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Compassion Couture Sale

17 Oct

I’m taking a quick blogging break due to feeling a bit under the weather this week, but wanted to pop by quick to let you know about this kick ass sale.

The ladies over at Compassion Couture (see my interview with Jill and Tracey here) are running a Vegetarian Awareness Month Sale. We’re talking 20% off on the chicest vegan shoes and handbags out there.  To take advantage of this discount, be sure to use the coupon code “VegAwareness” at checkout.

Also, don’t wait too long to place your orders, the sale ends October 21st.  Enjoy!

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How to Create a Cohesive Wardrobe

1 Oct

This post originally appeared last week on my column Vegan Vogue I write for I Eat Grass. If you haven’t stopped by I Eat Grass yet, be sure to do so!

It’s taken me years to finally curate for myself a wardrobe collection that all works together. Technically termed a “capsule” wardrobe, I can now wake up in the morning half asleep, in the dark, and pull anything from my closet and it’ll work together.

Here’s how I did it.

My Tastes Change, So Should My Wardrobe

There are two major fashion seasons of the year, spring and fall. With them comes a flurry of new fashion collections, styles and trends. Because of this, I try to keep my wardrobe fresh by cleaning out what I no longer like or wear twice a year, and then shopping to replace it with new stuff I adore.

Despite the fact I love fashion, I absolutely hate shopping.  Sticking to this twice a year model works great for me, being I knock it all out at once and I’m set for the season.  That way my look always looks current, I’m always excited to get dressed, I have plenty of space in my closet, and I’m not cluttered down with a mess of stuff that was last season that I no longer like.

I Have a Well Curated Basic Collection

Basics are the foundation of your wardrobe. Without them, it’s extremely difficult to style outfits for a variety of needs. Your basics can all be styled dressy or casual, so it’s very important to have a well stocked collection to make your other pieces work for you instead of against you. When getting dressed in the dark, a basic always makes up at least one component of my outfit.

I Only Like Certain Colors and Patterns, So I Stick With Them

Despite my trying, I’ve learned I absolutely hate florals and powder pink. So I no longer buy anything with those colors or design. I have however always loved leopard, stripes, geometric/graphic prints, and red, so I make sure my closet is filled with those options.

I’m also careful to evaluate this season to season in case my tastes change. For example, this past spring and summer I transitioned from loving red to loving neon yellow. I updated my wardrobe accordingly.

Mixing my favorite patterns and colors with my curated basic pieces creates my specific style, and allows me to now get dressed in the dark because everything goes together.

I Only Buy What Looks Amazing on Me, or I Get It Altered

No point to wearing anything if it doesn’t look good on you. It’ll just sit in your closet, or worse you’ll wear it and you won’t look your best. I won’t buy anything that doesn’t make me feel awesome about my current body and the way I look. If it’s close, but not perfect, I get it altered. End of story.

I Only Buy Items I Love

If you don’t absolutely love something to the point you just have to have it, there’s no reason it should be in your wardrobe. This also goes for anything trendy, or what you “think” you should have. If you don’t love it, you won’t wear it. It’ll just sit in the back of your closet as you wear the items you actually do love.

Not only does this take up valuable closet real estate, but it makes it harder to select what to wear because the pieces that work for you are buried among other stuff you’re meh about. By only having garments you love wearing right now, you’ll never run into this problem.

All these tips aside, there are still mornings I wake up when I have absolutely no idea what to wear. My go to look? All black. You can’t ever go wrong with it. It’s very NYC chic, and it always looks incredible and in style.

Does your wardrobe work for you, or against you?

Vegan Vogue is a lifestyle and style column focusing on all things in vogue and vegan. More tips from Corrie Feld can be found at her website Brooklyn Bliss. Follow her on Twitter @CorrieFeld

image credits: one | two | three | four | five

Vegan Versions / Sneaker Wedges

19 Sep

I’m kind of loving the whole sneaker wedge trend right now. Jim always loves to tell me on weekends when we go into Manhattan how I never wear appropriate footwear and should just wear sneakers. We always wind up missing the train because it takes me too long to teeter down the steps to the platform in whatever heels I’m wearing. I don’t usually like wearing flats, because I love the lengthening and slimming effect heels have on my legs. Sneakers would probably make this race a bit easier, but I’m too stubborn to budge.

So the way I view it, sneaker wedges are the perfect answer. Technically they’re sneakers, but the heel is hidden in the wedge so BAM! No more hubby nagging. I’m hoping they are as comfortable as they sound.

I have my picks narrowed down to these vegan versions of the trend. I’m kinda holding out for the studded Delia’s ones above. What do you think?

Interview / Sugandh of Gunas the Brand

5 Sep

Back in April of this past year, I had the pleasure of attending GUNAS the Brand’s Earth Month Celebration party.

I was extremely excited at the time to attend because I had long been a GUNAS fan, though I had yet to actually see their bags in person. Gunas is a 100% vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly brand, who’s handbags and wallets are as well designed as some of the most high-end non-vegan brands. I love how tough, yet chic their designs are. There’s not one bag in their collection one can describe as being “granola”, which is sometimes hard to find in a vegan specific brand.

At the event, I got to meet Sugandh, the brand’s founder and designer.  We’ve since stayed in touch, and she very recently took some time to do an interview for Brooklyn Bliss readers.

Tell us your vegetarian/vegan story!  Why did you go veg?  How long have you been veg? Etc.

There were a lot of things that made me turn vegetarian. I come from a meat-eating family… but I turned vegetarian at the age of 12. It was just a decision I took at that age. I’ve always loved animals and couldn’t comprehend how I could eat something that I loved. Each time I would read an article highlighting the horrors and cruelty of the leather and meat industry, I would be more convinced and happy about a decision I made at such a young age. It wasn’t till I moved to the United States that I realized how unaware people are about the “behind the scenes” situation of the leather Industry that I decided to take matters in my own hands.   

How did GUNAS come to be?  

I am a trained Industrial Designer and an entrepreneur at heart. In order to be an entrepreneur I really had to do something that I would love doing forever, felt passionate about and wouldn’t fall out of love with easily. The idea of creating GUNAS was a complete package for me. Having witnessed the horrific side effects of the leather industry on our natural resources while growing up in India I was aware of it’s harsh consequences. India is the biggest supplier of leather to the world and also a country where the cows are worshipped. This equation just did not add up in my mind. That’s when the idea of creating a designer brand of cruelty free fashion products struck me. I used my design and business skills to create GUNAS and launched it in 2009 at New York Fashion Week through Nolcha.    

Were you involved in the fashion industry prior to forming GUNAS? And if so was it difficult working in an industry where compassionate design is not a priority? 

When I was developing my plans for GUNAS, I only had my Industrial Design experience to bank on. I had worked in several design mediums but never fashion. So I decided to work with a few local handbag designers in New York, learn the tricks of the trade and then start my own. While working with these leather handbag brands, I could easily tell how ignorant they were about “vegan” fashion. I remember a co-worker of mine once commented that all leather was eco-friendly since it was derived from nature. It was such moments that made my conviction to start GUNAS even stronger. GUNAS is not just a handbag company. We are a brand with a philosophy and a heart.  

Vegan/vegetarian shoes and handbags have come a long way since I went vegan. What are your thoughts on the current variety on the market right now, and how does that play into how you design for GUNAS?

Yes, vegan fashion has certainly come a long way. But since this market is so niche, I find that most other vegan handbag brands, in order to keep their costs extremely low and target a larger audience beyond those in favor of veganism are sorting to use inferior materials and production methods. They have fallen in the traps of fast fashion, similar to the fast food industry. Just being vegan is not enough in my opinion. At GUNAS, we use a variety of alternative fabrics ranging from Japanese nylons, coated canvases, recycled fabrics for our linings and also rescued fabrics. Also, we produce in limited quantities and custom orders in order to avoid over production.  

Take us through the design process, from inception to production for your products.  

The design process at GUNAS is quite simple. The process starts with the brands classic silhouettes and elements. Each season we’ll introduce 1-2 new silhouettes and do our trend research of the colors and fabrics for that particular season and incorporate it in our designs. We try to design bags that will transition easily within your wardrobe from one season to the next. 

There are a lot more options now for shoes and accessories made of man-made materials from mass retailers like Target and  Payless.  Do you consider these retailers competition, considering they are much less expensive than vegan, eco-friendly brands?  Or is it like comparing apples to oranges?

I certainly don’t find retailers like Target or Payless as competition. I see them as a platform of introduction to vegan fashion for consumers. It’s always good to have less expensive, affordable options available out there. It’s the first step of awareness for a vegan newbie. When a person really gets into it and studies deeper, they’ll find that they need to go beyond just supporting brands that use “Man-made” materials. That’s when they’ll discover GUNAS. 

What are some of your favorite fashion related websites and publications?

I love browsing through Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and Marie Claire on a regular basis. Besides that I’m sure to keep an eye out on Pinterest and visit blogs such as Fashion Me Green, Eco Salon, Stylelist, Hypbeast to name a few.   

Where are your current favorite places to shop?

I enjoy shopping from small boutiques and specialty retailers. You can always find unique things from lesser-known designers. I specially enjoy walking down streets of SOHO in New York.  

What’s some of your favorite pieces in your current collection?

I absolutely adore my Rockstar bag and Scarlet wallet. When travelling over the weekend, I love carrying my Paris bag with me. These are my favorite pieces. 

 

What’s next in store for GUNAS? 

We just launched our family-owned studio in India this summer. All our bags will now be hand-crafted in-house in a 100% guaranteed sweat-shop free environment. We hope to continue developing this resource this year. We are already accomplishing a lot of custom bag orders, which we are able to beautifully make in our own facility.  Each bag will now be handmade, personally inspected by me for perfection.

Thank you Sugandh for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to speak to us!

Know what else is in store for Brooklyn Bliss readers?  GUNAS is giving away one of their chic wallets to lucky follower!  Tune in tomorrow for the giveaway details.

Vegan Fashion Night Out

4 Sep

This Vegan Fashion Night Out post originally appeared last week on my column Vegan Vogue I write for I Eat Grass. If you haven’t stopped by I Eat Grass yet, be sure to do so! 

It’s the time of year fashion fans around the world wait for, New York Fashion Week!

As part of the NYFW events every September there’s  Fashion’s Night Out.  FNO is basically a huge shopping event that happens in cities around the world the week of fashion week.  Mashable has a great explanation on the history of the event, as well as how social media played a roll leading into last year’s event.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s still a great party to attend.  Most brands have free refreshments and big name entertainment on hand to entice fashionistas into their stores.  It’s also a great place to network and meet people who love the same styles, brands and fashions you love.

I took a quick look at the event schedule for this year’s FNO, which will be on September 6th, for some vegan friendly stops.  All of these picks are within walking distance or a very short cab ride of each other, so it’s easy to make your own vegan friendly FNO event tour.

 

MooShoes

78 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002
www.mooshoes.com

7:00 pm

If there is only one FNO event you can attend this year, be sure it’s the MooShoes event.  I attended this one last year and can personally attest to how awesome it is.  All of your favorite vegan fashion brands including Cri de Coeur, Vaute Couture, Brave Gentleman, and more along with vegan treats from Blossom and Vegan Vine make this an event not to miss!

 

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

174 Ludlow Street New York, NY 10002
www.occmakeup.com

6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Obsessive Compulsive is an entirely vegan makeup brand with a huge following.  I first sampled their products at last years MooShoes event, and their lip tars are pretty amazing.  Highly pigmented, bright, and fun!  They’ll be doing a preview of their Fall 2012 collection, and have vegan cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on hand while you get glammed up.

 

Free People

99 Spring Street New York , NY 10012
www.freepeople.com

6:00pm to 11:00pm

Free People has been making some waves in the vegan fashion community for their awesome vegan leather collection.  If faux leather is your thing, Free People has some amazing options for you.  They also very recently started carrying vegan Doc Martens and Cri de Coeur.

The first 50 fans to get photographed in their ‘Catch a Dream’ photo booth will receive a Free People iPhone case! Special Free People tote bags + goodies from Mox Botanicals will be given out with every purchase, while supplies last.  I’m not sure if Mox Botanicals products are vegan/cruelty-free so be sure to ask a representative while there.

 

Stella McCartney

112 Green Street New York, NY 10012
www.stellamccartney.com

7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Stella has been a lifelong vegetarian and does not design using any fur or leather.  She’s also a supporter of PETA and has recently done a great campaign on the long-term environmental impacts of leather production.

Stella’s shoes and handbags are to die for, and you can check them out in person at their FNO event this year.  You’ll get to sip on “Eco Mojitos” and enjoy DJ sets from Spencer Product. Guests also get to take their best glamour shots in their custom photo booth, and can also design their very own Stella McCartney hand bag, for one night only!

With so many great vegan-friendly options this FNO, which one will you be going to?

Vegan Vogue is a lifestyle and style column focusing on all things in vogue and vegan. More tips from Corrie Feld can be found at her website Brooklyn Bliss. Follow her on Twitter @CorrieFeld

Vegan Vogue / Fall Boot Roundup

22 Aug

This fall boot roundup originally appeared last week on my column Vegan Vogue I write for I Eat Grass.  If you haven’t stopped by I Eat Grass yet, be sure to do so!  There’s a ton of great vegan content over there ranging from recipes, to health and fitness, to even a sex column!

{image credit: www.herblog.com}

On the last Vegan Vogue post, I received a request in the comments section from Zoe of Sexy Tofu for some suggestions on vegan boots for fall.  I can’t believe it’s about that time to start thinking about putting away our sandals and bring out the boots!

Here’s my favorite vegan boot picks for this coming fall.

Flat Boots

Okay I’ll admit, my “flat” boot selection also includes some western style ankle boots which are very on trend for Fall 2012, and have an ever so slight heel.  Also, did you know Doc Martens now make a vegan boot?! All these should be very comfortable and perfect for weekend stroll enjoy the crisp fall breeze.

Wedge Boots

Wedges are not only super comfortable but make it really easy to navigate icy streets without slipping. Here’s some of my picks.

Dress Boots

If you work in a professional environment, you’ve gotta go with a dress boot to keep you warm in the office when temperatures go down.  These boots are also great for dressing up for a night on the town as well

Trendy

Looking for something more trendy?  This fall it’s going to be all about square heels, fold over boots, and a continuation of the cap toe trend we saw on ballet flats and pumps this spring.  Also, anything Jeffrey Campbell is always trendy and he has a pretty fab python pattern boot out that’s coincidentally vegan.

Waterproof

Looking for something waterproof so you can splash around in some puddles?  Good news is almost all rain galoshes are vegan.  Here’s some of my picks.

Have a fashion related topic you’d like to see covered on Vegan Vogue? Let me know!

Vegan Vogue is a lifestyle and style column focusing on all things in vogue and vegan. More tips from Corrie Feld can be found at her website Brooklyn Bliss. Follow her on Twitter @CorrieFeld

Vegan Versions / Graphic Tees

15 Aug

I honestly have never been a huge fan of graphic tees. The last graphic tee I remember wearing regularly was a thrift store find I wore in High School that said “Mañana”. It was before hipster ironic tees were a “thing”.

It’s not to say I don’t like tees. I have a tenancy to like patterned ones with patterns like classic stripes, chevron or leopard. It’s very easy for me to dress them up with a blazer and still make them work appropriate.

Lately while surfing the internet I’ve found some pretty chic vegan centric tees. Graphic tees are a great way to make a statement on what’s important to you, but until recently I never found any I didn’t feel were cheesy. I wouldn’t mind wearing any of these. In fact the “V Gun” one below is at the top of my list to pick up soon. It’s so clever i can’t help myself.  I’m also partial to neon yellow so the “Lettuce Turnip the Beet” one will probably end up in my closet soon after.

Nasty Neon V “Gun” Tee: $20.00 | image credit: www.veggywood.com

 

Lettuce Turnip the Beet Neon Tank from Coup: $25.00

Vaute Couture V is for Vegan Tee: $32.00

Love Peace Vegan “Vegan” Tee: $17.25

 
What are your thoughts on graphic tees?  Are they a fashionable yes, or no?

Transitioning to a Cruelty Free Wardrobe

3 Aug

Today I have a brand new column starting that I’m writing over at iEatGrass! It’s called Vegan Vogue and I’ll be writing about all things stylish and vegan. This is a re-post of my first article, but don’t forget to stop on over there to check it out. They have lots of awesome vegan content over there.

prada_bow_pumps
Get rid of your non-vegan designer and wardrobe items with these quick tips. {image credit: style.ish}

When first making the decision to go vegan, the first step people think of is eliminating all animal products out of your diet. It usually takes a little bit before new vegans remember their entire wardrobe is packed full of animal products as well.

Shoes, and accessories more often than not made of leather. When winter rolls around, we often forget our coats and sweaters are full of wool. Purging your wardrobe and replacing everything with cruelty free versions is no small task when you’re first starting out.

Being a big fan of fashion, when I myself made this realization, I was pretty overwhelmed. I suddenly felt guilty wearing about half my shoe collection. My handbag collection was my biggest hit. Handbags were my guilty pleasure, and my closet was packed with pricey designer versions. I also tend to prefer more “rocker” type looks, which are very leather heavy. So it was time to start looking for replacements for all my favorite items. I needed money to do this, so I turned all my non-vegan items into cash so I could shop for cruelty free versions.

Good news is now with the help of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to sell your leather and wool items to other stylish ladies and gents who will get use of them, all while making some money so you can go buy yourself a vegan leather wallet. Here we’re some of the websites and stores that made it easy for me to create my now 100% vegan friendly wardrobe.

Fashionphile

Fashionphile
Fashionphile is the place to go if you have super high end, designer items to move. If you’ve ever tried to sell a designer purse on eBay or Craigslist, you’ll appreciate this being its notoriously hard to sell designer bags and accessories because everyone thinks they are fakes.
Fashionphile is a consignment boutique based on the west coast that will evaluate photos of the items you have for sale, and then tell you what they can sell them for. Being they’re an established consignment boutique, fans of designer items trust the items aren’t knockoffs, so they’ll pay a higher price for them than you could selling them on your own through eBay or Craigslist.

The selling process is easy. You set up an online account and send them over the pieces you want to sell. They’ll evaluate then to determine the condition of the pieces, as well that they’re legitimate and if so what they can sell them for you for. If you agree to their conditions, they give you pre-paid shipping labels so you can ship the items to them. Once they sell, they cut and mail you a check. It’s that simple.

Again, this place is best for higher end designer handbags and accessories. During my purge, I sent over 3-4 of my purses, including some Louis Vuittons and they made me close to my Brooklyn rent back. It was well worth the time and effort.

Threadflip-Copious

Threadflip & Copious
Threadflip and Copious are both web platforms that allow fashionistas to sell their gently used items to other fashionistas. Think of it like eBay with a fashion twist, but better curated and more like shopping at an online boutique. Threadflip even has an iPhone app that makes it easy to post and sell items on the fly. They also allow you to take a quick “style quiz”, and the service will recommend other sellers and items to you based on your tastes.

For both services you can sell and receive credits to purchase items from other sellers. This is great if you lets say wanted to get rid of a pair of leather pumps, and replace them with a pair of vegan ones. Several sellers on both platforms even tag items as being vegan so they are easy to find. I found these neon blue, pointed toe flats on Copious the week before last.

To make your items stand out, make sure your photography is on point! The better the pieces are presented either as part of an outfit, or on a unique background (like my new neon flats were) the quicker they’ll sell.

eBay

eBay
eBay is now a household name, and we all know what their service does. They still remain a great way to purge leather and wool items out of your closet.

Buffalo Exchange-Crossroads

Recycled Fashion Stores- Like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Company
If you are fortunate enough to live a Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading Company, or similar store, you’ll soon learn they are the easiest and fastest way to clear out our wardrobe (vegan or not!), and replenish it with brand new, eco-friendly styles you love. The way it works is you bring in your gently used items and they’ll buy them from you for either store credit or cash.

Any time I feel like doing some guilt-free shopping, I hit up my closet, grab a few items I no longer wear and head on over. I always sell for credit and then use the credit to buy new items to freshen up my wardrobe.

When selling at a recycled fashion boutique, always remember the season you are in. These stores don’t really keep a stock inventory and will only buy what they can move immediately. So if it’s the middle of summer, don’t bring them all your wool sweaters. Call in advance to see what they are currently buying, or you can check their website as well.

I purged the majority of my mainstream handbags, shoes, accessories and clothes of leather and wool just by bringing them to Buffalo Exchange. Fun part was I racked up a ton of credit, which means I get to shop until I drop now!

Have you transitioned your wardrobe to be 100% cruelty-free? Share you tips in the comments!

July 4th

13 Jul

July 4th 2012
{Blouse: Old Navy; Jeans: Mavi; Shoes: Zara (vegan,found on Ebay); Headscarf: Vintage (my grandmother’s); Clutch/Wallet: Gunas}

Jim and I took an early bus up to Boston on the 4th, and got in around 11 am. We took our time getting acquainted to the city and our hotel, walking around Chinatown, and grabbing some lunch. In the late evening, we had a quick wardrobe change and got ready to go out to dinner.

A red, white and blue headscarf is as patriotic as I get on the 4th. During the day, I wore this same outfit from the waist up.  I just had on denim shorts and my neon yellow sandals instead of the jeans and heels.   If you checked out my packing tutorial yesterday, anything from the waist up I was actually wearing while taking the photos for that post, which is why they’re not included in the photos.

Just before dinner we headed up to the roof top deck, being it was recommended by the hotel concierge as being a good spot to watch the fireworks.  We enjoyed the view and took these few quick shots before headed out for some pizza and wine for dinner (I’ll be doing an entire post on all the food we had in Boston very soon!).

 

After dinner, we decided we’d probably have a better view of the sunset and the following fireworks from our hotel balcony.  So we went back to our room, enjoyed the stunning sunset, and watched the Boston Pops 4th of July Spectacular on TV.  Once the fireworks started, it was hard to miss them.  We had the most amazing view!

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

How did you spend the July 4th holiday?

Obsessed

14 Jun

Neon

{Sandals: Melissa; Tee, Tank and Scarf: American Apparel}

I think I may have officially moved away from my obsession with leopard and full on into a neon problem. Specifically highlighter yellow. I can’t stop collecting items that are that color.

Now as long as I don’t combine neon with leopard…