – manufacturers don’t like to talk about that part either.

Belts are a great accessory to add the final touch to your outfit. But you may be wondering why should I choose a vegan belt? What makes a belt vegan? We’re going to answer those questions for you.

The good news is, times are changing! Retailers are offering more vegan clothing and accessory options than ever! So, we've got you covered if you’re looking to add a splash of style to your outfit or just need something simple to keep your pants up.

Let’s look at why you should choose a vegan belt!

What Makes a Belt Vegan?

The basics of making sure that a belt is vegan is knowing that it:

  • Is 100% free from animal products like leather, silk, wool, fur, etc.
  • Involves no animal cruelty and testing
  • Is made from natural materials like cork, pineapple leaves, cotton, etc.
  • Uses fewer chemicals in the production process
  • Carries the vegan fashion seal from PETA: PETA Approved Vegan (If you want to be extra certain)

It doesn’t matter if it's a woman’s belt or a man’s belt; vegan belts must be made of 100% animal-free materials, in everything from the belt to the seams down to the buckle

Just because a belt is not leather doesn't mean it’s vegan. Some fabrics that seem vegan at first glance can contain animal ingredients. It’s not uncommon for companies to use beeswax to seal seams or care for leather. Unfortunately, beeswax is another animal product that is not vegan.

Most clothing stores carry belts, but finding an attractive vegan one is either really easy to do or really hard to do. If you’re looking to own a few different styles of belts to match different outfits, we recommend taking a quick look every time you go shopping. You don’t want to go on a hunt because you might make yourself crazy.

If you can’t tell whether a belt is vegan, the first thing you should do is just check the label. Many consumers view leather as a luxury material, so if you’re shopping in a high-end store, you may only find leather belts.

When you find a belt that you really like, buy a few. Most belts will last you two or three years if you wear them daily, so it’s nice to have a couple in reserve. Those who want to be on the safe side can always just purchase belts that have quality seals like the PETA-Approved Vegan Certificate.

Why Choose a Vegan Belt?

We’ve said before that leather belts are not ethical or sustainable. This is because they’re made from an animal byproduct; millions of animals are killed just for leather alone every year. Not only is it cruel, but it’s also horrible for the environment. The tanning process for leather uses around 250 toxic chemicals, including cyanide, arsenic, and chromium.

Switching to using vegan, sustainable belts minimizes your impact on the environment because of the use of eco-friendly materials from cotton, canvas, and hemp to banana leaves, cork, and more.

You may also find that these products are made with upcycled materials like kite sails, bicycle tires, cement bags, and recycled feed bags, to name a few, which keeps them out of landfills and the environment, where they might hurt local wildlife.

The benefits of vegan belts that make them preferable over animal leather belts include:

  • Being animal-friendly and cruelty-free: no animals are sacrificed to make vegan belts.
  • Environmental friendliness and sustainability.
  • Getting items made to order. Because of this, there’s no material wastage. All sizes and parts are cut according to the product's needs.
  • Reducing pollution. Vegan materials cause less CO2 and greenhouse emissions than leather made from animals: Raising animals is one of the primary sources of CO2 and pollution emissions.
  • Reducing toxic chemical use.
  • Cost effectiveness. Vegan leather is easier to maintain and waterproof: animal leather is not waterproof, and maintenance can be expensive.

What Are Vegan Belts Made From?

Various materials can be used to create vegan belts. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular materials used.

Paper

Believe it or not, paper is an excellent alternative to leather. Of course, since the "fabric" used is paper, it’s not the most durable leather alternative option, but it’s more durable than you think.

So how does the creation of Kraft paper compare to other paper production methods? First and foremost, kraft paper is stronger. This is because of its high sulfur ratio and reduced lignin content. The reduced lignin leaves more cellulose which gives the paper its durable characteristics. It also doesn’t involve extensive bleaching as standard paper manufacturing does. Bleaching decreases the strength of the paper. An example of its incredible durability can be seen in our Debut Paper Backpack.

These belts are extremely thin and light. In addition, it is 100% recyclable and uses otherwise discarded materials to produce new products.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane or PU is a common type of vegan leather which uses a combination of synthetic and natural ingredients. Polyurethane can look highly similar to genuine leather, making it a great alternative aesthetically.

Polyurethane is a solid choice because it uses fewer resources than leather to make it more sustainable. Leather has to be tanned, which requires the use of a lot of chemicals. Additionally, leather causes air pollution during the preparation to tan it.

Here at Doshi, we use Microfiber PU as our vegan leather. Microfiber is the key term as Microfiber-based vegan leather is the highest grade of synthetic leather commercially available in the market today.

Microfiber vegan leather consists of two parts.

  1. Microfiber base - The microfiber base is the most important part of the material.  The microfiber is unlike clothing in that it is non-woven. Instead of being woven like cloth, the microfibers are made to coagulate in three dimensions so that they mimic the structure of skin. The resulting material is soft, supple, breathable, and much more durable than the any alternative that we have tested.
  2. Polyurethane top coat - The polyurethane on top helps create different looks, textures, and feels. In our materials, the adhesion to the microfiber base layer is extremely strong.

The resulting material is generally extremely durable and often outperforms leather in a variety of tests.

Not only does it use fewer resources than leather, but polyurethane products also cost less than genuine leather because it’s easier to manufacture and easier to maintain; polyurethane doesn’t dry out over time and doesn’t absorb water, which makes it easy to clean.

Cork

Cork is one of the alternatives that best mimics leather in function and form.

Cork leather is made from the bark of Cork Oaks. These Oaks grow in the Mediterranean region of Europe. Cork trees must be at least 25 years old before the bark can be harvested. When done expertly, harvesting the cork from the tree does not harm it. Actually, the removal of the bark helps with regeneration and extends the life of a tree. The oak will produce cork for anywhere from two to five hundred years.

In addition, the production process of cork sheets is pretty straightforward. Cork planks are left to dry for about six months to get them flat and improve their quality. This results in cork planks that are then treated with fungicide and heated water to remove dirt and make the materials flexible. The cork is then pressed into blocks that are later sliced into thin sheets to create cork products.

Leather has a lot of heavy chemical processing; cork production is almost entirely chemical-free. 

Cork is an easily recycled, completely natural product. It comes from cork oak trees harvested every nine years and has a life span of over two hundred years. This makes it a sustainable material to use for designer belts for vegans.

Wrapping Up

Here on the Doshi Blog, we want to encourage and support people in buying and wearing vegan and ethical products.

Vegan products are just as timeless as the conventional version and have price advantages. When you compare vegan designer belts to ones made of genuine leather, you’ll often find that the vegan options are cheaper with no dip in quality and a huge bonus in moral integrity. For these reasons, vegan accessories/products make great alternatives!

Are you interested in getting vegan accessories to finish the look? We offer a variety of handmade designer vegan options. In addition, you can check out our women’s vegan belts and our men’s vegan belts.


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