Handbags by Jill Milan

Handbags by Jill Milan

When I’m out and about, I need something to carry the necessities: keys, wallet, phone, Kindle, lip balm, floss and toothbrush, comb or hairbrush, a compact mirror, water bottle, pen… it all adds up quickly, doesn’t it? Having graduated from the backpack-slung-over-one-shoulder look of my college days, and often wanting something not quite so casual as a messenger bag, I just love a good tote bag under my arm. First — let’s all say it together, ladies — size matters. Not too small (I have stuff!), not too big (I’m not staying the night!), a tote needs to be just right for holding everything I need as I make my way through whatever appointments or get-togethers I’ve planned. Second, what’s on the inside counts just as much as how pretty she is on the outside: a few pockets to hold the smaller stuff is essential. For me, it’s the difference between feeling organized and pulled together or completely scattered (which is when I tend to forget or lose things). I discovered Jill Milan thanks to a gift card that was included in the swag bag at the H-Couture event in Los Angeles in June. When my brown Wianno Tote arrived — perfect size, perfect inside pocket situation — I loved it so much that I ordered it again. Now I have one in black, too! This high-end vegan collection, made in Italy, is comprised of designs where quality and style come hand in hand. Hardly limited to tote bags, the Jill Milan line features all kinds of gorgeous hand bags and clutches — some of which have been getting...
H-Couture Fashion Show, L.A.

H-Couture Fashion Show, L.A.

On September 22nd, I attended H-Couture in Los Angeles, an evening celebrating fur-free fashion that included cocktails and a silent auction, a runway show that featured cruelty-free designs for both women and men (my fave was a men’s suit by John Bartlett), and a VIP after-party where animal advocates and celebrities mingled over drinks and vegan hor d’oevres. This first-ever event was hosted by The Humane Society of the United States, organized by its Fur-Free Campaign. Wayne Pacelle, CEO and President of the HSUS, opened the evening speaking about all the great work the HSUS is doing in various areas on behalf of animals, but he then quickly turned the spotlight specifically on the fur industry. With so many alternatives available, fur-free fashion is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a big difference in the lives of animals. After Wayne Pacelle’s opening remarks, celebrity co-hosts Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto of “The Vampire Diaries” took over the stage to get the fashion glitz officially underway. Lights, music, models, and some truly gorgeous creations on the runway. The five designers contributing to the show were Victoria Bartlett, John Bartlett, Charlotte Ronson, Mark Bouwer, and Kimberly Ovitz. Here are just a few photos to give you a peek at the inspired designs: At the after-party, a “wall of sweets” was a nice touch: shelves of mini vegan cupcakes, and an array of candy bins from which party-goers could scoop their own cruelty-free treats (Swedish Fish, Hot Tamales, Mike & Ikes) into little cellophane bags. Everyone also had a lot of fun with the photo booth — all big smiles (or funny faces)...
New Fashion Finds! Brave GentleMan & Forgotten Souls

New Fashion Finds! Brave GentleMan & Forgotten Souls

Here are a couple of recent finds in the fashion department that make choosing cruelty-free easy, fun — and stylish! Brave Gentleman  For all the sexy vegan men out there looking for fashions that express their personal style as well as their ethics: you need to know about Brave GentleMan.  New York-based designer Joshua Katcher launched the online mens shop in 2010; it offers vegan fashion and accessories, including cruelty-free custom made suits. Although there’s lots for the vegan man — and for us girls to buy for our vegan men — I couldn’t resist buying a Houndstooth Plaid Tie for myself, to wear every once in a while for an Annie Hall-inspired look. The vegan ties are made with organic cotton and recycled hemp, and stiffened with a process that uses recycled plastic bottles. Bow tie designs also are available, if that’s more your style. Bonus Tip! Check out Katcher’s site, The Discerning Brute — “fashion, food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man.” Forgotten Souls Organic, Ethical Clothing A few Forgotten Souls organic tee shirts came as part of the Candle 79 gift bag that I won at  the silent auction following The Genesis Awards.  These super-soft tees are made from 100% herbal dyed organic cotton, and the organization uses sustainable methods in all aspects of production — from the water used in the dying process to the biodegradable bags used in packaging. What makes wearing FS a win-win: part of the profits go to help animals worldwide. Since its launch in August 2010, Forgotten Souls already has donated $12,000 to worthy causes such as helping street animals through the Bali Street Dog...
Shopping with specials by Vegan Cuts

Shopping with specials by Vegan Cuts

For those of you who get super-excited whenever you find a deal (and who doesn’t?), Vegan Cuts offers weekly specials that make it fun and easy to shop vegan while staying within the budget. It’s the GroupOn for all of us trying to use products and services that are aligned with a cruelty-free lifestyle. Deals range from food products to cosmetics to fashion. To give you a better idea of the possibilities, here are some recent highlights: 52% off Nicobella Organic and fair Trade Truffles Assortment $12 for 10 PureFit Bars ($19.90 value) 43% off Vegan Cosmetics & Skin Care (by various companies including Aubrey Organics, Beauty Without Cruelty, Ecco Bella) 50% off gift card for Compassion Couture Vegan Cuts is a terrific way to find bargains, and it’s also a fun way to learn about and try new products. As we all know, trying out new products can be risky business; no one can love everything, and so sometimes it seems easier just to stick with what we know. But when you can get such great prices on products and services, even the most risk-averse among us are likely to re-discover their inner-adventurer. And keeping it fun — so that choosing cruelty-free is more about what we can have, rather than what we can’t have — is the surest way to make a cruelty-free lifestyle a lasting life-long commitment. Enjoy exploring alternatives with the help of Vegan Cuts, and  please let me know if you discover any new...
I designed my own shoes!

I designed my own shoes!

I found out about Milk and Honey Shoes from someone at this year’s Animal Law Conference in Portland, back in October. The web site offers quite an array of shoes; they’re not all vegan, but there is an “animal friendly” category. The real beauty of this site, however, is that there’s also an option to design your own shoes. I couldn’t resist! Starting from scratch, you get all the options. The web site walks you through the process, building your shoe right before your eyes, one step at a time. Style: pump, flat, or sandal Toes: rounded, pointed, open, etc. Backs & Straps, including buckle color Piping & Trim Embellishment Heels: chunky/thin, height, option for wood heel (brown or black) Platforms Fabric, Velvet, Faux Leather, Faux Patent important: you must add a note to the order that you want your personally designed shoe to be completely vegan, animal- friendly in construction I’d been looking for a lighter-colored faux leather heel for a while to wear with some fall and spring dresses, but I hadn’t found anything I was wild about. The perfect opportunity to indulge in a pair of custom-made shoes.Yes, they’re a little pricey ($295), but it’s a fun “treat-yourself” if there’s room in your budget. Although my new shoes will be hanging out in my closet until the groundhog says winter’s over, today I’m feeling like Maria in West Side Story as I whirl around the house in my new shoes. I feel pretty, oh so...
Sister Power! Compassion Couture, New York

Sister Power! Compassion Couture, New York

First, we have the fab sisters of MooShoes in NYC — one of my favorite shopping destinations on the Lower East Side. Now, New York has another dynamic duo: Long Island sisters Jill and Tracey of Compassion Couture. Their e-boutique offers shoes, handbags, and accessories by various designers. Among the variety, some of my favorite brands: Beyond Skin Cri de Coeur Matt & Nat Neuaura Novacas Olsen Haus Susan Nichole Reveal All the products sold on the site are hand-picked by the sisters. The products are 100% animal-friendly (vegan) and made by designers who demonstrate strong ethical/eco-friendly business practices. Especially when you see all these fabulous designers under one e-roof,  it’s encouraging to see that there are plenty of designers in the  fashion world listening to consumers and getting the message — cruel is not cool!...