Not all people are aware, but adopting a vegan lifestyle means more than removing animal products from your diet; it also involves being mindful about the clothes and shoes you wear, because yes, obtaining fabrics oftentimes means you have to sacrifice animal lives, with the most common examples being leather and wool.
Satin is also fabric, and it’s commonly used to make clothing, namely lingerie, nightgowns, blouses, and it’s even used for the production of pointe shoes for use in ballet.
Is satin a vegan fabric? Fortunately, modern satin is made from polyester and rayon, which are both vegan-friendly, however, originally, satin was made using silk, which was extracted from a silkworm’s cocoon.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about satin.
What is Satin?
Satin can be traced back to medieval China, where it was made exclusively with silk, a fiber that is spun by silkworms when they form the cocoons before becoming moths. The weave originated in the port city of Quanzhou, which was named Zaitun in medieval Arabic, which explains the name satin.
Satin isn’t just a soft, shiny fabric that can be used to make fancy dresses. A satin weave is comprised of many types of fabrics, and it can be used to make various products, including dresses, gowns, lingerie, and as I’ve mentioned, the pointe shoe ballet dancers use.
Alongside plain weave and twill, satin is one of the three major textile weaves. The satin weave allows manufacturers to create a fabric that is soft, shiny, and elastic with a beautiful drape. Satin fabric is known for its soft and lustrous surface, which is a result of the different satin weaving techniques.
What Are The Different Types of Satin?
There are different types of satin, and they vary based on what fibers are used in the weave, and which type of satin weave is used, for example, here are a few examples of satin weaves:
- Polysatin: This is satin woven from polyester threads.
- Charmeuse satin: This satin is called charmeuse because it is derived from the French word “charmeuse”, which stands for charming. It is lightweight with an easy drape, as well as a shiny front and a dull back.
- Baronet satin: This satin uses rayon warp threads and cotton weft threads.
- Antique satin: Antique satin uses unevenly spun yarns as the weft threads, and is woven in 5 harnesses or 8 harnesses, which are two different satin weaves.
- Duchess satin: This satin is stiffer and has less of a glow than standard satin, and it’s usually dyed in colors and used for dresses.
- Messaline satin: This type of satin is very lightweight and is quite glowy, and it’s typically woven from rayon or silk.
- Slipper satin: The form of satin is tightly woven, and it’s a medium-weight fabric that can be used to make shoes, accessories, and clothing.
- Crepe back satin: This satin is reversible, with one side having a lustrous, shiny finish, while the other has a more wrinkly surface.
Most will be vegan-friendly, except for the ones that might be woven from silk, like Messaline satin, though that is not always the case.
Are Satin and Silk The Same Thing?
Satin and silk are two entirely different things – for example, satin is a weave, while silk is a natural fiber. Satin can be created by using silk or other fabrics, so even though there’s a relation, they’re not the same.
Silk has a strong strong, shimmering appearance, and satin has a glossy surface and a dull back. Silk is harder to produce as it requires thousands of silkworms (sadly), and it’s also more expensive when compared to satin, as satin can be woven from completely synthetic fibers.
Is Satin Vegan?
Yes, modern satin is mostly vegan, as it’s created from synthetic fabrics, however, some manufacturers might occasionally use silk, which is taken from silkworms, a fabric that isn’t vegan.
Most modern satin is produced from polyester and rayon, which are both synthetic fibers. Polyester is derived from petroleum, which is probably one of the world’s most popular textiles, while rayon is made from natural sources of regenerated cellulose, namely wood and other agricultural products.
Is Satin Sustainable?
Satin is not a sustainable product, as it’s often woven with synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon, which are both very harmful to the environment and wildlife.
Both are made from petrochemicals, and they’re non-biodegradable, which means they can’t be decomposed or dissolved by natural agents, so they can remain on earth for thousands of years, which causes severe environmental problems, like pollution, block drains, and harm animals.
Is Satin Silk Vegan?
Satin silk is a common type of satin, and it’s basically a satin weave made with silk.
Silk is a type of fabric that vegans avoid, as most vegans don’t like how silk is retrieved, and deem it as animal exploitation because the silkworms end up dying as a result.
However, there is a silk alternative that doesn’t result in the silkworms dying, which is a process that may be more attractive to a few vegans. It’s called Eri silk, and it’s basically silk that the Eri silkworms leave behind after converting into moths.
Because there is no death involved in the process, some vegans find it more appropriate.
Is Charmeuse Satin Vegan?
Charmeuse is basically one form of satin weave, and it’s generally lightweight and drapes easily. It can be made with silk or any other synthetic lookalike such as polyester, but the silk charmeuse is very expensive and delicate, therefore you should definitely see it reflected on the prices of the final product.
If the charmeuse satin is made from silk, it’s not suitable for vegans, but if it’s made from polyester, it’s vegan, even though polyester is an incredibly unsustainable material – and also has an impact on the environment and wildlife.
Is Polyester Satin Vegan?
Technically, polysatin is considered vegan, but that’s because there is no animal derivative in the final product, however, polyester, the synthetic fabric used to create this form of satin is not entirely cruelty-free.
Polyester is one of the most harmful fabrics in the world, as it’s created from petrochemicals, and because it’s so cheap and much easier to obtain, it encourages fashion overproduction and waste.
Additionally, because it relies on pulling more oil and coal out of the ground, there is tremendous energy expenditure and a lot of greenhouse gas emitted, which makes it very environmentally impactful.
Pollution is also a big problem, as many factories produce polyester without wastewater treatment systems, which can lead to the release of potentially dangerous substances such as antimony, cobalt, manganese salts, sodium bromide, and titanium dioxide into the environment.
However, perhaps the biggest issue for vegans is that polyester does not biodegrade, which means that it can last in the landfill for decades or even hundreds of years. When you wash a polyester-based textile, that process releases plastic microfibers that often enter waterways and oceans, which are tremendously dangerous for the aquatic creatures that ingest them.
Therefore, you will have vegans that will also avoid purchasing polyester, even though polyester doesn’t come from an animal source.
Is Cotton Satin Vegan?
Cotton satin is also technically vegan because cotton is a natural fabric that is derived from plants, however, it’s not exactly good for the environment or animals, unless it’s grown organically.
Conventional cotton is grown with the help of synthetic agrochemicals, including fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants that are associated with cancer, hormone defects, and birth defects in animals and humans. Non-organic cotton also requires large volumes of water and energy to grow and harvest, which has led to over one-third of the world’s land being completely unusable.
Cotton is certainly a vegan fabric, but it’s much better if you purchase organic cotton, as it’s much more sustainable and healthy for the environment.
Modern satin is typically made with polyester and rayon, both of which are synthetic fibers, or in other words, they do not come from an animal source, therefore they’re vegan.
However, let me point out that some satin is still being made with silk, which is essentially a natural protein fiber obtained from silkworms. Because of this, satin made from silk is not vegan.
Some vegans claim that polysatin, which is basically satin made from polyester, should not really be considered vegan because it still harms the environment and wildlife.
Is satin natural or synthetic?
Satin can actually be made from either natural or synthetic fibers, as it can be made from different materials, including silk (a natural fiber), and polyester, which is a synthetic fiber made from petroleum.
Is satin breathable?
Yes, satin is quite breathable and also lightweight, which makes it a good material to use in the summer if you wish to keep yourself cool while walking around stylishly.
Does satin make you sweat?
No, satin does not make you sweet as it is a material that does not absorb moisture, nor does it have moisture-wicking properties, which means it’s unlikely you will have any sweet marks on your satin clothing.
Does satin shrink?
Yes, unfortunately, satin does shrink, therefore you should be really careful not to use warm or hot water when you wash satin, as you might see it shrink about 20% in size. But of course, if your goal is to shrink your satin fabrics, then all you have to do is wash them in warm or hot water.
Does satin wrinkle?
Satin is a type of material that doesn’t wrinkle as easily as other fabrics, mostly because it uses long filament fibers that are woven in a very tight fashion, making it less prone to have wrinkles.