Is Seattle ready for a vegan boutique?

Let’s hope so! Because I’m opening one.

That’s right. I haven’t posted very often lately because I’ve been busy planning a big new project.

After watching The True Cost and reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion I decided to change my buying habits. I love to thrift and swap, but I’m also guilty of getting sucked into fast fashion trends. And while an $8 skirt is hard to resist, as soon as I realized why some apparel is so cheap—and that someone somewhere is paying in blood, sweat, and tears—the urge to buy, buy, buy went away.

I started looking for places to buy clothing that are gentle on the environment, are sweatshop-free, and aren’t made from animals, and I realized there’s no place like that in Seattle. Was I supposed to provide this store? I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. For the past year, I’ve been researching and planning.

Last week, I signed the lease on a space in Capitol Hill and I quit my corporate job!

I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’ll be getting the store space ready for a grand opening in May 2016. If you’d like to follow along with my new adventure, check out www.drizzleandshine.com or @drizzleandshine on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

DrizzleAndShine-Logo-Vertical-RGB-Small

I’ll still be writing about vegan and animal rights issues on this blog and I hope to pick up the pace of my posts again soon.

Fashion revolution: Who made your clothes?

Today is one of those days where I think I should combine my fashion blog and my vegan blog. The topic on both is the same. See, it’s Fashion Revolution Day today. This day marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed over eleven hundred people and injured thousands more. Spotting vegan clothing is easy. No animal products? Check. But look behind the scenes and the human and environmental ramifications are big too.

I’m joining others as we ask, “Who made my clothes?” Check out Instagram hashtags for #fashrev, #whomademyclothes, #fashionrevolutionday, and #whomadeyourclothes for lots of inspiring photos. You might see photos of people wearing their clothes inside out to show the labels–transparency in fashion!

who made my clothes?

I know who made my clothes!

Lois Eastlund label

Lois Eastlund made my dress. It looks fantastic (even inside out) because it’s handmade and she paid a lot of attention to detail. She’s a NY-based vegan fashion designer and one of the founders of La Fashionista Compassionista–an awesome (and free) online magazine that you should get your hands on!

Lois Eastlund dress

Moses made my boots. They’re handmade in a factory in LA. The all-vegan company, Nicora Johns, is helping to keep the US shoemaking industry alive. When I bought my boots, I got a photo of Moses in the shop where he made these. No animals or humans harmed!

Nicora Johns boots

Crystalyn Kae made my purse. It’s glazed fabric. Another great leather alternative. I met Crystalyn when she was located in Seattle. She’s based in NYC now, but you can find her amazing bags in stores nationwide and on her website.

Crystalyn Kae purse

Roque from Get Hell Bent made my cuff. It’s made from recycled bicycle tires. I have three of her cuffs. They’re so edgy and tough!

accessories

I made my earrings! It’s fun to create. My simple drop-chain earrings were easy to make and have become my go-to pair. They match everything!

I don’t know who made my tights. So it’s not a perfect outfit. But thinking about where my clothing comes from has opened my eyes. I heard 1 in 6 people is employed in fashion. But who are they? What are their working conditions like? How environmentally friendly is the factory? Animal skins require so many chemicals to turn them into leather and not decompose. And leather is an inherently cruel industry.

Fashion isn’t perfect, but I love knowing where my clothes came from and who made them. My goal is to buy exclusively from sustainable, ethical companies. Sometimes that means things cost more. But do I really need thirty $8 tank tops? What if I had eight $30 tanks? They’d last longer, and I’d be putting my dollars where my values are.

Let’s start a revolution!

Vegan winter boots

I’m spoiled. I live in Seattle where winter is essentially mild and wet. Any pair of rubber rain boots will do. But I grew up in Canada, where I needed warm, insulated, waterproof boots for the salt, snow, slush, and frigid temperatures. If you’re looking for vegan winter boots to keep you warm, look no further.

Women

If Winters are cold in Canada, then look to Cougar, a Canadian company. They have a few vegan styles–and they know winter!

The Canuck 3 is a tall, waterproof nylon boot that comes in black or white and is cold-rated to -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

The Canuck by Cougar

The Cougar Como 2 is a nylon boot lined with polar plush. It’s also cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) and comes in black, white, or gunmetal.

Cougar Como2 boots

Then there’s the Minty 6, a shimmery polar-lined boot. It comes in black and, my preference, a space-age gunmetal. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

Cougar Minty 6

There’s a great vegan shoe store in Vancouver called Nice Shoes. They ship throughout the US and Canada in case you’re not nearby. Nice shoes has an amazing assortment of all types of footwear. They sell the Baltimore by Kamik, a waterproof, nylon bootie that’s cold-rated to -40.

Kamik Baltimore boots from Nice Shoes

If you want a bit of color, check out the red Minx by Columbia. They’re lined in faux fur and are cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit).

Minx boots by Columbia

Men

I won’t forget the fellows. I found a few styles of Men’s vegan winter boots too. Nice shoes carries Bogs, like this pair of Ultra Mid. They’re great on slippery surfaces, and are cold-rated to -40.

Bogs for men at Nice Shoes

There’s also the Utik, if you prefer a synthetic leather lace-up. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) with neat grommet details and red piping.

Utik boots from Nice Shoes

These Kamik Canuck boots are another option. They’re at Zappos.com, a great online shopping site where you can filter for style, size, and material. The Canucks are nylon, with lots of grip and a warm lining. The toggle at the cuff keeps out the snow.

Kamik men's boots on Zappos

The Ice Patrol by Vegetarian Shoes is an amazing boot. Not only are they sturdy and rugged, but they have metal grippers that fold out of the sole and act like mini crampons. Theses come in sizes 36 through 47 so they’ll fit a wide range of people, making them a great unisex boot. Plus, Vegetarian Shoes, as the name implies, is an all-vegan company so you know you’re getting an ethical boot and supporting a vegan company.

ice patrol boot by Vegetarian Shoes

The Snowdon, also by Vegetarian Shoes, is another shoe great for anyone. Like Dr. Marten’s or Converse, these work for men and women. The snowdon has ski-boot laces and is a sturdy, three-season boot for hikes or urban treks.

snowdon boots by Vegetarian Shoes

Youth and Kids

Columbia also makes youth sizes in styles like the Minx. They’re cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit) and are a woven synthetic textile with a faux-fur lining.

Minx youth sizes by Columbia

The Columbia Powderbug nylon boots are cold rated to and come in four cute patterns. The toggle helps keep the snow out.

Columbia youth Powderbug boots

Bogs are a great option for men, women, and especially kids (with their fun patterns and easy pull-on handles). Not all Bogs are vegan, but the kids’ boots seem to be. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs and flowers?

Bogs for kids

I hope the examples above will give you a good starting point for your winter boot shopping. Let me know what your favorite vegan winter boots are!

 

The Seed NYC

Today my parents and I visited The Seed NYC, a plant-based event featuring vegan food and wares, speakers, cooking demos, and more! Even before I arrived, I knew I was almost there. Mercer Street turned into Vegan Street.

vegan cars

The Cinnamon Snail was out front–what a great place to grab a bite. I’d heard excellent things about this award-winning food truck and never had the chance to try their dishes (until today).

Cinnamon Snail

I made a grand entrance:

the seed

Then, I looked at fantastic companies–from artichoke water (very refreshing) to chocolate truffles (deliciously decadent). I saw Upton’s Naturals–makers of my favorite vegan bacon–and Taft Foodmasters, a new-to-me company that makes great seitan for gyros.

Seed food collage

The Regal Vegan, a company that makes great dips and spreads, had a booth too. Their Faux Gras is fantastic!

regaln vegan

I jumped on the chance to buy a Gunas handbag for a fraction of the original price. I liked all their bags, especially this little cross-body bag. My mom liked a neat white purse with a combo-lock closure. I ended up with the yellow and cream number on the rack.

gunas

I said hi to Lois Eastlund, a fantastic NYC-based designer (and of course I bought one of her dresses–that makes four!). I saw Miakoda clothing too (I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while now). Michelle Leon Vegan had fantastic vegan belts made of recycled plastifc bottles. They were soft as suede and included a cool buckle. She carries a line of vegan jewelry too. Gorgeous!

seed clothing collage

There was message gear too, from a number of organizations. Animal advocacy groups I know well were there too: Sea Sheppard, Mercy for Animals, Evolve for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. Others, like Darwin Animal Doctors, I didn’t know before today, and I was glad to learn about the great work they do.

Darwin Animal Doctors

I got to hear Jenny Brown, cofounder of Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, speak about farmed animals and why veganism is the compassionate answer to the cruelty in our food system. Earlier this year, I reviewed her book, The Lucky Ones, on this blog, and it was an honor to meet her.

jenny brown

I even got to meet Tha Vegan Dread, who happened to be visiting NYC for his birthday. He said I was cute <blush>. Of course, I asked for a photo with him and his vegan bodybuilder friend.

Tha Vegan Dread

I always love meeting other vegans and learning about new products, sanctuaries, and organizations. If you’re in NYC this time next year, check out The Seed. For more about the experience, check out my mom’s account on her blog.

Vegan gloves for all occasions

I’ve linked to a lot of products in this post and I’m sure, over time, some of the links will break. If you can’t find a product, let me know–or search the web for the terms I’ve mentioned in the links. Thanks!

Looking for cruelty-free gloves? Sometimes the little items are the hardest to swap out for vegan versions. I’ve scoured the Internet and found vegan alternatives for some of the most popular types of gloves.

Mechanix framer glovesWork gloves – Whether you’re working on your car or on a construction site, work gloves need to protect. Luckily, you can still be safe and cruelty-free. Ironclad makes their Super Duty glove using synthetic materials.

Mechanix also has vegan safety gloves (made with Clarino), like their Framer, the Safety M-Pact 2 and the OutDry, which is machine washable.

Garden gloves – For light garden work, a fabric glove is just fine. Rubber palms and fingers keep out moisture and help with grip. If you really need protection and durability, the Pallina men’s glove is heavy duty and will serve your landscaping needs. Women’s Pallina gloves are also available. I’d use a general purpose Mechanix glove in in the garden too.

Motorcycle gloves – A lot of motorcycle apparel manufacturers sell non-leather gloves. Sometimes because they’re a better price, and sometimes because they’re better in all types of weather. Read the description carefully though. Some still have leather palms or knuckles.aerostich vegan gloves

Motorcycle Superstore carries a lot of gloves, including men’s winter gloves with synthetic suede palms by Alpinestars, men’s summer gloves with neoprene and lycra by Scorpion, women’s waterproof gloves by Dainese, and women’s summer gloves with synthetic palms by Joe Rocket.

Aerostitch sells vegan gloves for summer and winter. Both will protect your hands from wind, bugs, rocks and pavement.

Cycling gloves – Most sports shops will have non-leather glove options. A few examples include these North Face men’s cycling gloves and these ones by Ventura.

Weightlifting gloves – I’ve found several vegan weightlifting gloves, like these women’s weightlifting gloves by Shiek and this pair of men’s gloves by Valeo. Vegan bodybuilders will appreciate the New Grip lifting gloves, from a company that specializes in all animal-free products.

Vehement vegan glovesBoxing gloves – You can find vegan boxing gloves, like this pair of Everlast wrist wrap gloves and this heavy bag pair. But if you want vegan gloves from an all-vegan, fair-trade company, you’ll treat yourself to a pair of Vehement gloves. Vehement makes gloves for men and women. They won’t get cracked and brittle and they won’t absorb odors.

Baseball gloves – Most baseball gloves are made using leather but after searching the net, I’ve found a few vegan options, from cheap gloves on amazon to custom-made pro gloves by The Carpenter Trade Company. Synthetic versions are harder to come by at the moment, but they’re the future of baseball, according to people like Scott Carpenter, owner of a high-quality synthetic glove company.

Winter gloves – When you need warmth, check out Underarmour. UA makes a few styles of gloves. The men’s ColdGear Infrared  Storm Stealth Gloves are made with nylon, polyester, and synthetic leather. They make a woman’s glove too that appears to be all synthetic. Maybe the stylish colors of Columbia’s Whirlibird Insulated Gloves are more your style. Gentlemen, the Tumalo Mountain Ski Glove might be just what you’re looking for.

Fashion gloves – Fashionable leather-look gloves are available too, especially at department stores that offer a variety of price points. Often the faux leather gloves are the budget alternative, but they’re still stylish and come in a range of colors and styles. I’ve seen them at JC Penney and Target before.

There are lots of more glove styles and I know I haven’t covered them all. What type are you looking for?

Vegan motorcycle jackets

I’ve already written about motorcycle safety gear for the avid rider, but what about the moto look for fashion? You won’t need to be protected, but if you want to look good and steer clear of leather, you’ve got options!

Here’s the classic James Dean style jacket–with a twist: The pleather is quilted. I love this jacket and recently got it on sale at Aeropostale. You can find a lot of faux leather options at this place. And unlike leather, you won’t have to worry about a little rain.

classic jacket

For guys, how about this faux suede moto jacket? It’s a Perry Ellis design from Nordstrom. My husband didn’t mind the faux. He was happy actually, and pointed out that a lot of high-end cars use Alicante (a durable, water-resistant faux suede) in their interiors.

faux suede

If you don’t need to replicate the look of leather but love the moto style, check out a few other options like this brown velvet version and a bright yellow cotton one. The velvet jacket is from Forever 21 and the cotton one I found (new) on eBay.

velvet and cotton

I couple of other takes include a blush pink number from JC Penney and a fabric and pleather one also from Forever 21.

leather alternatives

I recently spotted a slew of great motorcycle jackets in the Macy’s juniors department. These are by American Rag and come in a lot of great shades.

faux leather jackets

So far, most of the jackets I’ve shown are lower end, often juniors, and they’re likely faux because faux is often cheaper (for the younger demographic). But you don’t have to go cheap to go faux. Vaute Couture, the vegan fashion house out of Brooklyn, makes a great classic moto jacket in v-wool for men and women and waxed canvas, also in men’s and women’s sizes.

Vaute jackets (photo c/o Vaute Couture)

You can check out Alternative Outfitters too, a vegan online retailer, to find jackets that are cruelty-free. Other stores like Free People and ModCloth are good sources too and carry cute vegan options. Do a search on their sites for vegan or faux and you’re bound to find something.

No matter what price point or style you’re looking for, you can avoid animal skins easily, thanks to the abundant choices we have these days. Happy shopping!

6 ways to help animals this season

It’s December already and that means it’s the season of giving. In the spirit of Christmas, here are a few ways you can help animals:

Become vegan – Not eating animals is the number one thing you can do to help them. If you’re an animal lover, start your plan to transition to veganism today! You can find links on the right that will take you to sites that offer starter kits with recipes and nutritional info.

Don’t give animals as gifts – A dog or a cat is a ten to twenty year commitment. Giving an animal as a gift is giving someone a boatload of responsibility–and expenses! If someone isn’t ready for that, it’s likely their new animal will end up in a shelter. If you know someone really is ready for a companion animal, consider giving a gift certificate to a pet supply store. They’ll definitely need it when they have to feed and care for their new animal.

Adopt, don’t shop – If you’re planning to add an animal to your household, and all family members are on board, visit local shelters, rescue groups, or check out the nationwide network on petfinder.com. Contrary to what some people think, purebred and young animals are available for adoption. Then again, older animals are usually calmer and house-trained. They’re often a great choice.

Rescued animals are great, but they'll steal your heart--and your bed.

Give to charities that don’t exploit animalsGiving livestock to a poor family in a developing nation might sound noble but it’s a burden for people who can barely feed themselves. Instead of giving to organizations that give animals, consider supporting ones like Vegfam, Trees for Life, or Plenty. These groups work with local communities to provide plant-based meals, education, disaster relief, and clean water.

Sponsor an animal – What do you give someone who has everything? How about sponsoring an animal in their name? You can choose from farm animals, rescued primates, dogs and cats, or wild animals at a number of sanctuaries. Every animal rescue group needs funds, and many offer official sponsor programs, like Pig Peace, PAWS, Farm Sanctuary, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW, Soi Dog (Thai street dog rescue), and the Performing Animal Welfare Society.

Give swag – Message gear is a fun way to give to someone, support a great cause, and spread the pro-animal message. If you know someone who supports animal causes, why not give them something from those groups? From chimpanzee wine, message mugs, cookbooks and vegan slogan T’s, there’s something for everyone.

photos (c) Herbivore

These are my ideas for helping animals during the holiday season (not that we have to limit ourselves to just December). Do you have any other ideas?