Most men’s neckties are made of silk, which is a non-vegan fiber produced by silkworms. There are strong ethical reasons to avoid silk that you don’t need to be a hardcore animal rights person to appreciate: silkworms are typically boiled to death when the fibers from their nests are processed into silk. But vegan neckties are widely available. You may have to look around a little, but it shouldn’t take much time to find an assortment of vegan neckties you’ll love.
Although only a small percentage of neckties sold today are vegan, that will probably change in the coming years. There is good reason to think that silk will lose its dominant position in the necktie market—we’ve already seen this material lose its top spot elsewhere. Back in the Nineteenth Century, women’s pantyhose were invariably made of silk. The invention of nylon in 1935 all but eliminated the use of silk in pantyhose, since nylon is much cheaper and stronger, while being even more sheer than silk.
Despite the many advantages of nylon, the stuff isn’t suited to be made into neckties—so silk remains the most widely used material. In fact, at upscale men’s clothing stores, virtually every tie will be made of silk.
Happily, vegan fibers have come a long way over the past several decades, and with a little looking you can find a wide assortment of vegan neckties. You’ll just probably need to look elsewhere than high-end men’s clothing stores.
When shopping for neckties, the most popular alternatives to silk are rayon and polyesters. Rayon is always beautiful, and is in no way inferior to cilk. Some polyester ties look cheap and tacky, but the good ones are every bit as attractive as silk or rayon. At their best, both rayon and polyester ties can nail silk’s look and texture, to the point that even fabric experts would have a tough time knowing what’s silk and what isn’t. In fact, since silk is so much more expensive than vegan alternatives, there’s no doubt that some companies fraudulently label their ties as silk, knowing that few people can discern the difference.
Since upscale clothing stores either don’t carry vegan ties or have a paltry selection, the most convenient way to shop for vegan neckties is to look online. As always, Amazon.com carries everything, and that includes a pretty good selection of vegan ties. In fact, a search for vegan neckties will reveal not just ties made from vegan material, but ties with the word Vegan as part of the print design—the perfect choice for job interviews, first dates, and funerals!
Amazon is only the start of your online shopping choices. Ties.com is an impressive and well-organized specialty store, with search tools optimized specifically for neckties. It’s a boon to vegans because the site allows you to search by fabric. They carry a huge variety of cotton, rayon, polyester, and microfiber ties. For even more possibilities, you can Google search for vegan neckties, as well as doing searches for neckties plus each of the above fabrics.
Ideally, though, you’ll be able to buy your ties in person rather than online. There’s probably no article of clothing where color and texture are so important, and these qualities are imperfectly captured in online photos. When buying ties in a store, the back of the tie should always carry a label disclosing the fibers used. Perhaps the best local place to buy vegan neckties is the last place you’d ever think of: dollar stores. That’s right, dollar stores. Many of these stores have a small selection of neckties, and they can be surprisingly high quality. And since they only cost around a dollar, there’s no way the producer could ever afford to use silk without selling at a big loss.
In like manner, in New York and other big cities, street vendors commonly sell very inexpensive ties. These ties are sourced from the same cut-rate wholesalers who supply dollar stores, and are likely to be vegan.
So that’s all there is too it. Like most other vegan apparel choices, it takes a little extra effort to choose vegan neckties. But it’s not remotely difficult, and you won’t need to compromise one iota when it comes to finding choices that are attractive and stylish.