vegansaurus!

04/21/2011

What do you think of this interactive iPad ad against fur? I saw it on the Pinnacle blog and I say it’s kind of neat. On one hand, I’m like, it’s kind of annoying; but then again, it looks like it goes fast enough so that it wouldn’t be that disruptive. And I like how it looks like any fur ad in a magazine and then BLAMMO! it’s not! It’s BLOODY! I think it would be effective in keeping “fur = blood” on the brain. Fur Equals Blood on the Brain should be the name of our band! Cut! Print! Dishes are done!

04/05/2011

Anti-fur fashion movement Pinnacle is having a design contest! With, like, famous people! I love Todd Oldham. Remember his MTV days? Sigh. I’d take House of Style over Jersey Shore any day (did I just say that? I’m out of control this morning).
The winner of the contest gets 100 pins of their design, which will ultimately lead to total fame and fortune.* Which is all that really matters. That, and not wearing fur! Because fur is gross and EW.
I would enter but I don’t want to skew the curve for everyone. I’m so nice to you guys!
*I know these things because I’m a Pisces.

Anti-fur fashion movement Pinnacle is having a design contest! With, like, famous people! I love Todd Oldham. Remember his MTV days? Sigh. I’d take House of Style over Jersey Shore any day (did I just say that? I’m out of control this morning).

The winner of the contest gets 100 pins of their design, which will ultimately lead to total fame and fortune.* Which is all that really matters. That, and not wearing fur! Because fur is gross and EW.

I would enter but I don’t want to skew the curve for everyone. I’m so nice to you guys!

*I know these things because I’m a Pisces.

03/04/2011

Organic milk isn’t organic, Vick is a hero and cats wear sweaters, all in this week’s link-o-rama!  »

It’s 108 cats in sweaters! And one in a poncho. Let the cat-abuse comments commence!

Over at Pinnacle, read about a study that shows fur is NOT green! Hey Cananda, ADOY!

Michael Vick is getting a “Community Inspiration Award” from some organization in Virginia. I don’t want to talk about it.

Make sure you check out Victoria Moran’s Huffington Post piece about vegan fashion and how far it’s come. She mentions Pinnacle, Vaute Couture and OlsenHaus! Vegan fashion in full effect!

Head over to Grist to read just how organic Horizon milk isn’t. You can’t green-wash the devil!

On Meet The Shannons, you will find this super cool recipe for vegan fried pickles, a necessary part of your vegan Fat Tuesday celebration! What? You weren’t planning a vegan Fat Tuesday celebration?! DO YOU HATE JESUS?! AND BOOZE?! Get to planning!

Here’s a Q & A with Manifest Vegan from Vegan Consultant! I like the way she says this: “I see veganism as not just a diet, but a rejection to any non-human animal use.” Phrased like that, we don’t have to hear any BS challenges about women’s breast milk!

CNN writes all about a screening of Forks Over Knives in Atlanta. It’s a pretty boring read. Why can’t everyone be as funny and entertaining as I am?! But guess what! Dr. Esselstyn was there! I’m so jealous! He did a Q&A after the film and spoke a little about the intentional absence of the v-word. If you recall, Chow Down avoided it, too. Hey! We’re here! We’re vegan! Get used to it!

Have you been keeping up to date on the dead bottlenose dolphins washing ashore in the Gulf of Mexico? It’s up to 80 now, half of them newborns or stillbirths. WTF! Is it connected to the BP oil spill? It’s difficult to say. In my opinion, the answer is very simple: IT’S ALL BP’S FAULT AND THEY CAN GO DIE!

Let’s end on a high note! The Humane Society is having a “Dogs of Valor" competition! Go read some super awesome stories of dogs rescuing people and vote for your favorite! Honestly, I can’t decide. And I feel this will be the most important decision I make all day. Le sigh.

[Brand new Simon’s Cat cartoon! I love them because my cat makes little chirps just like that. PS: Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

02/24/2011

Interview with a Vegan: Joshua Katcher!  »


Joshua Katcher is a super-cool NYC vegan and founder of The Discerning Brute! The Guardian dubbed him “the New Sexy Vegan!” Jealous.

Vegansaurus: Do you go by Josh or exclusively Joshua?
Joshua Katcher: I prefer Joshua, but I won’t have a complete meltdown if someone calls me Josh. I may cry for a few minutes and punch a hole in the wall, but then I’ll be totally fine. I’m pretty emotionally stable. 

Why are you vegan?
Because it’s delicious, and because I think animals are individuals who deserve validation and consideration where their lives and bodies are at stake. But also because I hate freedom and I was hoping to be frail and ill—but that backfired and I’m really healthy and athletic now.  

How long have you been vegan?
There was no exact date—it was a transition—but about 12 or 13 years, I think. 

Favorite animal?
I am completely FASCINATED by parasitic intelligence. But as far as animals that I want to hang with, and cuddle. Dogs and goats. And cows. And pigs. Turkeys are like cats!  Oy vey, this is impossible to answer. 

Got any companion animals? Pictures!

Enzo is a rescued chihuahua. His nicknames are: Enzo Benzo, Enzo Roni, Reno Roni, Monster, Burrito, Little Man. There are more, but my sanity would be called into question. He didn’t bark or play or have any interest in other dogs for almost two years, but he is finally coming out of his shell, and recovering from the three years of abuse/neglect he experienced. He was rescued by Amy from sugarmutts.org.

 
[OMJesus this picture!]

Favorite food?
Dr. Cow's hemp-nut cashew cheese. 

Favorite cookbook?
Veganomicon is so incredibly comprehensive. I like to experiment in the kitchen, too, and make my own recipes that I feature on TheDiscerningBrute.com 

Favorite vegan restaurant?
I still swoon over Candle 79’s seitan, but the bacon cheeseburger at Blossom Cafe is habit-forming, and the beet tartar at Madeline’s Bistro is worth flying to L.A. to have. I am such a foodie, it’s hard to choose favorites. Sometimes a bowl of steamed kale is the best thing in the world, and other times a Vegan Treats chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake hits the spot.  

Vegan celebrity you want to bang?
All of them. At once.  

Peta: Y/N?
Yes. Sorry, haters. 

LOLCats: Y/N?
Crucial! Yes. 

Do you remember when we met at Lula’s? Was it as awesome for you as it was for me?
I have been recovering ever since.

What’s your favorite thing to get at Lula’s?
I keep it simple at Lula’s: I really like a scoop of strawberry ice cream on a sugar cone. When feeling adventurous, I am obsessed with the malt powder or a malted milkshake—and the coconut whipped cream is better than I remember whipped cow-tit secretions being. I have a gym membership for a reason. 

What do you like about fashion? How do you know all about it?
I like fashion because I am gay and I love being a stereotype. Ha ha. In all honesty, fashion is an incredibly powerful form of visual communication. It is the premiere means by which the majority of people in our current culture express their personal identity. We all participate in that discourse, whether we like it or not. Even if we reject the notion of fashion all-together, our culture is dominated by this visual language. There is a lot of power to be had or lost in dress, and if you know how to communicate that power properly, it have have amazing effects—especially if you are someone who wants to change the world. Additionally, if you know how to decode what others are wearing—a fur coat for example, it makes understanding the issues surrounding everything from animal cruelty in fashion to sweatshops and ecological issues, less overwhelming. 

Favorite vegan designer?
I am really inspired by the strides John Bartlett is making, announcing “I want to be a 100-percent-vegan designer.” He is a personal friend, and a powerhouse in the fashion arena.

Favorite vegan accessory/possession?
There are a few. I got a recycled poly suit from CPas, a vegan biker “Decontrol” jacket from April77, black “milo” boots from NOVACAS, the gray “Vintage Boot” from Vegetarian Shoes, and an awesome men’s peacoat from Vaute Couture.

Why’d you start The Discerning Brute?
I started the Discerning Brute several years ago because no one was really providing a lifestyle resource specifically for “ethically handsome men.” From the beginning, my aim was to slowly compile a catalog of brands, companies, resources, and people that would form a community, and to eventually open a store, launch a suit line, and write a book. These are all underway.

Who does the illustrative design-y stuff for your site? I’m into it.

Thanks! I did the layout and graphic design myself, and the actual art I used in the design is from an 18th century illustrator.


[Katcher and Anna Wintour look-alike outside the Conde Nast building for the
Pinnacle launch!]

What’s Pinnacle all about?
JK: PINNACLE: Reinvent The Icon is an image-driven initiative consisting of fashion industry professionals from all areas of fashion culture who are clarifying the changed meaning of fur within the context of our current culture.

Pinnacle produces editorial stories, and works with informed designers, models, and other professionals to create accessories and various forms of visual art consistent with an interest in:

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Providing critical commentary about animal fur
  3. Exposing aspects of fur production and marketing which are intentionally hidden or obscured
  4. Shifting the outdated, whitewashed and greenwashed attitude toward, and meaning of fur garments
  5. Calling for personal and corporate accountability concerning the cruelty inherent in all fur production

What’s next for Pinnacle?
I have been touring a bit with my “Fashion & Animals” talk, and I plan on speaking at Parsons, FIT, and San Francisco, soon. I was also asked to teach a module at the American University of Paris next spring on the topic, which is exciting. Getting more designers, models, photographers, etc. involved and producing more and more fashion content. Also, a huge priority for us is expanding to China because that is the fur capital of the world, and there are no regulations to protect animals. There is more animal cruelty in China than the rest of the world combined, and they are the largest exporter of fur—and that includes cat and dog fur. Because China is a communist country, if you can convince the government to stop something, it will be done overnight, more or less. We need to reach the Chinese government with a message of being heroes for animals in an appealing way. The Compassion For Animals Foundation is doing amazing work in China.

Is it true you’re trying to take over the world?
Well, the short answer is yes. But, since I have a bone to pick (hey vegan police, is it vegan to say that?) with hierarchical power structures, that poses a dilemma. I plan to change the world, but a take over seems so…egotistical.

First of all, the Guardian rules. Second of all, how do you feel about being “the new sexy vegan?”
I was so honored, and shocked. Growing up, I was always a totally shy, unpopular, comic-book-reading geek who got picked on pretty bad. So it’s quite strange to be considered “sexy” by someone. I’m learning to embrace it though, and use it to help animals. 

Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about?
My nickname in junior high was “fag” so you can try that. Or you can call me Yahoshua Ruvin. That’s my super-cool Hebrew name. Don’t be jealous.

Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
I’m not sure I have room for a dinosaur in my apartment, but I’d be happy to come to one of your places and cook together! That would be fun. We can make sawdust and gravel and grass clippings, since that’s what vegans eat.

Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
What would the Vegansauraus dudes like to see happen on the DB, and what would you like to see for sale at my forthcoming store, BraveGentleMan.com? Do any readers have men’s lifestyle questions for me?  

Vegansaurus men, let’s hear it! Just what does the Vegansaurus Man of today want?

02/09/2011

Fur and fashion: the revolution is coming!  »


On Sunday, Feb. 6, the awesome Joshua Katcher (Discerning Brute, Pinnacle) presented “Fur & Fashion: Decoding and Harnessing the Dialect of Fashion,” with a Q&A including the brilliant John Bartlett, and the amazing Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture. There is sooooo much to be said, I can only skim the points.

Katcher ran through the symbols and psychology of fashion, connecting what is worn by the models and their demeanor, and how they invoke our need for approval! As they look at us, all gorgeous and disdainful, we need their acceptance, to be like them, to wear fur, contribute to inhumane and unethical behaviors! And we’re uncool unless we give in! YES!!! They subconsciously make you want to be evil! He points out that skins were once used for survival, which is no longer the case in our culture, and how there is disconnect between animals and their fashionable skins in many folks psychology. Example: Terry Richardson hugging a dog while wearing a rabbit-fur coat. Creepy!


John Bartlett, Joshua Katcher, Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart

To summarize Katcher’s points on tactics, wardrobe is used as a weapon of intimidation, as in the military trends. And the aesthetic laws put top designer togs in a higher social class, and uniforms such as a maid’s on the bottom. The psychological attacks are quite astounding! Our love of a good villain is used against us and I surmise that this may be one reason why the allure of CrueAnna deWintour is so strong! Joshua points out that the editorials and designers’ campaigns portray a society that has access to the unknown. Often-used dark, occult imagery are ever so attractive. He also notes that as fashion editors continue to cover fur, they intentionally do not cover the whole story.

While the furriers have deep pockets and use their financial influence on the struggling young and naïve designers, the ethical folks do not have the finances.

Joshua brought us through the points of how cruelly all the skins are procured. Much of this verified information can be found on PETA, Mercy for Animals, and the HSUS websites. In a nutshell, DO NOT TAKE FROM ANIMALS. And even more, humans seem to always make the exploitation into a greater hell in order to cut costs. The examples are irrefutable and we are accountable. Feathers and silk are a part of this. And sometimes fake fur is too! Look for the “skin” of the fake fur. It should not look like skin! Philip Lim 3.1 and Urban Outfitters have made this mistake. And many folks excuse this as a personal choice as opposed to social justice.

Skins from kombucha-processing, recycled material from plastic bottles, and closed-loop manufacturing systems are all ways to ethically produce fashion. THE SOLUTIONS ARE THERE—but maybe a bit more costly than fur farms in China. And with John Bartlett (left) following in Stella McCartney’s glorious footsteps and then some by nixing wool and alpaca, the designers devoted to this cause are joined by an ICON!


According to Bartlett, “Next time I show, I want to show a fully vegan collection. I want to make sure there’s intention behind it. Over the past year, I have taken leather out of my collections, I will no longer use down and, hopefully by next fall, I will no longer use wool.” He is also actively participating with Pinnacle! The paper will be released for NY Fashion Week, but you can see PDFs here.

During the Q&A, someone asked how you should talk with friends who argue that wearing vintage fur is OK. While some answers were in more of the understanding and empathizing vein, Joshua zinged in with “A vintage Nazi uniform is still a Nazi uniform. You wear fur, you hate animals.”  Like a shot to the heart!

When asked how designers can’t know about the horrors, John Bartlett answered, “They don’t understand why fur isn’t fabulous. [Many] consider fur as fabric. There is this incredible disconnect; it’s the same kind of disconnect as eating a hamburger.”

Always a concern is cost, and the ethical clothes are often pricey. Leanne Mai-Ly points out that her clothes are locally sourced as best possible and locally produced here in NYC, keeping her eye on quality and ethical accountability. Clothing should be seen as an investment, not disposable! I agree. Never thought about how the sweatshops are there to produce disposable clothing, which only makes that worker’s toil even more horrifying!

I sense a revolution—style-conscious, ethically inclined superheroes that can finally speak the language of the often oblivious and closed-minded fashion world! Clothes do make the man (and woman), and they can make him heard!

Labels/sites to check out
Vaute Couture
John Bartlett
Matt and Nat
Moo Shoes
The Ethical Man
Novacas
Olsenhaus
Pinnacle
Melissa Plastic Dreams

Tell us your favorite ethical designers and sites in the comments!

This review and the photos herein were brought to us by the talented and terrific Jeff Nesmith, an Alabama native thriving in Brooklyn. Designer, draw-er, writer, magazine producer, vegan fry-cook/biscuit-baker, and by day, the editorial production director for Real Simple magazine. He describes his site, welloiledmachinenyc.com, as always a work in progress; we think it’s ridiculously awesome.

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