Shop Like You Give a Damn – A Fashionably Vegan Blog: Naughty or Nice?

As someone who teeters a tad on Santa’s naughty list…ahem…NO COMMENT, I still feel swell because most of my choices are worthy of a gold star. So what if my late night debauchery concludes with many a wine bottle as a casualty?  Who cares if my priorities may need to be aligned every now and then?  Shall I afford groceries this week or that snappy little Charlotte Ronson frock from Two Elle?  I did NOT eat the last vegan red velvet cupcake. Chico did it.

I suppose living guilt-free will never really happen as vices small and large will always be the hurdles you face in life.  However, living cruelty-free is more attainable than you can even imagine.
Holiday Cards ($10) available at www.peta.org!
Whether you are currently vegan or not, I have hand picked some FABULOUS stocking stuffers to get you through the holidays.  These will certainly put a smile on the faces of not only your loved ones but also countless animals that you saved from being slaughtered for frivolous fashion, experimented on for vanity, and abused senselessly.

Get to know the issues and vow to ensure that all creatures have a Happy Holiday season!

Tata Harper’s Eco-friendly and toxin-free beauty products are all hand-made in Vermont and with a recent feature in Vogue, this collection will likely be a household name before long!  May I suggest the Starter Kit for you or yours?  Luxury for just $65!

Tom’s One for One mission which gives a child in a need a pair of Toms for each pair that you purchase has always led the compassionate way.  Their vegan collection is a notable movement in itself!  Snatch up a pair of the Love Is The New Black Men’s Classics for your fella and at $54, you can afford a matching pair for yourself!
Chico and Bellini are always at the top of my list, so I make sure to stock up on Max & Ruffy's vegan dog treats ($6.50-$9.50)!  These delectable dog charmers are made from scratch in Virginia using the finest, organic, and human-grade ingredients.  Chico approves of the Molasses Explosion flavor while Bellini prefers the W.P. Pizza.  You may choose from 6 hearty flavors that are available in mini bites or regular!
Luxury With A Conscience is the tagline for the self-titled company that gorgeous model Josie Maran founded in 2005.  I am personally addicted to the Magic Marker Lip + Cheek Stain ($19) and couldn’t imagine life without the Argan Oil Hair Serum ($30).  This anti-frizz treatment creates exceptional shine and is never greasy!
Seeking exquisite treats for grown-up palates? Allison’s Gourmet decadent cookies, brownies, caramels, chocolates, fudge, and toffee have been a delicious reason to be jolly this time of year.  Treat your boss, neighbor, or family to the Chocolate Lovers Gift Set ($45) and sign yourself up for the Cookie Of The Month Club which includes a dozen of their finest for $32 each month!  Sign me up. NOW.
Coined as the “Vivienne Westwood of eco” by Elle Magazine, Linda Loudermilk gets me giddy.  The Lily Top ($165) would make the perfect present for your bestie while the Wings dress ($225) is smashing for all of those holiday shindigs.  She can always borrow it, right?
Books always make the best gifts so try to make it by Davis-Kidd before they close up for good to pick these titles up!  These are my suggestions for some of the most interesting and informative that get the vegan stamp of approval!  Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron will enlighten.  The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone will inspire.  The Skinny Bitch series will make you howl out loud in laughter and bring awareness to a whole new level.  Trust me.  After reading this, I became a vegan.
Can’t forget the kiddies! Teaching kindness and values are what parents are for, so consider this adorable Animals Are My Friends tee for the little person in your life ($15).  Pair it with 100% organic cotton denim trousers from La Queue du Chat ($45) and this prodigy can take strides to change the world!
Lastly, I have already hinted that Green Wagon gift certificates are on my most wanted list to my circle of friends.  What could possibly be better than using them towards gallons of Booch Kombucha ($26), Purely Clear makeup brushes ($10-$20), and all of those delightfully GREEN workshops they offer?  I can’t think of anything, can you?

Happy Holidays!

XO, Marcia, Chico, and Bellini too!

Shop Like You Give A Damn - A Fashionably Vegan Blog: Jennifer Miller & Mission Savvy

This month, our vegan Fashionista, Marcia Masulla, interviewed the owner of Mission Savvy, Jennifer Miller.  Mission Savvy is an eco fashion boutique and animal rights project.  I recently got to see a Mission Savvy fashion show with Marcia and can attest to the fact that the clothes are as beautiful as the mission. Hello hello my compassionate darlings! I have quite the treat this week for all of you...

Last week, I was introduced to the beautiful (both inside & out) Jennifer Miller who was in town to showcase her collection for a fashion show. I was instantly smitten with her genuine passion and kind spirit. Jennifer is an inspiration to all and a true warrior for the Animal Rights movement. Check out this motivational video footage that was a part of her fashion show.

Pretty moving right?  If that didn’t make you reconsider some of your fashion choices, maybe the interview below will.

What motivated you to create a vegan collection?

I am not the designer of the clothes.  I am just the owner of the boutique and mission but work very closely with the designers in the US to fill Mission Savvy racks.

I was motivated by the need for a tangible, attractive object that could communicate animal welfare across all demographics. Something that would engage more people to talk about tough issues with out sensationalizing one side or the other.

My entire professional career has been working in the field, trekking the forests of Indonesia looking for orangutans, rehabilitating penguins oiled in Argentina and running shelter operations after natural disasters. I saw the best and the absolute worst of animal abuse and neglect. Our lives are so interconnected with each other yet organized human society draws very clear lines between us and them, sometimes intentionally as a result of cultural need, and other times unintentionally out of ignorance.

So I wanted a way to share true stories of animals in need, right now, today, this minute. After much thought and writing I chose fashion as my medium. Fashion that is produced with little impact on the environment: made locally, no toxic dyes or chemical treatments, no animal products and supporting safe labor laws.

How has this business model been created/been received along the way? My business model has organically shifted over the past several months into what now works for me. Initially, the idea of Mission Savvy was to have five clothing collections called “missions” that represent different issues in animal welfare. My first Spring collection was put together this way.

However, I quickly discovered that I needed to put the interests of my customers first rather than the design of each cohesive collection. Any business mentor would have (and did) tell me that! But I was determined to stick with the animal welfare themed idea no matter what, until I made the decision on my own.

Today, Mission Savvy is a well edited and accommodating collection that is inspired by my customers, women of all ages, all sizes, looking for true femininity and comfort in their garments.

When my customers discover that each garment belongs to a mission that is just icing on the cake!

Here are the five missions and a sample garment from each:

Dream – to support the rescue and retirement of circus animals (bright circus colors and accents)

Instinct – supports global wildlife conservation (tribal and exotic prints)

Voice – for the rescue of farm animals to permanent sanctuary (fitness and yoga collection)

Compassion – to support global animal rescue and emergency relief (neutral colors and relaxed styles)

Freedom – supports smart science without the use of animals (black and white collection)

How has animal rights changed your life? Being intrinsically connected with all living creatures has been innate in me forever.

Growing up I did not understand that the majority of society lives on an entirely different plane dividing our world and theirs. So when it hit me at age 14, I discovered the animal rights movement in all it's revealing, emotionally strong way. What started as a passionate quest fueled by immature actions has grown into a professional career educating through science, psychology and spiritual understanding of our responsibility to nurture the world we are in.

However, every day is a struggle. With every step forward for animals there is one step backwards. Our demanding lifestyles are tolling not only on ourselves but on the rest of the world.

What IS changing, however, is the surfacing of human ugliness associated with animal abuse. A social recognition of abusive behavior and legal justice on behalf of our sentient friends that suffer from very little protection. We are slowly getting there because so many of us are churning the momentum....more than ever!

Who are some of your style muses? I've always been inspired by people around me. The average person that may go unnoticed, the effortless beauty with perfectly matched style/personality/movement. I love the refreshing influence of meeting new people with clear style confidence. Simplicity is at the root of all my style muses.

What current style trends bring you glee?

In general, I try to steer clear of trends and really select styles that are timeless and will transition from season to season. For me, it's important to eliminate consumer waste as much as possible. 75% of our tossed apparel ends up in land fills and 77 million people in Bangladesh suffer from arsenic poisoning due to the mass manufacturing of apparel. Slowly integrating well-designed, eco fashion pieces into your wardrobe is sustainable for the world without having to loose self expression through personal style.

In terms of fabrics though, I love tencel/bamboo blends which are relatively new to the eco market. I have a number of garments in Mission Savvy's collection with this blend. It is the most comfortable fabric for any style from a dolman tee to a super sexy dress and it is shrink and wrinkle resistant.

Shudder?

Anything that is so extremely disposable and of the moment. There are trends that come into fashion that last a pretty long time and transition well from year to year. However, there are fast fashion trends that really annoy me like this Fall's military theme. It's not the trend so much but the reproduction of garments to look like garments that already exist. You can pull off the military look this Fall by shopping at a local vintage shop rather than going to Charlotte Rouse and buying a crisp, new, freshly dyed and chemically treated army jacket with fake patches.

What are some short-term and long-term goals with your collection? In the short term, I am working to expand Mission Savvy's storefront in Charleston, WV, creating a collection for the demographic here that is realistic to their needs. It is important to me that issues like eco fashion and animal welfare integrate with societies that are not saturated with these liberal ways of thinking. It's the only way we are going to reach change! Also in the short term, I want to get Mission Savvy back on the road. I had a fantastic Spring and Summer taking the collection from NYC to California to Asheville, NC. Making it accessible to everyone is important.

In the long term, my ultimate goal for the company is to be able to financially support the animal welfare missions at a level that they can continue to do the work they need to do on the ground. My favorite organization that Mission Savvy supports this year is the Jakarta Animal Aid Network which is a group of veterinary volunteers that protect animals from abuse, trade and neglect across Indonesia. Right now they are working at the volcano site of Mt. Merapi to get animals treated and into shelters.

What other cruelty-free fashion + beauty brands do you love?

1. Mink Shoes – a vegan AND eco brand designed by Rebecca Mink

2. Golden Path Alchemy skin care

3. GG2G Handbags – reasonably priced and they also donate a % of profits to Farm Sanctuary

4. and there is absolutely nothing like a Vaute Couture trench coat

Be sure to check out the Mission Savvy collection here: http://www.missionsavvy.com

Let me know your thoughts and ideas. See you next month!

Products We Love: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils

For years, I searched for the perfect eye pencil.  I wasn't asking for much.  Just a pencil that didn't feel like I was ripping my eyelid when I applied it and one whose color didn't disappear before lunch time.  

I'd been using eyeshadow as eyeliner for years, since I hadn't found the perfect pencil until that summer day I went to the Cosmetic Market.  A new eye pencil was not on my list, but we all know I am hard pressed to stick to my list here.  Holly always finds products for me that I end up loving and somehow we started talking about eye pencils.  (I've known Holly since her days at UAL, where she always found clothes I liked too.  I should know better, right?)  She raved about Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils.  She was impressed with how the color just glided on and once the color set it was waterproof so it really had some staying power.  Of course after that glowing review, I had to try it.  (Read this as...yes, I really am a sucker.)  So in my bag went a brand new eggplant eye pencil called Rockstar.
Everything Holly told me about this eye pencil was dead on.  It's the most gentle pencil I have ever used and the color really does stay put all day.  Finally, I can line my lower lid and the inside of my eye (which was not an option using shadow) and not worry about having to reapply it later in the day.
I also love that Urban Decay is a cruelty free company and another one of their products is a favorite of mine, but I'm saving that one for a separate post.  The 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils come in a rainbow of really cool colors and some of them are even vegan.  (Look for the cute little paw print on the packaging to know if a product is vegan.)  The metallics are my favorite.  I went back a couple weeks ago and bought a green/gold metallic called Stash, which I realized later was one of the vegan colors.  If you're wondering if there is any difference between the two pencils since the formulations are a little different, the answer is no.  For me, Stash glides on just as easily and has the same staying power as Rockstar.

I am, of course, addicted to these pencils now and am trying to figure out what my next color will be.  I could use basic black (Zero), but how can I pick that when there are so many fun shades to choose from?  Any suggestions on what color I should go for next?

Do you have a favorite eye pencil or liner you can't live without?  Share please!  Looking for more information on cruelty free cosmetics?  Read Marcia's latest guest blog on cruelty free beauty products.
 




Shop Like You Give A Damn - A Fashionable Vegan Blog: Cruelty Isn't a Good Look on You

This month, our favorite Vegan fashionista, Marcia Masulla, talks to us about cruelty free beauty products and gives us a few fantastic cruelty free product options along with some handy tools to help us find beauty companies who don't animal test.


Cruelty Isn't A Good Look on You

Fashion is so much more than just the fabric we stretch across our bodies or the straps and stilts on our feet.  It is also a dynamic yet stubborn part of culture that also translates to our lifestyles.





I considered this when I evaluated my daily beauty prep rituals that (hopefully) accent my best features in hair, face and body.  Did you know that American women spend more than 7 billion dollars annually on beauty each year? This is per a report titled, Beauty At Any Cost, published by the YWCA in 2007.  This averages out to about $100 per month per American woman.  Regardless of the current economic climate, us ladies value feeling and looking good!  When I made the decision to go Vegan, I also came across some very harrowing information.  Many of the products I used daily to brush my teeth, shave my legs, even out my skin tone, highlight my eyes, and even spritz on my neck were tested on innocent animals.



These living and breathing creatures were bred or pulled from the streets and forced to go through painful and cruel conditions so I could disguise a little acne on my face?  A sweet dog named Lola was confined and subjected to death instead of living her natural life because I needed to have softer and shinier tresses?  I felt my stomach turn at the absolute insanity of it all.  I knew I had to help stop these deplorable experiments and besides spreading the word through my work, my money had to do the talking.  Since I am a part of all of that cash being spent yearly, I vowed to boycott using any products that tested on animals.  Veganism also outlines that none of the ingredients used to make these products should be derived from animals either.

Here is a link to more information so that you can be informed on this issue and if you feel compelled, take the pledge to go cruelty free:
http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-testing-101.aspx


You may be thinking at this very second that this sounds like a tough commitment.  OR how can I really know who tests and who doesn’t?  Companies that do animal testing aren’t exactly advertising that they are taking innocent animals lives before their products hit the shelves.

Well you didn’t think I'd leave you hangin' did you dearie? Check out this helpful “Be Nice To Bunnies” iPhone application that makes shopping a breeze:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bnb/id313784933?mt=8

 

       Meanwhile, companies that don’t do animal testing hold their head high and are usually proud to let you know they aren’t down for cruelty.  Some simply state on their packaging that no animals were harmed, while others showcase kind little bunny icons.  Another reminder that these animals have a face and aren’t ours to mutilate.  Please consider this before you make your next purchase.
http://www.leapingbunny.org/ 

Here are some of my favorite beauty products that value compassion and life. 

Kiss My Face Mandarin Ginger Lily shower/bath gel - $10.95




Bare Minerals Get Started Kit - $60




Paul Mitchell Super Charged Moisturizer - $24
L’occitane Neroli Eau de Parfum - $66


The Body Shop Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash - $13







Smashbox Photo Finish  SPF Foundation Primer - $42


Kiss My Face Maple Sugar lip balm - $3.50




Urban Decay Vegan Palette with eyeshadows + eyeliner + primer - $34








Origins Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer with White Tea – $38


 




Stila lip and cheek stain - $24

 

Hard Candy nail polish - $5



Share with me what cruelty-free products you are obsessed with and also where you purchase them. Take a stand for animals and look fabulous while doing so!

Thanks Marcia!

Definitely take a minute to look at the list of cruelty free companies found on LeapingBunny.org.  It's an impressively long list, with many names you'll recognize, making it that much easier to make a cruelty free choice.





Shop Like You Give A Damn - A Fashionable Vegan Blog

Our favorite fashion maven, Marcia Masulla, is back and this month she takes on Fall's hottest trends...vegan style.
The Cat’s Meow 

The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands 
something more than this. – Mark Twain


Most of you who are reading this were already aware that curves and fur were both predominant on the runways several months ago.  Now these fleshy concoctions have made their way into major retailers and boutiques for the impending Fall and Winter seasons.  You are probably addicted to the current episodes of Mad Men that are filled with lewd acts, and more importantly, the vivacious Joan Holloway too.  Dressing like a lady wasn’t an option back then, but an absolute must, as Joan, Peggy, and many of Don’s flavors of the month expertly showcase. 


Arguably, there isn’t anything better for your curves than a brilliant jewel tone belted dress and a little faux fur to set the tone for the chilly weather.  Kitten heels are also clawing their way out for comeback but this broad isn’t totally buying into the hype.  My gams MUST be showcased in towering heels to get the full va va voom effect!  Trust me, when you’re petite and have an hourglass shape, Sir Mix A Lot will be the only fan of legs that replicate tree trunks!  Admittedly cruelty-free designer Stella McCartney offers up nice options with her nude slingback kitten heels.  The flesh tone faux patent leather will assist in making my legs look as long as possible considering the missing 5 inches of height.  An added bonus: Prada’s knee high socks may add some interest to your legs and keep you warm at the same time.  I would just make sure to avoid wool because it’s not only terrible for the sheep, but your cankles as well!

There are MANY available options that deter away from using animals for their flesh.  Did you also know that we wreck havoc to the eco-system when we use chemicals to treat leathers, furs, and suede products?  Animals on fur farms such as raccoon pups are slammed to the ground, beaten, strangled and anally electrocuted for merchandise that is shipped to retailers in the U.S.  Many of these creatures are still alive and blinking while their skin is being ripped from their bodies for fur trimmed apparel and accessories.  Sorry to be harsh but it’s very much a reality.  Please consider being both compassionate and on trend when you choose Animal Prints in lieu of Animal Skins.  For more information on the cruel fur and leather trade industry, please head to www.furisdead.com and www.peta.org.  You can choose to make an informed decision on where you stand with this very important issue.

The envelope pushing Chanel with the magnificent Karl Lagerfeld at the helm is faking it on the runways with faux-fur.  This tweed coat can kill your savings account at $6,995 but let your jaw drop over these faux fur-licious boots!  Who needs the real thing when you can fake the funk like this? 

So maybe purchasing $2,000 faux-fur boots from Chanel isn’t in your near future.  Here are some of my favorite chic ideas for a cruelty-free + environmentally responsible wardrobe for the upcoming season.  You can thank me later by buying me a cocktail from the Patterson House, a filthy martini ……or two?


What Goes Around Comes Around is one of my favorite sources for vintage.  They also offer up dynamic vintage inspired collections that will make your heart flutter.  The Lucinda capelet adds charm and sass to both dressy and casual attire.  $198





This twist on the classic trench is made anew with charming wooden buttons and a detachable faux fur collar!  What a perfect topper over a vivid frock or some black slim pants….priced at an affordable $120 at www.dakotacollective.com

 
If you’re jealous of Fido and are aching for a little more fur, check out this wildly FABULOUS faux vest also from www.modcloth.com.  Made from 75% MODACRYLIC 25% ACRYLIC you can sleep better at night about your compassionate choices.  Treat yourself to two at just  $80!






 

Year after year, animal print accessories make their way to the front of the class.  Embrace this sophisticated yet tongue in cheek style by spicing things up a little. Accent your wardrobe of black, camel, denim, and red with a hint of your wild side.
The Baez bag has a canvas tiger print lined with faux suede lining and is the perfect bag for your day looks.  Priced at an affordable $135.

 


Perhaps you prefer to let your inner wild child out at night?  Mat & Nat’s Santogold made from neutral vegan leather and 100% recycled faux suede is the answer.  You may prowl the www.mattandnat.com website and with this $198 purchase you score free shipping!


 

Kate Spade seamlessly translates class and sass with her Fall collection of tailored pieces.  Jewel tones will surely get you noticed at work and at the lounge.
The rich tone of Kate Spade’s embellished Gail dress will make any girl want to twirl. You can check out the Kate Spade collection at Monkee’s in the Hill Center or at www.katespade.com for $425.

 

Black Halo has always designed sculptural dresses that are very aware of our womanly curves, but they created a true classic with their Jackie O dress.  This gorgeous below the knee stretch sateen number is available in jewel tone colors, classic black, and a vintage inspired floral print for $375.  A small price to pay for a dress you will wear for years to come.


I happen to love skipping a trip to my tailor because the cropped flare of these J Brand jeans will look smashing with the dreaded kitten heel, animal print cardigan, and crisp white shirt.  The perfect modern ladies who brunch outfit!  Head to www.shopbop.com for the best $159 you’ll spend this season!







How delish are these saucy little cardigan combinations?  Camel + faux fur make a major statement all the while conjuring up some mischief.  The little animal print + floral cotton cardigan are the best of both worlds!  Both are part of the Charlotte Tarantola Holiday collection and will retail for around $120.  For more information head to www.charlottetarantola.com.















Vivienne Westwood teamed up with plastic connoisseur Melissa Shoes to produce some girly kicks that include some of my favorites, The Lady Dragons ($130).  These fun peep toes are made from recycled plastic and will look fabulous with a full skirt, skinny cigarette pants, or your denim!  I chose the vivid red color because Don Draper certainly wouldn’t be able to keep his paws off of me. 

 

UK based Beyond Skin offers up incredibly comfortable and on-trend kitten heel and mid-heel options that will look cute and contemporary with the thick nubby knee-high sock trend Prada strutted down the runways.  You or nobody else will notice that these sturdy and sumptuous shoes are made from the finest faux-leathers! Prices range from $85-$220. Check out www.beyondskin.co.uk.




Snatch up a pair of Rachel by Rachel Roy Skinny Ponte pants that are actually a hybrid of leggings and pants.  These adorable cropped wonders will surely be a staple for work and play.  Your credit card will not sweat at the $89 price tag when you go to www.rachelroy.com.







 

Add this watercolor floral print blouse from Tulle as a topper for the Rachel Roy trousers shown above.  This pattern is inspired by pieces from the busty ladies cascading down the runways for Louis Vuitton.  The ruffles in the front and ¾ sleeve have a throwback 1960’s quality for a sliver of the price at just $53 at www.tulle4us.com.

 

Eco-friendly and Vegan collection Vaute Couture had a smashing NYC Fashion Week debut of their coat collection this year.  How could you not snatch up The Audrey as it grazes your calf and features a unique origami contrast to the already feminine silhouette?   It is also available in Black and this season’s favorite shade, Camel. www.vautecouture.com.
















 Mizzie and I are looking forward to Marcia's monthly posts on how to be fashionably vegan.  Regardless of whether or not you are vegan, there are some really cute and affordable options here.  Thanks Marcia! 

     

Clean Closet, Clear Conscience?

When our favorite fashion maven and animal activist, Marcia Masulla, took the plunge and went Vegan, we had to know how she was able to clear out that amazing closet of hers, replace it's contents with sustainable, cruelty-free products and still look so darn fashionable.  (Seriously, I've never seen her have a bad fashion day.)  In the first of what we hope will be a continuing guest blog series, Marcia delves into what made her decide to make this huge lifestyle change and how she's building her new sustainable wardrobe one pair of synthetic shoes at a time.
 

I have to admit that writing this blog was a bit of a struggle for me due to a lack of time and sluggish efforts from sheer laziness, amongst many other palpable excuses.  In theory, this could be the reasoning behind my lack of acquiring “Buns of Steel", learning the bass guitar, or spouting out more fluent terms than “Vive Bene” as homage to my Italian heritage.  Thank goodness for Carla and Mizzie’s gentle nudging for me to get my little blog out regardless of the firmness of my tush.

As an individual, I strive to make a positive impact and also yearn for learning experiences along the way.  Throughout the years, I have challenged myself to opening my mind to various causes and have taken the time to assist in making this world we live in a better place for all those who inhabit it.  Often times, this means you must open your eyes, ears, and soul to things you may have wished you never had to be exposed to.  Allow me to explain...
I became curious about the work that PETA was doing a couple of years ago, when I was browsing an issue of Vogue splattered with editorials filled with fur coats and accessories.  As a loyal soldier of the fashion industry for the last decade, it suddenly occurred to me that these products were the flesh of creatures that we murdered for our own vain attempts of being chic.  I shuddered at the thought of actually doing “research,” but I jumped online and typed in www.peta.org.  I figured the largest animal rights organization in the world would have precisely the information I was scouring for, right?  Did they ever…  How could I be so horrendously oblivious that many of my fashion heroes and their leggy muses support this kind of cruelty?  
I may struggle with sticking to a yoga regimen, but after months of research and a flourishing Vegetarian lifestyle, that I actually stuck to for a year, I made the life-changing choice to become a Vegan.  Yes my friends, that means no animal products whatsoever.  My closet was a massive sumptuous album for my life and I worked hard for everything that it contained.  Each piece had a story.  Goodbye beloved Frye leather motorcycle boots.  Sayonara Prada cashmere cardigan.  Adios wool Anna Sui overcoat with mink trim.  Did I mention I had to break up with a pair of vintage leather Gucci heels with tortoise shell embellishment and ALL of my purses?
How could a fashion aficionado such as myself continue to live without Louis, Marc, and Alexander?  Luckily, a loving, yet strong-willed friend dedicated an evening to Vegan-izing my closets with me.  We stacked several large boxes with layers of purses, shoes, jewelry, belts, etc.  Throughout the evening, I would wilt and start sharing romantic memories with various personal treasures and Elly would just smile and tell me that I had to keep going.  In the early hours of the next morning, our mission was complete.  I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t disclose that I cried for a bit, pouted, and was even silent as I reflected on my new lifestyle.  Boxes would soon be shipped to upscale consignment retailers throughout the country and I even brought a healthy batch of shoes to Designer Renaissance here in Nashville.  My shoe, belt, and purse collections went from Imelda Marcos to less than what most bachelor men possess. Yet, I stood there defiantly the next day and felt a surge of conviction as I challenged myself to build my style around sustainable and cruelty-free fashion. 
I’ve already decided that with my first check from the NYC based consignment store www.covetshop.com, I will treat myself to a taste of Stella McCartney.  Ms. McCartney is not only a promoter of Meat Free Mondays with her delightful father, Sir Paul, but she also leads by example with her beautiful collections that are completely cruelty-free.  Could she be more perfect?  Swooooooooon.


Reality TV star turned mogul, Kim Kardashian, also offers up shoes and purses on her newest project, www.shoedazzle.com.  You may sign up for a monthly membership that gives you access to Kim and her team of stylists who pick trendy kicks made out of synthetic and man-made materials for a set price of $39.95!  I can vouch these may be the most inexpensive shoes I have purchased in a long time, but they don’t fall short on the style meter.  Check out my most recent purchases:

  
Lastly, I must introduce you to designer and ethical advocate Elizabeth Olsen. Her Olsen Haus collection is not only socially responsible but stylish and well crafted as well.  Visit their website to learn more on the philosophy of this fantastic line.  Here are some of my must-haves for the steamy summer of fun ahead of us. I have a feeling my closet will be stocked again very soon...
Metallic and linen gladiator sandals are sophisticated yet edgy enough to be any dame’s summer staple.
These faux suede sandals are a bright, comfy, and cruelty-free option that would look fantastic with rompers, leggings, and flirty dresses.
I don’t mind being petite as long as I can slip on these woven satin gems to add a little height and sass.  Seriously, I may not eat meat any longer but I could totally eat these. Yum!

Who knows? Maybe Stella, Kim, and Elizabeth can teach the boys a thing or two about sustainable style.  If you'd like to learn more about cruelty-free consumer products, visit CaringConsumer.com and order your free 2010 Shopping Guide. 

Spending time with Marcia has truly inspired Mizzie and me to be more conscious about what we eat and what we wear.  I know I'm not ready to give up my Prada shoes, triple cream Brie or Cupcake Collection cupcakes just yet (although I have had some yummy vegan ones), but a few weeks of Meat Free Mondays have led my husband and me to make a conscious effort to not eat meat during the week.  I've also noticed myself checking labels on clothes and shoes more than I ever have before.  We owe it to ourselves and the environment to be more socially aware of where our food and other products we use and wear come from.  So thanks Marcia!  We can't wait to read what you've got for us in the coming months.




*Photos courtesy of stellamccartney.com, shoedazzle.com and olsenhaus.com.