Discover what more sustainable silk shirts look like, and browse our favourite brands creating conscious choices with lower-impact silk and vegan silk alternatives.
Silk is a fabled fabric so soft it became an adjective. Valued for its timeless elegance, it also has temperature regulating and antibacterial properties that make it one of the most luxurious and sought-after materials in the world. However, conventional silk production can be harmful to the worms that produce it, the workers who spin it, and even the surrounding environment during degumming or dyeing.
So, what does a more ethical and sustainable silk shirt look like? The umbrella term of Ahimsa silk, also known as “peace silk”, allows the moth to evacuate the cocoon before it is boiled. Some silks that fall under the Ahimsa umbrella include “Eri silk” and “Tussar silk”. However, even Ahimsa silk isn’t without a level of cruelty, so if animal welfare is your main concern, opt for vegan alternatives. For the planet, choose OTEX-certified organic silk, unbleached, or 100% naturally dyed silk. Recycled, deadstock, or second hand silk is also a good option. And to ensure no child or slave labour is used, support brands that are transparent about their worker supply chain.
If you prefer to steer clear of animal-based silk altogether, vegan silk alternatives are emerging on the market—from sugar-based spider silk to citrus fibre threads. Until they are more commercially available, options like TENCEL™, ECOVERO™, and sometimes cupro provide a silky cruelty-free alternative.