The vast majority of men’s ties are not vegan. Most neckties are made of silk, a fiber taken from silkworm cocoons. Fortunately, with just a little searching, you can find well-made and stylish vegan ties.
What’s Wrong with Silk?
There are strong ethical reasons to avoid silk. Silkworms are typically boiled to death when the fibers from their cocoons are processed into silk.
With any luck, silk will soon lose its dominance 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 rendered silk unable to compete for that use. Nylon is much cheaper and stronger, while being even more sheer than silk.
Despite its remarkable properties, nylon isn’t a suitable tie material. But there are other plant-derived or synthetic materials that work extremely well.
Vegan Alternatives to Silk
Silk alternatives have come a long way over the past several decades, and you can find a wide assortment of vegan neckties. But one place you probably won’t find a good selection of vegan ties is at a high-end men’s clothing shop. At those stores, virtually every tie they sell is still made from silk.
When shopping for neckties, the most popular vegan materials are rayon and polyester. Rayon is a premium fabric with a natural silk-like sheen. Some polyester ties look cheap and garish, but the good ones are every bit as attractive as silk or rayon. The best rayon and polyester ties are nearly impossible to distinguish from silk. In fact, since silk is so much more expensive than vegan alternatives, some tie makers fraudulently label polyester ties as silk, knowing that few people can discern the difference.
When tie shopping, you may encounter “Satin” ties, which are typically made from a particularly lustrous polyester fabric.
Linen is another nice excellent and vegan fabric. It’s not shiny like silk or rayon, but it provides a warm and sophisticated look when worn with the right outfit.
Since upscale clothing stores either don’t carry vegan ties or have a paltry selection, the easiest way to purchase vegan neckties is to shop online. But as we’ll see, it’s not necessarily your best choice.
Buying Vegan Neckties Online
Amazon.com carries every conceivable product, and that includes some attractive vegan ties.
You can buy high-end vegan ties directly from two tie makers. Jaan J. makes beautiful satin ties that look just like silk. If you want something a little more unconventional, check out High Cotton ties and bow ties.
You have several other 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 rayon, polyester, cotton, and microfiber ties. For even more possibilities, do a Google search for vegan neckties, and also search for neckties plus each of the above fabrics.
Neckties Carried at Stores
Ideally, you can buy your ties in person rather than online. There’s no article of clothing where color and texture are more important, and these nuances 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 nice. And since they cost practically nothing, 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 too cheap to be made from silk, and are pretty much always 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.