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Fashionable Feet for Fall! by Coral 8
Sep25

Fashionable Feet for Fall! by Coral 8

In 2008, I purchased and wrote about my very first pair of vegan shoes: a pair of red Macbeth sneakers. It marked the beginning of an exciting personal journey of incorporating cruelty-free choices into my day-to-day and also the birth of what has become the Cruelty-Free Faves site, a storehouse of information regarding cruelty-free alternatives in everything from food to cosmetics and household products. And let’s not forget about fashion! A quick browse of the Fashion category proves that choosing vegan does not mean having to cramp your own style. Beyond that first pair of sneakers, my closet is now packed with clothes, shoes, and accessories that range from casual everyday to haute couture. As fall is getting into full swing and you’re perhaps looking for that perfect heel, boot, or ballet flat to complement the season’s wardrobe, let me share Coral 8 with you. This shoe design house offers stylish options for your casual day, the workplace, or Friday night’s cocktail party. I love my Zooey pumps — the cream and black combination add the perfect accent when I wear one of my wrap dresses. For the fall, I wanted to find a bootie with a wedge heel, which will go as well with jeans on the weekend as it will with sweater dresses at the office. Hello, Olivia Bootie! Stylish, quality construction (so it won’t fall apart when that rainy/snowy weather hits), and comfortable for all the walking this New Yorker does just going about her day. And, at under $100 a pair, Coral 8’s shoe selection won’t bust the budget. What Are Vegan Shoes Made of? “So if it’s not leather, what is it?” This question always comes up when people find out my shoes are vegan, and with good reason: cruelty-free should mean it’s as planet-friendly as it is animal-friendly. Coral 8 has this to say: “Let’s start with what it’s not: we never use leather or PVC, and rarely use non-organic cotton. Our shoes contain PU (polyurethane). Let’s be honest – PU still uses petroleum to be made and it’s still a plastic, but its much better than PVC and way better than leather, environmentally speaking.” Furthermore, Coral 8 is planning to soon launch a new line of organic, biodegradable shoes made from 100% recycled content, manufactured using no solvents or toxins, and using minimal water and energy in the process. Can’t wait to see those designs! Bonus Tip The Coral 8 web site was sold out of the Olivia Bootie, but I was lucky enough to find it available at my tried-and-true MooShoes — which, by the way, is where I purchased that first...

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Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons
Oct11

Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons

Several months ago, I was thrilled to attend the Cool vs. Cruel Competition Awards held at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel. The event was the culmination of  the creative efforts of both the Humane Society of the United States and students of the Art Institutes. The designs on display (and on models looking gorgeous as they mingled with the rest of us) were all so fantastic — proof that, even when there is a resurgence of fur on the runways,  it is possible to be fur-free and cutting edge at the same time. I especially love the HSUS Fur-Free Campaign for its work with fashion students; these budding designers are the future trendsetters of the fashion world. Giving them this kind of incentive early on, and helping them become more mindful in their design process of the potential impact on animals, is simply AWESOME! Since 2009, The HSUS has been presenting at the prestigious design school to educate students about the problems associated with animal fur. Now, more exciting news in the realm of cruelty-free fashion: The Humane Society of the United States and Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs have launched a faux-fur design competition at Parsons The New School for Design. Parsons alumni include Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Tom Ford, Isaac Mizrahi, Anna Sui, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. So the winner of this competition will be in good company. The contest challenges students to create faux fur designs within the categories of women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, or accessories, to be developed for inclusion in their senior thesis or other major studio project. Later this year, six finalists will be selected by a panel of industry experts to receive sponsored material from Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs. The finalists will be judged for inclusion in future exhibitions at Parsons and will compete to win cash prizes awarded by The HSUS. I can’t wait to see what they come up...

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Accessorizing with Freckled Sage
May14

Accessorizing with Freckled Sage

It was while wandering around Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia that I discovered the local design company Freckled Sage, which specializes in items made from oilcloth. This “retro fabric” that was popular during the 1950s is made from a combination of linseed oil and canvas. It’s durable, waterproof, fade-resistant, easy to clean… and no animals are used in its production. This fun fabric is perfect for so many items, especially as summertime is approaching. I love the big tote bags — ideal for trips to the pool or beach. And the tablecloths that come in vibrant, bold designs would brighten up any patio dining or picnic table. Other products include cosmetics/travel bags and aprons. There are even some items for companion animals available: I love the food mats for cats (shaped like a fish) and dogs (shaped like a...

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For Dancers: Cruelty-Free Footwear
Jan15

For Dancers: Cruelty-Free Footwear

I put on my first pair of ballet slippers before the age of three. When asked to write an essay for a college application about my three most prized possessions, I included a description of an old pair of tap shoes that I wore for the Dance Educators of America National Competition (we took home first place). My old-school white oxford jazz shoes — more scuffs than shoe, after more than a decade of slides and pirouettes — took me a little longer to replace than most of my leather shoes when I decided to make my closet cruelty-free. Vegan alternatives for dance footwear aren’t as plentiful as I would like them to be, but I’m happy to report that there are now some good options available for those of us who know firsthand that dancing feet are happy feet. Here are my favorites, for dancers of all ages: Ballet: Cynthia King Vegan Ballet Slippers cynthiakingdance.com Pointe: Grishko custom-made grishko.com Jazz: Capezio DanSneakers capezio.com *Tap Shoes: Capezio will make vegan tap shoes upon special order. capezio.com...

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Woody Harrelson Talks About Fur
Jan10

Woody Harrelson Talks About Fur

Earlier this week, I wrote about the wool industry. Today, I’m sharing this fantastic 3-minute video that The Humane Society of the United States just released this week about the fur industry. I love the idea of using a kid’s stuffed animal to illustrate the key points — sparing us the haunting images of real animals exploited for their fur. So many more people will be open to watching and sharing. Once you’ve watched the video, check out my previous post Fur-Free, Faux Fur, and “Faux” that includes some awesome alternatives (and a super-cute video clip of me with my then four year-old nephew). With so many fashionable options available now, saying NO to the fur industry is one of the easiest ways to go cruelty-free. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7iD6jzWZkPs&w=600]   A special shout-out to my dear friend Michelle and her colleagues of the HSUS Fur-Free Campaign for doing such amazing work on behalf of the animals. I’m truly blessed to have such talented and compassionate friends inspiring me each...

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What About Wool?
Jan07

What About Wool?

I first wrote about wool and alternatives in 2009, and it’s a subject that inevitably comes up each year when Jack Frost starts showing up again at everyone’s doorstep. This year, when a CFF Facebook friend asked me about wool coats, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the old blog post and provide some updates. When I first looked into wool about five years ago, I admit I was a bit daunted. Most suggestions I found had to do with staying away from big commercial companies and buying products from people who have their own sheep. I didn’t know anyone who owned her own sheep, so I skipped to the next suggested step I could find, which had more to do with what not to buy. Here’s some information about the wool industry along with a few of my favorite cruelty-free alternatives: Merino Wool Merino wool comes from Merino sheep. Unfortunately, the myriad folds in their skin become a festering ground for moisture and flystrike disease. Consequently, Merino sheep can be subjected to a practice called mulesing, which is a lot more painful than ordinary shearing. Think Shylock in Merchant of Venice. For those of you who need to brush up on your Shakespeare, think pound of flesh. Yes. It’s a nasty business. Chunks of flesh getting hacked off. Largely, it’s Australia that practices mulesing; therefore, avoiding any purchases of Merino wool coming from Australia is a good first step. It’s a step companies are making as well as individual consumers: H & M, Perry Ellis, Hugo Boss, and Adidas are just some of the big names that have pledged to refrain from buying Australia’s Merino wool. Celebs like Pink and Joaquin Phoenix also have lent their voices to this cause. Cashmere Admittedly, I’ve always loved cashmere sweaters… on me or anyone else. So the question is whether or not the cashmere goats fare any better than our Merino friends. There’s no mulesing involved, so that’s a plus. And shearing, similar to shaving, doesn’t seem so bad… does it? Well, there is the question of what happens to the goats who don’t quite make the grade — which is over half of them, by the way — and to the goats when they get old.  Furthermore, there’s the issue of how the young and aesthetically-pleasing goats are treated while they’re generating wool for us. In such a poorly-regulated industry, it’s impossible to guarantee that the goats are being treated humanely — even the ones deemed productive and worthy of care. Vegan Alternatives & Vintage As someone who embraces a fully vegan lifestyle, I do my best to avoid using anything — be it...

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