Yes and no. Traditional lace is made out of silk and is not vegan. However, most modern lace is made out of cotton or linen, but could also be made out of synthetic materials like polyester. In these cases, lace is cruelty-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle.
Vintage and second-hand lace are less likely to be vegan, and vegans should also be wary of more-expensive lace products, which are more likely to be made of silk (since cotton and linen are cheaper).
What is Lace?
Lace is a beautiful delicate fabric that features an open weblike pattern. It can be made with a machine or by hand by looping, interlacing, braiding and twisting the threads. It is a delicate fabric that adds an elegant and refined touch to any clothing piece, which is why it is a favorite in the fashion industry and is commonly used on wedding dresses, lingerie, and luxury garments.
How is Lace Made?
There are many methods of making lace. Vegan lace is most likely made on a machine using the chemical lace method, while bespoke silk lace (non-vegan) is more likely to be made by hand. Varieties include:
- Bobbin lace: The lace is made by hand using bobbins and a lace pillow. The threads are braided, twisted, and wound on bobbins and held in place with pins that are set on different positions according to the pattern of the lace.
- Chemical lace: Machine-made. A pattern is embroidered on fabric that has been chemically treated. The fabric will disintegrate after the pattern has been created, leaving a lace pattern.
- Crocheted lace: A crochet hook is used to interlock loops of yarn and threads.
- Lace knitting: A style of knitting that creates a complex pattern with many holes.
- Needle lace: Hundreds of small stitches are stitched together to create the lace.
Is Lace Sustainable?
The sustainability of an individual piece of lace depends on the material that was used to make it. For vegans for whom sustainability is an issue, organic cotton or linen are the best choices. Organic cotton does not use pesticides, fertilizers, or excess water (unlike non-organic cotton), and linen is made from the flax plant. Both are biodegradable.
Synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon are made from petroleum oil products and require a lot of energy to be created. In addition to that, they release microfibers of plastic to the ocean, which can be ingested by fish. These are not recommended unless a recycled source is used.
Verdict: Should Vegans Buy Lace?
Most of the lace that is made today comes from a vegan source. Before buying any piece of lace, check the material that it is made from to confirm that it is vegan.