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Vegan Versions / Leather Vests

13 Feb

20130209-230953.jpgClockwise from top to bottom // ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR

I’m not sure why lately but I’ve been craving a faux leather vest for my wardrobe. I love the idea of throwing one over a blouse and a pencil skirt to wear to work, or on over a tee shirt and skinny jeans for the weekend.

Forever21 currently has a ton of options. What do you think? Which should I get?

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Vegan Winter Coat Roundup

12 Nov

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!

Vaute

Vegan winter coats have come a long way. It used to be the only warm options out there were synthetic filled puffer coats. While warm, it’s sometimes hard to feel chic and sexy when you’re all puffed up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  Now with advances in fabric technology, vegans have many more options when it comes to selecting a coat to keep them warm all winter long.

While selecting new coats for myself, I had been on the lookout for a while for a vegan dress coat, as well as a warm, casual parka.  For my dress coat, I’ve fallen head over heels for my Vaute Couture Belden coat (shown on me above, $430.00).  The parka I eventually found and purchased is the Topshop Faux Fur Trimmed Parka below.   Mine is all black (from last season) and absolutely adore it. The faux fur interior keeps me super toasty.

During the Fall 2012 runway shows this past February it was all about big, boxy coat silhouettes. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t participate in this trend, there are tons of options!  Here are some of my favorite vegan friendly coat picks currently in stores.

Topshop Faux Fur Trim Parka $196.00

Topshop Neoprene Oversize Boyfriend Coat $230.00

ASOS Neoprene Coat $86.23 (currently on sale)

Topshop Petite Check Cocoon Coat $180.00

Topshop Faux Leather Trim Baja Coat $110.00

Old Navy Women’s Long Belted Frost Free Coat $95.00*

*Edit: When I first put this round-up together, the Old Navy coat was listed as being 100% polyester and had no mention of down in the product description at all, which landed it a spot on this list.  Looks like after this post was written, an upset vegan customer posted a negative review on the coat on Old Navy’s website stating they received the coat and were very upset that on it’s label it listed goose down as a material.  This was is extremely misleading based on the website description. Old Navy since has updated their website and it’s safe to say this coat is not vegan.  Sorry for any confusion!

What vegan coat are you wearing this winter?

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

Vaute

6 Nov

Vaute
What I’m Wearing / Vaute Couture Belden Coat / Old Navy Tee (similar) / Mavi Jeans / JustFab Avoca Boots / Husband’s Beanie

It’s election day!  I got out to vote first thing this morning before work. If you haven’t voted already, be sure to do so!  It’s an important election and your vote counts!

It’s finally getting pretty cold here in NYC, and this week has been my first chance to finally wear my brand new Vaute Couture Belden coat.  If you’re unfamiliar with Vaute Couture, they are a vegan specific brand that has been making gorgeous dress coats since 2009. In particular, vegan dress coats are exceptionally hard to find being wool is a prevalent material used in them.  I’ve honestly been wanting a Vaute Couture coat for years now, and have loved the Belden style because of its classic shape as well as it’s multifunctional three-way collar.  I’m really excited to have finally pre-ordered and gotten mine this year!

Besides being 100% vegan, Vaute Couture’s coats are also eco-friendly and made of high-tech fabrics that are 100% recycled.  They are also produced by workers making a living wage or above.  I can tell you now that I own one, that their coats are much lighter, softer and warmer than any wool dress coat I’ve ever worn.  Wool is freaking itchy and scratchy.  These are not.  Plus it helps that it’s a stunning coat when worn.  I’ve received so many compliments on it since I’ve gotten it.

Vaute

Considering it’s election day, and Vaute Couture is pronounced like “Vote” Couture, it’s reminded me how important it is we also make sure we vote with our dollars for causes that are important to us.  Though Vaute Couture’s pieces aren’t cheap, considering what they produce and what they stand for, it was important for me to save up for some time to purchase one of their coats over other brands.  You vote every time you purchase something, from the type of produce you get to the clothes we wear.  The more people purchase eco-friendly and organic options, the more demand there is and therefore the costs will eventually go down.

I thought it was also especially fitting to talk about eco-friendly fashion this week following Hurricane Sandy.  I’m not going to kid anyone, I’m probably one of the only vegan bloggers who’s posts don’t have a heavy eco-friendly, sustainable slant.  Though I purchase the majority of clothing second-hand, I still like mass retailers for shoes and such.  That will probably be changing for me now.  It’s pretty obvious at this point we have a major global warming problem.  By being selective on what products you buy and how they affect the environment, you can do you part to help this large global issue.  That’s going to be a focus of mine in the coming weeks.

How do you vote with your dollars?

Vaute

*This is not a sponsored post.  I’m just a really big fan of the brand.

Vegan Versions / Veg Friendly Hair Dye

31 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!

Dip Dye Diva
The results of my recent dip dye

I have this thing where around every three months I feel compelled to change my hair in some manner. Usually it’s as simple as getting bangs, or growing the bangs out and styling them differently. Other times it’s chopping it all off into a drastically different style.

This time around, I was really happy with my overall hair cut and length, but was still wanting a change. For years I’ve wanted to dip dye my ends, so I figured now was as good a time as ever. Hair dye is a great way to freshen up your look and make people take notice.  So I made an appointment with my long time stylist and rolled with it!
Luckily my local salon’s color was vegan friendly.  If you are in the market for a new hair color, check out these salon and at home hair color brands that are all cruelty-free.

Organics Color Systems

Organic Color Systems is the brand used to do my dip dye (see photo above), which is only available in salons.  It’s 100% ammonia free, and also certified vegan and cruelty free by PETA.  Organic Color Systems also boasts their products cover 100% of greys and their ingredients used are organic.

When going to the salon to get my dip dye done, I was expecting my stylist to have to bleach my hair, and then color over the bleached areas since my hair is so dark.  To my surprise, the Organic Color Systems color worked straight on my dark hair and still produced intense results.  To find a salon that carries Organics Color Systems near you, click here.

Aloxxi

Aloxxi is another salon only hair dye brand who I had the pleasure of attending an event for during New York Fashion week this past September.  They’re listed on PETA’s list of companies that do not test on animals, and all their products boast the bunny logo.

Aloxxi generously gifted me with their suite of color safe, hair styling products which I’ve been using since I had my color done and they work very well.  In particular their color rich treatment masque makes my curls super soft and intensely conditions in only 3 minutes.

To find a salon that uses Aloxxi color by you, you can click here.

Manic Panic

If mainstream hair color isn’t your thing, try at home color with Manic Panic.  Manic Panic has been known for their crazy, bright, intense colors since the 1970’s, and  guarantees all their products are vegan.  Their colors are also semi-permanent, which makes it really easy to try a new look without being stressed about it being a long-term commitment.

Herbatint

Looking for a veg- friendly alternative to your standard “box” color, check out Herbatint.  Herbatint offers ammonia and paraben free permanent hair color products that are easy to apply at home.  They’re also certified vegan and cruelty-free.

Do you like to change-up your hair color and use a brand I didn’t mention here?  Please share what dye you use in the comments!

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!

Vegan Versions / Sexy Sweatpants

10 Oct

Source: andyheart.com via Corrie on Pinterest

On weekends lately, I’m not going to lie it’s been a battle getting dressed. After such a stressful work week and long hours at the office, last thing I want to wear is anything constricting. Luckily we’ve officially entered sweaters and boots season here in NYC, which means my legging collection can start it’s rotation once again.

I can’t help feeling though that leggings are so “last season”. I know it’s all in my head. It’s more of a been there, done that type of thought. So I started searching Pinterest for inspiration on some alternatives that still look polished but feel like pajamas.

I came across a pin of slim, modern sweatpants paired with a simple tee and a blazer and felt like I hit the lottery. That’s what I need! Sweatpants! So started my search for sweats.

Below are some of the ones I’m considering, all of which are vegan and way sexier than standard sweatpants. I especially love the faux leather trimmed ones.

What are your thoughts on sweatpants? Are they an okay to wear in public do or a don’t?

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?

MooShoes Fashion Night Out

12 Sep

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

Last week for Fashion Night Out I got to catch the very last hour of the MooShoes event.  I had a business dinner I couldn’t cancel, and I rushed like a madwoman to get there.  What’s amazing is I made it from Long Island to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in about 20 minutes.  It was pretty insane.

I’m so glad I was able to attend, because they had some fantastic vegan vendors there.  In addition to meeting some of the vendor owners, I also met some Brooklyn Bliss readers, which made my day like you have no idea.  When I wasn’t gabbing my face off, I was checking out the huge array of vegan shoes, handbags, accessories and books. That’s the reason I was there, right?

When it came to doing some shopping, I had been searching for a sleek iPad sleeve for a while, and found a perfect Matt & Natt version while there.  I also finally after years of wanting one put in a pre-order for a Vaute Couture Belden coat.  I can’t wait to get it!

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

MooShoes Fashion Night Out 2012

Were you at the MooShoes FNO event?  What were some of the shopping scores you went home with?

Also, speaking of vegan accessories, don’t forget to enter the GUNAS Milla Wallet giveaway.  It ends on Thursday so if you haven’t entered yet,  get your entry in today!

GUNAS Milla Wallet Giveaway / Closed

6 Sep

GUNAS is offering a lucky Brooklyn Bliss reader a chance to win one of their Milla wallets.  The Milla is a super sexy, 100% vegan wallet that can also double duty as a sleek going out clutch.

All you need to do to enter is:

  1. Leave a comment below on why you want to upgrade your current wallet to a GUNAS Milla. 
  2. Like GUNAS on Facebook

Bonus entries: You can also receive bonus entries for updating your Facebook status, tweeting, instagramming or pinning a photo of your current wallet and why you want to upgrade it by winning this Milla.  Use the hashtag #iwantaGUNASMilla so we can easily find your bonus entries.

Giveaway is open until 11:59 pm Thursday September 13th.  Open to the US and Canada.

Good Luck!

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.