My Cart

Woman Wearing A Wool Coat

How To Stay Warm Without Wearing A Wool Coat

Wearing a wool coat is a great way to stay warm in cold climates. Wool is an animal-derived material often used to make winter clothing such as hats, gloves, sweaters, socks, and jackets.

Wool is also cruel, unethical and not environmentally friendly. I gave up on wool in 2015 and now use better eco-friendly alternatives to stay warm, such as organic cotton, linen, lyocell, or recycled fabrics.

Globally, more than 95% of all wool comes from mass production. To protect people, animals, and the planet, it's a lot better to choose clothing that doesn't involve the mass farming and killing of animals, water, air, and soil pollution with toxic chemicals, and greenhouse gas emissions.

With a bit of research and without breaking the bank, it's now possible to stay warm in an ethical and eco-responsible manner without wearing any wool.

What's wrong with wearing a wool coat

Billions of animals are brutally slaughtered each year for the fashion industry to produce clothing made from wool, cashmere, mohair, fur, silk, leather, goose down, or down feathers.

Wool is obtained from animals such as sheep, goats, muskox, rabbits, and camelids. And wool farming conditions are horrible most of the time.

Contrary to popular belief, sheep don't need shearing, They don't like being sheared at all. It's simple to understand because they never like being caught for any reason.

Sheep naturally produce the right amount of wool it needs. In natural environments, they shed their winter coat before spring like many other animals.

Sheep live in crowded conditions and must walk very long distances, as reported by PETA. They will often end up dying from dehydration, infection, starvation or injury. Of course, sheep who didn't die prematurely are shipped off to slaughter as soon as they don't produce enough wool.

Learn more about the reasons why you should stop wearing wool in my other article.


lamb sheep

Wool also has a very negative environmental impact. Australia and New Zealand are major producers of wool, respectively 23.4% and 9.1% of all wool production worldwide, as reported by the International Wool Textile Organisation.

In Australia and New Zealand, the primary contributor to global warming is methane, a very potent greenhouse gas and a by-product of sheep digestion.

Wool is one of the fifth most environmentally damaging fiber worldwide, as reported by the Global Fashion Agenda. Wool production involves high human and eco-toxicity due to processing with chemicals.

Many social media personalities and celebrities choose to avoid textile fibers obtained from animals completely. They don't support the cruelty of the wool industry and use sustainable alternatives.

Watch Joaquin Phoenix in an exclusive interview with PETA, explaining the importance of cruelty-free options.


What to wear to stay warm instead of wool

If you've been wearing wool in winter to stay warm until now, you might be wondering what to wear instead.

Luckily, you don't have to rely on wool to stay warm anymore. There are plenty of other viable alternatives. Have fun the next time you go out shopping and look at the labels carefully.

You will find other options available. Of course, choose the most environmentally friendly materials you can find. You have a wide range of fabric options:

  • natural fibers such as organic cotton and linen,
  • regenerated fibers made from cellulose such as lyocell,
  • and recycled fibers such as recycled nylon and polyester.

Organic cotton requires fewer resources than wool, dries faster, and grows without dangerous chemicals. It's a natural fabric, soft, easy to care for, lightweight, and breathable.

Organic linen is less available than cotton and more expensive but very durable, absorbent, quick-drying, environmentally friendly, recyclable, and biodegradable.

Lyocell is a regenerated cellulose fiber. It falls into the same category as viscose rayon and modal. It's made from renewable resources wood or plants. Lyocell is bio-based, biodegradable, and recyclable.

Other sources of cellulose fiber to manufacture viscose rayon include soy, sugar cane, bamboo, and coconut. Be careful when buying viscose rayon because its manufacturing involves heavy chemical treatments that oftentimes aren't eco-friendly. A great manufacturer of eco-friendly and sustainable lyocell is Austrian Lenzing with Tencel fibers.

Recycled polyester and recycled nylon are great sustainable materials that help reduce plastic waste. They are high-performance materials, resistant, water repellant, and durable. Be careful when you wash them as they may still release micro-fibers into waterways. Micro-plastics pollute the air, soil, rivers, and oceans.

I would stay away from any acrylic and polar fleece. They are made from cheap materials with a very damaging process to the environment. Their recycled version made from plastic waste is expensive and hard to find. A lot of infrastructure development and textile research are needed to make these materials economically viable and environmentally friendly.

Read up my list of the top 10 eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics for clothing to get an overview of all the environmentally friendly materials you can choose from.


girl wearing fleece pin

The simplest way to stay warm without wool is to add layers to your outfit. You can wear 2 to 5 layers of clothing at a time and keep the cold away very easily.

Wear multiple shirts, sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, jackets, or coats on top of each other. Try it out! It's a very effective and tried-and-true strategy to:

  • wick sweat off your skin,
  • keep body heat to protect you from the cold,
  • and shield you from wind and rain.

You can also wear a scarf to keep your neck warm a little longer. A scarf is a key accessory to prevent colds and can be used to cover your nose as well.

It will keep the lower region of your face protected from the outside. Try to wear it around your mouth for complete insulation with a pocket of warm air, cutting down any discomfort from breathing harsh winter air. Recycled polyester or cotton make excellent materials for scarves.

Here are some excellent places to shop sustainable and ethical clothing to stay warm without wool:

dark Coat model photo

You don't have to wear a wool coat to stay warm in winter. Just do a bit of research and you will find plenty of other alternatives. It only takes a little more effort. Look around a bit more and read the labels. Support and buy from companies that are committed to cruelty-free, eco-friendly fashion.

Sustainability is much more than a trend. It's a revolution. We all benefit from your decision to live a more ethical and eco-responsible life. The people, the animals, and the planet will thank you!

As consumers, we have the power to make change happen to transform this wasteful industry into a more regenerative and circular one.

Fashion designers and brands are starting to produce more sustainable clothing because consumers demand it. If we ask for more cruelty-free alternatives, we will get them as well!

Do you have any tip to stay warm without wearing wool? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author: Alex Assoune

Alex Assoune Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks four languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.


More, More, More

Related Articles

fashion students

Passion for Sustainable Fashion Lead Students Curriculum Choices

Creating more sustainability in the fashion industry is one of the most urgent issues of our time. And it guides students around the world when choosing which degree to pursue.... Read More

The Rise of Slow Fashion

Fashion brands and retailers have prioritized profits and growth over sustainability and fairness for far too long. Fast fashion encourages a culture of instant gratification and mindless consumption. The rise... Read More
slow fashion dress
Vatrina: Egyptian Graduation Project for Sustainable Fashion

Vatrina: Egyptian Graduation Project for Sustainable Fashion

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented crisis that pushes more sustainability in the fashion world. Egyptian students also understand the complex issues present in the textile and apparel industry for... Read More

Barbara Meier Ambassador for Fair Fashion

Barbara Meier is a famous German fashion model, actress, author, and ambassador for fair fashion. She rose in the public eye by winning the second season of Germany's Next Topmodel... Read More
barbara meier
fashion student

Upcycled Clothing: a Vector for Creativity Among Fashion Students

Students from fashion schools around the world learn about the importance of sustainability in the textile and apparel industry. Upcycling clothes is one of the best ways to boost their... Read More

New Higg Brand And Retail Module for More Sustainability

Sustainability is more important than ever before for the fashion industry as a whole. Brands and retailers have a key role to play to transform the current wasteful and polluting... Read More
sports bra
sustainable energy

Sustainability Still Going Strong During The Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has a huge negative impact on the economy, jobs, and livelihood of many people around the world. The coronavirus creates an unprecedented worldwide crisis that puts the... Read More

Getting Rid of Clothes After Weight Loss

Our body weight fluctuates over time and old clothes might not fit anymore. It's a very common problem to have clothes that are too big or too small, especially after... Read More
weight loss clothes
woman sweater

How to Choose The Best Clothing Fabric For You

What is the best fabric type for your clothing? There are so many choices and qualities to consider to find the perfect fit for your figure, fashion taste, and lifestyle.... Read More

What Happens to Clothes When You Return Them

It's now faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before to buy and return clothes. With the rise of fast fashion and online commerce over the last 20 years, many apparel... Read More
What Happens to Clothes When You Return Them


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing