Spotted: New vegan handbag line Freedom Of Animals  » just posted about this brand new vegan company Freedom Of Animals and my dear sis-in-law sent it my way. My sis-in-law is a fashion designer and totally the arbiter of good taste so I was very stoked. Of course, the bag above is $480. So now you are probably like, “screw you, Megan Rascal, screw you!” But I got to keep you in the loop on advances in vegan fashion. 

You’ll like the company too:

Freedom Of Animals bags are sustainably sourced and consciously made. Our fabrics comply with EPA guidelines. No harsh chemicals were used in any of our products and we are 100% cruelty free.

Sound good? Sounds good! My favorite is the Melia Lia above. This pic from their site is also my favorite too:



Fashion Loves Animals was a huge success! Let’s look at pictures!  »


I attended Farm Sanctuary’s Fashion Loves Animals event this past weekend, they were honoring one of my favorite people: Leanne of Vaute Couture! As we arrived, I was quickly given a shot of asparagus soup (pictured above) made by new celebrity chef Jay Astafa! I was completely stoked since I had missed his popup dinner. I was also stoked because the soup was delicious! 


Here’s Jay prepping behind the scenes. 

Now, on to the Vaute fashion show! 


Yes, lovely outfit. More importantly: OMG what a cute dog! And all the pups were up for adoption. No but really, the clothes were lovely. And I love these shoes by Love is Mighty. They’re made of old candy wrappers! 


Notice the Brave GentleMan kicks. 


I love this dress. There were new versions of this dress I’d seen at Vaute’s fashion week show—now it comes in lots of pretty floral patters! Leanne said they are at the Vaute Couture store now. Yay!


Beautiful picture of the back of this dress by me. 


This puppy stole the show of course. Because PUPPY!


Beautiful picture of the end of the show by me. There’s Leanne with models in tow.


Here’s a behind the scenes shot from Max Gordon Photography (all the pics not taken by me were supplied by Vaute’s lovely PR person Meredith and are by Max Gordon or Farm Sanctuary). Also check out the sweater, I love it. I need it.


And here we have the stars of the show—and really the stars of any show they attend for that matter!: Leanne, Gene Baur, Discerning Brute Joshua.

And in closing, here’s a lovely Vine video I took:

OMG I had so much fun! Thanks, Farm Sanctuary!


Our friends at Compassion Couture are having a sale this week! With the code EarthMonth20, you get 20 percent off full priced items, and EarthMonth10 gets you 10 percent off sale items. 
They got a bunch of new stuff in actually and added some new brands. I’m so in love with this Cornelia Guest bag! How come you never buy me nice stuff like this? It’s because I don’t put out, isn’t it. 

Our friends at Compassion Couture are having a sale this week! With the code EarthMonth20, you get 20 percent off full priced items, and EarthMonth10 gets you 10 percent off sale items. 

They got a bunch of new stuff in actually and added some new brands. I’m so in love with this Cornelia Guest bag! How come you never buy me nice stuff like this? It’s because I don’t put out, isn’t it. 


Buy a t-shirt, help animals! They’re dope and available this week only!  »


I totally heart these sweatshirts and tees. It’s the intersection of my love for type, clothes, and animals. The concept behind the shirts is interesting too. This site runs a fundraiser each week where they sell limited edition (I think) shirts and donate $7 of each sale to the chosen charity of the week. Their goal is to raise money for the charity but also, by making things related to the charity that people can buy and wear, they raise awareness for the cause. And this week, the cause is the Humane Society! So for every shirt sold, seven bucks goes to HSUS. More importantly: you get a cool shirt! I kid, I kid. But looks like you only have until Sunday to buy so you best get on that.



CoraLlei vegan handbags are coming to Compassion Couture!  »


You know I’m in love with Irish vegan handbag company CoraLlei so I was very excited to hear that 1. their new line is out, and 2. Compassion Couture will now be selling them stateside! 

I contacted Jill from Compassion Couture for the details and she told me they will be selling three styles from the current collection: The Sofia in grey (above), the Cici in tan and the Sienna in grey. And the bags should be up by mid to late March [Update: they’ve landed!].

More about the bags:

-The material used to make the bags is Italian Vegan Leather.

They are produced in Milan, Italy.

-The bags are water resistant and don’t absorb marks or stains and are therefore easier to clean.

-All linings for each bag are made from end of roll recycled materials from the Italian Design Houses in Venice.

I still don’t think I can afford one…but I bet the quality is amazing. So maybe I will consider it an “investment” or something? A quality bag that lasts for 10 years is certainly preferable to 10 crappy pleather environment-killing bags that dissolve in one year. Sigh. We’ll see. 



New York Fashion Week gets vegan with Vaute!  »


I had such a wonderful time at the Vaute NYC Fashion Week show! I even brought my nice lil’ point-and-shoot so I could get some sweet pictures for you guys.

Leanne says the collection was inspired by Sailor Moon so I was expecting a lot of wackiness, but it was actually rather understated. But there were a lot of fun little details like the heart cutout in the dress below and various interesting buttons and such. There was a lot of purple like the jacket above—I’m in love with purple so I’m stoked about that. Purple is just flattering on practically everyone. Or…at least on me! But yes, purple was the dominant color surrounded by variations of white and beige. 


I love the sweater below so much. I love the shoulders and sleeves and it’s hard to see but there’s this little abstract silver design on the front. So great.


There was plenty of menswear as well. And look who I saw, my friend David Raphael Hildebrand was in the show! Did you know this multi-talented author/model/Pisces is now writing pieces for The Discerning Brute? Well he is. Joshua Katcher was of course at the show as well and I believe those are a pair of his Brave GentleMan shoes on David. 


The Humane Society of New York represented at the show and brought doggie models! ADOPTABLE doggie models! Look at the handsome lady below. What a cutie!


Pup model backstage:


Here’s more purple:


The picture below is terrible but I wanted to show you the cute star cutout on the back of the purple dress. 


Leanne was obviously the woman of the hour so I wasn’t able to get that close for a pic but here she is posing with some of the models. I absolutely love the dress she wore, all red with its little heart cutout. 


The quotes they’re holding in the picture are all from Sailor Moon. I’m not sure I ever watched that show but Leanne was telling me all about it recently. Apparently the girl gets to be Sailor Moon because she rescues a stray cat from some neighborhood bullies? So AR. 

In summary, I think the first-ever vegan NYC Fashion Week show was a hit! Rescue pups, sweets from Vegan Treats, and amazing clothes! Leanne is really helping to usher us vegans into a new era, one in which omnivores envy us instead of ostracize us. Fashion may not be your thing but it is a lot of people’s thing and if veganism is going to solidify its place in mainstream culture, it’s one arena we need to tackle. I think we are well on our way! The future is bright, my friends. 


Vegan phone case+wallet made of cork!  »


I’m in love! New Orleans company Queork makes awesome accessories out of cork and has plenty of entirely vegan options. Like… this awesome phone case walletDon’t worry, I already bought one. I’m an aficionado of phone case wallets, they have saved my life. I used to lose my phone all the time but I haven’t lost one since I got a phone case wallet! My theory is that most people lose phones in cabs—there are studies!—but if my phone is also my wallet, I need it to pay for the cab so I totally have it in hand. Magic! I’ve been through several plastic, metal and rubber iterations but I was so jealous of my coworker’s leather wallet case. Well shucks to him because now I’ve got a cork one!

As you should well know, cork is an extremely renewable material and the company says the cork material they use feels super soft like leather (without the BLOOD and DEATH!). I’m so excited! And they’re only $39 with free shipping. Booyah!

Update!: There is a note on the Queork site that says they use beeswax to adhere the cork to the fabric backing—I contacted the maker to clarify and the cork fabric she uses to make these phone cases IS NOT made with beeswax. For other products, you’ll have to ask; but this one is a go! Long live phone case wallets!


Vegansaurus Giveaway: Win tickets to the Vaute fashion show!  »

Obvi the Vaute fashion show next Wednesday is the talk of the town. Will you be in NYC Feb. 6th and want to come to the show? We’re giving away 10 pairs of tickets! So that’s two tickets for ten winners. I’M going to be there so YOU KNOW it’s going to be the funnest!

by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

Showing of Women’s and Men’s Outerwear and Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
11:30am - 12:30pm


TO WIN: just leave a comment on here about why Vaute is awesome BEFORE SUNDAY AT NOON (EST). I will pick ten winners and notify them by Sunday night. That’s when I’ll tell you where the show is and all that jazz. Yay! Go!


Julie Gueraseva dishes on new vegan style mag Laika!  »

I recently told you about Laika, the new vegan lifestyle magazine, and now I have a special treat! Laika's creator, Julie Gueraseva, was kind enough to answer some questions for us! I don’t know about you guys but I find these answers pretty awesome and inspiring. Enjoy!

Why did you start Laika Magazine?
Julie Gueraseva: I want to see animal liberation happen in my lifetime. And if not within my lifetime, then at least see definitive indications that it is in active progress. This magazine is my way of contributing to the movement, utilizing everything I have learned and all of my skills to their maximum capacity in advocating for animal liberation. I can be frank here: this magazine is a very strategic tactic. Of course, it goes without saying that I wanted to express my creativity and give other talented people an opportunity to do the same. Of course, I want to offer readers compelling, engaging and imaginative subject matter. But the real mission of this magazine is to spread compassion. And the strategy is basically carrying out this mission via a creative, dynamic format. I believe in a diversity of tactics. And this magazine is just one tactic. We all gotta get our hammers out and start hammering away at monolithic decaying status quos in any way we can, until they crumble.

How long did it take to launch Laika and produce the first issue?
The idea came about a year ago. The first photo shoot happened in January 2012, but the bulk of the work happened from June through October. So I would say about 5-6 months. In terms of the launch, I planned the party in about two weeks, and before that I was conscious to not put out much advanced buzz, because I felt that something like this needed to be delivered as a surprise, unexpected.

Were there any surprises along the way?
There’s many surprises I could talk about, but I will highlight one particular thing… Right before I launched, I thought that orders for the magazine would come primarily from metropolitan areas, concentrated on the coasts. But it turned out to be totally unexpected. It’s not concentrated in any particular geographic area- it’s from all over the country, literally. New Mexico, South Carolina, Minnesota, East Coast, West Coast, North, South, towns I’d never heard of, even a Military address. And digital is from all over the world- places as far as Sweden, Australia and Brazil. It just feels to me now that there’s more of us than we’ve been led to believe. It makes me feel very encouraged and hopeful. And if those subscribers are not all vegan, then they have definitely been awakened to something, and are tuning into their compassion.

How has the magazine been received by the vegan community?
Very beautifully. I have seen some genuine, wonderful support, from people I have never met— but suddenly they feel like family. (I was very touched that you Megan—never even having met me before—not only came to the party, but also wrote a post about it the very next day, and a very genuine post) [Ed. note: I know, I’m the best!]. So basically, I have seen kind gestures and words, that have been very touching, very moving and it is hard to even write about them without tearing up. We’ve all been discouraged sometimes, if we’ve been hurt or let down by someone. I’ve heard from time to time philosophical questions posed…are people inherently good, or bad? Well, after this experience, my life-long belief that people are in fact inherently good has not only been reaffirmed, but I see now just how much infinite we are all capable of. It’s all there. I am really really inspired by Laika’s readers right now, and the vegan community as a whole.

Has there been any response from the non-vegan community?
Well, interestingly, the very first piece of press came from Crain’s New York—not known to be a vegan publication. And I remember the person who did the phone interview with me was completely respectful and genuinely interested in the concept of a vegan lifestyle magazine, and essentially treated it as not some kind of niche publication, but just a new interesting-sounding publication worthy of covering. And then after that, I definitely got a lot of positive feedback from omni friends, and friends of friends, who had seen the magazine (some of them tweeted about a “vegan magazine”). I’ve also gotten inquiries from people interested in contributing— not all of them vegan, and a few emails from people within the design community complementing the design. Many of the vegan readers have reported showing the magazine to their non-vegan friends and family, citing positive reactions. It does feel like word has spread to outside of the vegan community, and is continuing to do so.


How did you get so many great vegans involved?
Some people—like Joshua Katcher and Melisser Elliott—I had already known, admired, and had worked on other projects with. My twin sister Stacy is someone I’ve known since birth, who is also vegan and a great writer, so she was a natural choice. And then there were people who I either sought out, or was put in touch with by other peers—like Hannah Kaminsky, who was introduced to me by Melisser. Some connections really felt like kismet, like with writer James McWilliams. My friend and fellow vegan Jessica Turner (who had by then been modeled for the magazine’s beauty feature) forwarded me an article of his one day out of the blue, which I really loved. I already knew who he was of course, and thought—what if I could get him to write a piece for my magazine? To my astonishment, he enthusiastically agreed. As did Melissa Schwartz, when I asked her if she would shoot the cover. I had already been a fan of her photography and activism, and finally met her at the Animal Rights Conference in DC over the summer (which was an inspiring, energizing experience—highly recommend everyone to attend one). After the conference, I reached out to her and proposed my cover idea, and she ended up shooting a beautiful cover, as well as the back cover.

Besides veganism, are there any other social issues you’d like Laika to address?
I would like to examine all of the aspects of animal agriculture and its toll on our world— the environment being one. Workers’ plight within the animal agriculture system is something I would also like to address. There are egregious workers rights violations, exploitation. It’s just a horrible industry for not only animals, but people as well. Slaughterhouses, for example, have the highest turn-over rate of any industry in the world. I’d like to shed some light on that. The psychological damage of working in an industry that exists to satisfy a demand for which there is no justification, are catastrophic.

There are many issues I am passionate about. Any kind of human rights violations shake me to the core. What is happening in Gaza right now is very distressing to me; indefinite detention, recently signed into law—deeply troubling. Is that something I can see being covered in a vegan lifestyle magazine? I don’t rule it out. But my focus is advocating for animals. I side with Leo Tolstoy, who once said: “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”

What is your favorite non-vegan magazine?
For articles, the Atlantic; for design, this design magazine called Grafik. I check out Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine. I don’t know if I have a “favorite” mainstream magazine anymore. I used to. There have been some really great, inspiring publications, like Vibe in its early days, the British music magazine Q; I used to look at a lot of fashion magazines like French and Italian Vogue. But over the years, they’ve become harder and harder to look at, with all the dead animals permeating the pages. Which is a reason I started Laika. No risk of seeing dead animals! These days, if I look at a non-vegan mag, it’s mostly for research.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite animal?!
A tie between koalas and turkeys. If I ever come face to face with a koala in this lifetime, I will have an epic melt-down, in the style of Kristen Bell and the sloths. Turkeys, I’ve met in real life. They have qualities I most admire and enjoy in others: curiosity, kindness, affection and loyalty. They are unique and completely charming and fun to be around. One turkey in particular has my heart - Beatrice. She lives at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in the Catskills. I met her there last summer, and I miss her.


Laika magazine: New super-dope Vegan quarterly!  »


Have you been wanting to burst out of your comfortable vegan shell and upgrade to an ultra-genius-hottie vegan? Laika magazine is here to help you out!

I went to the launch of Laika a few nights ago and what a party. With eco-friendly mojitos and delicious food from Cinnamon Snail, you know I was happy. And my favorite NYC vegan fashion plate, Leanne of Vaute Couture, was there, as was the ever-talented Joshua Katcher. Both made contributions to this inaugural issue. And of course, Laika creator Julie Gueraseva was there too. I spoke to her briefly, she’s plain lovely. Basically: I’m drinking the Laika Kool-Aid. 


The spread at the launch. Hubba hubba!

The only thing I regret about the party—and I know you’re going to kill me for this—there was an elaborate cheese spread from new vegan cheese company Treeline Cheese and I didn’t try any. I know! I’m sorry! But people were buzzing around the cheese plates like cray and I actually had to run back to work because I’m hella important so I didn’t have time to muscle my way in. But I swear to the Vegansaur gods, I will try the cheese and tell you how it is.

So Laika covers vegan fashion but also food and travel. Plus this issue profiles several young vegan activists. There’s something for everyone. If you’ve been wondering where the title comes from, that’s my favorite part:

LAIKA Magazine is named after the stray dog who died within hours of being launched into outer space inside Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. About sending Laika into space, scientist Oleg Gozanko, part of the original mission, said “We shouldn’t have done it … We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”

Aw, sad. But that dog does deserve a namesake. R.I.P. little pal. Get your subscription to Laika here!


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