The 10 Best Vegan Sweaters 2021

Embrace sweater weather sustainably

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Whether you’re hunting out a thin sweater for springtime or a rugged knitted pullover for the chilliest of days, there are always a plethora of options clamoring to be brought into your wardrobe. But not all sweaters have been created equally — at least not when it comes to sustainability. 

Vegan fashion is about clothing that uses only animal-free materials: so wool, cashmere, and angora are out. However, oftentimes, these are replaced by virgin fabrics, many of which are a product of the petroleum industry and responsible for the carbon emissions that are leading to climate change. 

It’s for this reason that we’ve focused on environmentally sustainable fashion brands in our search for our favorite vegan sweaters. As our choices use either recycled polyester textiles or natural fabrics such as organic cotton, you can rely on your new cozy layer being as kind to the environment as it is to animals. We've included both knit sweater options, as well as cozy picks some might call sweatshirts.

So, here are the best vegan sweaters for 100 percent cruelty-free comfort and warmth.

The Rundown
This cozy mockneck sweater with a ribbed trim design is destined to become a go-to on chilly days.
Go cute and cozy with this low-key pullover that’ll work equally well for casual and smart occasions.
Made from 95% recycled materials, this hoodie is available in men’s and women’s styles.
Best Cashmere Alternative:
Apparis Melodie at Apparis.com
This relaxed-fit, v-neck sweater is free from animal-derived textiles.
Stay cool with this long sleeve sweater made from 100% organic cotton.
This French Terry hoodie is made almost exclusively from GOTS-certified organic cotton.
Add an extra layer to your closet with this lightweight turtleneck from sustainability superstars Organic Basics.
Affordability doesn’t have to cost the Earth, at least not in the case of this crewneck from Everlane.
Look stylish and match effortlessly with anything in your wardrobe with this longer pullover.
This slim fitted, v-neck cardigan is the lightweight sweater style you need for summer.

Best for Men: Will's Vegan Store Recycled Slouch Knit Mockneck

Will's Vegan Store Recycled Slouch Knit Mockneck

Classic in color and ready to match any look, this cozy mockneck sweater with a ribbed trim design is destined to become a go-to on chilly days. Its comfortable slouch fit ensures it’ll work for practically any occasion, and has been ethically produced in small quantities and is fully carbon neutral. Better still, it’ll arrive at your door in fully recyclable packaging for an even smaller environmental impact. 

The perfect year-round sweater, this relaxed knit is made from an eco-friendly blend of recycled polyester—made from recycled clothes—and recycled cotton, meaning it’s both vegan and kinder to the planet. 

But the environmental kudos doesn’t end there. It’s been made from offcuts from the textile industry that would otherwise be incinerated. As these have been dyed already, they ensure this sweater saves about half a bath’s worth of water that would otherwise be used in the dyeing process.

Best for Women: Kowtow Pioneer Crew

Kowtow Pioneer Crew

This pullover is made from 100 percent organic, Fair Trade-certified cotton and woven with a honeycomb stitch, it’s a cozy but lively sweater that’ll add color and pizazz to your look. It has been colored using only GOTS-approved dyes. 

That’s not the only ethical thing to love about this brand. Kowtow gets a gold star from us for its manufacturing transparency. All of the farmers it buys from are Fair Trade-certified, while its Indian factories are SA8000 certified, too, which means fair wages and other essential benefits are part and parcel of their employees’ working conditions. This sweater is as good for the planet as it’ll look on you.

Best Unisex: Patagonia Pastel P-6 Logo Uprisal Hoody

Patagonia Pastel P-6 Logo Uprisal Hoody

Lazy days on the beach, trail, or lounging around your living room call for a laid back hoodie, and this choice from Patagonia ticks all the right boxes. Available in both men’s and women’s styles and with the brand’s iconic logo emblazoned across the chest, this is a sweater for any casual occasion. 

Few apparel brands can stake a claim to as sustainability-focused in the fashion industry as Patagonia, and this hoodie is part of the brand’s commitment to ethical, cruelty-free style. It’s made from 95 percent recycled material, which equates to 14.9 plastic bottles and 0.8 pounds of scrap cotton. Not only does this save 184 gallons of water compared with using unsustainable virgin cotton, but it means single-use plastics are actively kept out of landfill. It wins extra ethical plaudits for being sewn at a Fair Trade facility, too.

Best Cashmere Alternative: Apparis Melodie

Apparis Melodie

Soft to touch and even cozier to wear, this relaxed-fit, v-neck sweater is free from animal-derived textiles. Effortlessly chic while still intentionally ethical, this pullover is made from a blend of recycled plastics that have been woven into a sumptuously soft and stretchy knit. 

Not only is this sweater super cute, but it’s available in several colors choices, all made using only organic dyes. To minimize waste, the brand behind the sweater, Apparis, also only manufactures small-batch drops, so that the company only makes what what can ultimately be sold. For extra responsible brownie points, it also keeps a close eye on its small factories in China and Italy to ensure staff are paid a fair wage for their work.

Best Wool Alternative: Tentree Highline Cotton Acre Sweater

Tentree Highline Cotton Acre Sweater

Aware that the fashion industry produces 20 percent of all waste water and more greenhouse gasses than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, Tentree have found ways to make fashion sustainable. Only organic cotton goes into this sweatshirt, which keeps it light and breathable. A long-sleeved sweater and with an asymmetrical cross body front, it manages to look both casual and chic. 

Tentree plants ten trees for every purchase, and is a certified B-corp. This brand ensures all of its workers in Canada and around the rest of the world have living wages and safe working conditions. We salute the belief that ethical labor rights are equally important as environmental sustainability.

Best Hoodie: Pact Perfectly Lightweight Zip Hoodie

Pact Perfectly Lightweight Zip Hoodie

This French Terry hoodie is made almost exclusively from GOTS-certified organic cotton—and a little bit of elastane thrown in for comfy stretch—keeps this sweater kinder to the planet as well as to your favorite furry friends. In fact, 82.9 gallons (around five bathtubs’ worth) have been saved in manufacturing organic rather than conventional cotton, while potentially harmful pesticides and fertilizers have been kept out of the earth. 

The company behind this hoodie, Pact, works exclusively with Fair Trade certified factories to ensure that all of their apparel has a positive impact on the communities and environments they serve. The best bit about this company? You can reuse the box your order comes in to send them gently used clothing from any apparel brand and it will be sent on to nonprofits in need.

Best Turtleneck: Organic Basics Organic Cotton Turtleneck

Organic Basics Organic Cotton Turtleneck

Add an extra layer of warmth to your closet with this lightweight turtleneck from sustainability superstars Organic Basics. High necked, slim fitting, and with elastane for a stretchy and comfy form, this turtleneck works as a standalone top on a mild day or as a base layer beneath a thicker vegan jacket when the temperature drops. 

By investing in this turtleneck, you’re also buying into this brand’s ethical commitments—which we think are impressive. Recognizing that the fashion industry is dirty, it has set out to quite literally weave sustainability into the very fabric of all of its garments by using only GOTS-certified organic cotton.

True to form, the company even has a low impact website, where, by reducing images—and consequently data downloaded onto your machine—less carbon emissions are produced and your carbon footprint of your purchase becomes even smaller. Click over to "Regular Store" if you want to see product images.

Best Budget: Everlane The Track Crewneck

Everlane The Track Crewneck

Affordability doesn’t have to cost the Earth—at least not in the case of this crewneck from Everlane. GOTS-certified organic cotton has been transformed into this relaxed fit crew sweater, with raglan sleeves and a kangaroo pouch for both storage and keeping your hands toasty. 

Fully vegan, it’s a sustainable sweater with an accessible price tag. Better still, Everlane proves its commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion by being fully transparent about the cost of every step of the manufacturing process. Fair wages for workers and a fair price for you are part and parcel of this.

Best Luxury: époque évolution chic & eco pullover

époque évolution chic & eco pullover

Some clothes are an effortless match with every outfit you own; this pullover is one of those garments. Longer in length, it sports a half zip and elasticated cinched waistband for a flattering and practical finish. It’s also crafted from Tencel, a super soft fiber made from wood pulp and harvested from trees grown on specialized, eco-friendly farms, before being cut and sewn by a small, sustainable factory in Portugal that uses only recyclable, Earth-friendly solvents.  

All of the materials used by époque évolution are sustainable: whether they’re organic, upcycled, deadstock, or made from post-consumer waste recycled fibers, this innovative brand is working towards reducing the carbon footprint of the fashion industry—one sustainably sourced garment at a time.

Best Cardigan: Reformation Gilda Ribbed V-Neck Cardigan

Reformation Gilda Ribbed V-Neck Cardigan

Smart, stylish, and timeless, this slim fitting v-neck cardigan is a lightweight addition to your summer wardrobe. Supremely soft to touch, it’s made from 100 percent organic cotton, which significantly reduces the amount of water used in the growing cycle compared with normal cotton.  

Reducing environmental impact through conscious fabric choices isn’t the only sustainable idea that this brand has up their sleeve. The Reformation makes only small batches of garments as a way of reducing the waste and overproduction rife in the fashion industry. Additionally, the carbon footprint of this cardigan is non-existent: The Reformation are fully carbon neutral and, by 2025, are set to become carbon positive.

Final Verdict

Sweaters that combine recycled and cruelty-free fabrics are a winner in our book, which is why we’re in love with the slouch mockneck (view at Will’s Vegan Store). Comfy and proving that eco-friendly dyes can still pack quite a punch, the pioneer crew from Kowtow is a statement sweater (view at Kowtow).

Why Trust Treehugger?

We’ve chosen to only focus on ethical fabrics that are both vegan and environmentally sustainable, as many animal product alternatives don’t make the cut when it comes to being eco-friendly. Going vegan is often part of a choice to be more environmentally conscious and we want to respect that decision making — and our planet — with our recommendations. 

Author Steph Dyson writes about sustainable clothing and life, with a particular focus on vegan alternatives that don’t pollute the environment. She believes that each of us making small and conscious changes to our day-to-day lives will mean a large collective impact on the planet.

View Article Sources
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fair Trade. 2021.

  2. Social Accountability Accreditation Services. SA8000 Certification. Saasaccreditation.org. 2021.

  3. Global Organic Textile Standard. Global-standard.org. 2021.