Satin is a weave with a glossy finish that's used in a wide range of different clothing and resembles silk. This resemblance to silk is what has many vegans wondering, is satin vegan?
To be honest, we decided to write this guide because we actually found ourselves asking the same question. Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple yes or no, as it can vary.
Read on to learn more about satin and how you can determine if your clothing is made from vegan fabric. We’ll also talk more about the difference between satin and silk.
Is Satin Vegan?
Yes, satin is typically vegan and cruelty-free, and it’s not a material that you need to worry too much about. Although, there are exceptions that you need to be aware of. For example, silk can be used in the production of satin in which case it would obviously not be vegan.
What is Satin?
As mentioned, satin is a fabric used in clothing. It originates from ancient China but is available today worldwide and in several versions of different quality.
Traditionally, due to its shiny surface, satin was mostly used for finer clothing such as dresses, skirts, saris, and shirts. But lately, it has become increasingly popular in everyday clothing such as shirts and even pants.
It’s also popular to use satin in lingerie, boxer shorts, and ties and you can even find satin pillows and bedsheets.
Unlike a material like linen or cotton, which are both a natural fiber, satin is a weave, i.e. it’s man-made and created using another filament fabric.
Satin can be weaved in a few different ways but always produces that same, silky-smooth and glossy material on one side that’s extremely soft to touch and considerably tougher than silk. Note that the “back” of satin is usually a bit duller and less glossy although equally as soft.
Today, most satin is made from polyester or nylon, or other plastic-based fabrics. And if the same weaving technique is used with cotton, you end up with a fabric called sateen which is considered to be of lesser quality.
Satin vs. Silk - Which is Which?
The main reason some people think that satin isn’t vegan is because they believe that satin and silk are the same materials. Those people are not completely in the wrong.
You see, satin was originally made using silk, and for many decades it was one of the most sought-after materials on the famous Silk Road. It was an exclusive material only available for the richest in the world and it was an obvious sign of wealth and good fortune.
However, as we all know, silk is not very affordable. It also happens to be extremely cruel and definitely not vegan. According to PETA, as many as 3,000 silkworms have to be killed in order to produce a pound of silk.
After the introduction of plastic, people started switching from making satin with silk to making it with more affordable options such as nylon. In turn, this has resulted in vegan satin being the more commonly used material today in place of silk.
With that being said, silk is still sometimes used in the production of satin.
Our Final Verdict
In most cases you can assume that satin is vegan-friendly and not made from silk. This is especially true if you’re buying clothing that isn't so expensive since silk tends to drive up the price. For example, companies such as H&M and Zara tend to use synthetic satin while more upscale brands might still be using silk.
If you really want to be sure we suggest you check the label directly. You should see something like 100% polyester or 100% nylon. Most companies are happy to share information about all the materials they use. Another alternative is to stick to strictly vegan clothing brands!
But as we mentioned, unless the clothing is very expensive, you can pretty much guarantee that satin is 100% vegan.
Interested in learning more about vegan fabrics? Check out our article on the pros and cons of vegan PU Leather.