A short blog post this Friday showcasing some of my favorite off-kilter products, blogs and brands that believe in a different kind of consumerism-the one where neither nature nor animals or humans are harmed, which is sustainable, eco-friendly, organic and fair-trade or promotes cruelty free fashion. This is not a sponsored post of any kind but a reflection of my quest for products that are cruelty-free and fashion that is not dictated by mindless hedonism. I am showcasing them on my blog based on my personal purchase experience, which has been extremely satisfying. Readers are requested to check these brands/websites out since they are honest alternatives to the black hole that is the retail industry which rests mainly by exploiting workers in developing countries or propagates the cruel industry practices of wool-shearing and leather tanning that causes animal suffering and death. These are my favorites:
CRUELTY FREE APPAREL: SYNERGY ORGANIC CLOTHING
This Santa Cruz brand is creating new waves in fun fashion wear for women which is ethical and honest to its core, and rests on the laurels of being certified green business due to its practices in sustainability and recyclability. The garments are made of eco-friendly, certified organic cotton by Nepalese women saved from human trafficking who are engaged in fair trade for a sustainable living. I recently purchased one of their dresses (took in my regular size) and was very happy with their prompt shipping and packaging. Plus, the dress fit to the T and was of very good quality (soft, stretchy cotton). I highly recommend this merchant for their cruelty-free fashion and right now they even have 40% off their sales items! Returns are refunded within 21 days of purchase but shipping costs are born by the buyer.
CRUELTY FREE ACCESSORY: ANGELA & ROI
This is my favorite accessories brand which sells luxury handbags but minus the cruelty, i.e. no leather or other animal products used to make your arm candy. Instead, very high quality Excellent Polyurethane Leather (EPU) is used along with other natural fabric, plus gold plated hardware to provide structure, elegance and polish to the finish. The company was co-founded by real life partners Angela &Roi over cocktails in Boston and now their amazing team in NYC brings that vision to life, one beautiful vegan leather creation at a time. These bags are elegant, luxurious and meet the highest standards of form and function. The best part about this brand is its strong commitment to philanthropy, be it partnering with ASPCA to eradicate animal cruelty or donating a portion of their sales to different causes such as cure of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autism or raising awareness for mental health issues. I am huge fan of this brand and am a loyal, repeat customer (own three of their bags which are AMAZING), thanks to their great products, friendly customer service and prompt shipping. The bags are expensive, mind you, but a very small price to pay for ethical, honest, cruelty free fashion which are as good as or even better in quality and finish than their counterpart luxury brands made from leather. Well structured with an eye to detail, Angela & Roi is in a quest to provide the best luxury bags that are out and proving that fashion need not be entrenched in cruelty. From totes that fit in everything to clutches and stylish messengers, they have it all! They engage in fair-trade and ethical practices and are strictly against child labor. Finally-free shipping and returns, yay!
Those of us seeking leather/shearling/suede free footwear know that it is a living nightmare to do so, since our options are so severely limited. But that scenario is changing rapidly, thanks to several ethical, vegan leather brands stepping up their game and producing a wide variety of vegan leather/suede shoes for both genders and all occasions. Although there are several players in this game such as Vegan Chic and Matt & Nat (known primarily for their bags but have recently forayed into footwear), I am going to focus on Moo Shoes and Modcloth since these are the two retailers I have purchased from. Moo Shoes is named so after the MOO of happy cows that are not slaughtered for their leather and this brand showcases various kinds of footwear made of high quality vegan leather from different manufacturers from all over the world. The company has it brick and mortar store on both coasts in LA and NYC and I loved my last purchase, a lace up pair of dressy oxfords, when I visited LA. Additionally, Moo Shoes plays an active role in all kinds of animal welfare and raises awareness for shelter pet adoption.
Modcloth is another online retailer of apparel and accessory and have a large selection of all kinds of cruelty free fashion accessories and shoes made of man-made materials. I own three of their pairs (ballerina and two oxfords) and love them to bits. As is customary, buying shoes online can be tricky. For Moo Shoes, the return is a refund or store credit within 30 days of receipt minus the shipping cost. For Modcloth, returns are free but unlike apparel, the shoes have to go back in their original shoe-box placed in a larger box on which the postage stickers should go. Update: Modcloth now retails via Walmart, the American retail giant notorious for its labor policies. I have decided to no longer support Modcloth and urge my readers to do the same.
CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS/MAKEUP : LE LABO/EO PRODUCTS
Le Labo is a Brooklyn based cosmetics company focusing on doing good, i.e. no animal based ingredients or animal testing and no dangerous phthalates or preservatives or parabens in their perfumes, lotions, shampoos, soaps and conditioners! They are one of the few companies to have obtained PETA’s cruelty free stamp of approval. I have tried and tested their Rose 31 line of products (shampoo, body bar and conditioner) and love the mild, yet lingering fragrance of rose. They have been recently acquired by Estee Lauder, which indulges in animal testing, but so far, they seem to be doing good. Finally, Canadian brethren rejoice, because many of their products are manufactured in north of the border.
EO products is a California based company which is hella certified in everything kosher-aka, GMO free (first personal care company to be deemed so), Certified organic and gluten free, certified cruelty free (they have the famous leaping bunny sign on their products which stands for 100% cruelty free ingredients and no animal testing), certified OTC manufacturer and B. Corp (putting people and planet before profits). Their products are made from natural ingredients and extracts of essential oils minus any harmful heebie-jeebies. I use their “Everyday” line of face wash and lotion, which is very mildly perfumed, amazingly gentle on my oily, sensitive skin and leaves it fresh and glowing. Another brand tried and tested by me and highly recommended.
CRUELTY FREE BLOG: CRUELTY-FREE KITTY
When it comes to cosmetics and make-up products, there is even less transparency in terms of ingredients and animal testing. It is therefore good to know what is going on your skin and if any kind of cruel practices went into making your favorite lipstick. Cruelty-free Kitty is this manna from heaven guiding us through the treacherous waters of cosmetics and leading us to numerous alternatives and ethical brands not engaging in malpractices of using harmful chemicals or animal testing. Do have a look and you will be buying beauty products with a much better peace of mind! CFK also focuses on pet food sources and bewares buyers against brands that test pet food on animals.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you get to try some of these products that may be out of your comfort zone. Running to the drug store and getting your familiar stuff is easy peasy, but doing some research and giving these eco-and animal friendly products a chance is definitely going to get you a lot of good karma! Read my other post on the slow fashion movement here.