Fashion & Green Series: 7 Questions With Ciara Peter of Animal Friendly Shopping
SFFAMA: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
CP: I am the founder and writer at Animalfriendly.me, a vegan and eco-friendly fashion, beauty, and lifestyle site. My blog features high-end animal friendly products, as well as my favorite vegan brands and blogs. I launched the site two years ago to act as a directory for anyone interested in making their wardrobe more ethical, without necessarily changing their look.
SFFAMA: Why is eco-fashion important?
CP: The more eco-fashion options we have, the easier it is to express our individual personal styles, therefore eliminating stereotypes about what it is to be green or what an environmentally conscious person looks like. Once we can start to break down those stereotypes, more people will realize they don’t have to change their style to be green and hopefully become more open-minded about green living.
CP: While the first criteria for inclusion on my site is that a product is vegan, most vegan products are inherently green. Also, the vegan community as a whole is generally very interested in greening their lifestyle. Also, the high-end vegan consumer doesn’t want to wear a lot of PVC or unsustainable synthetics, so I usually showcase designers who use innovative green materials whenever possible.
SFFAMA: Who is your target market and why?
CP: My target market can be described as the new generation of green. Style conscious, career oriented folks who just want to make less of an impact on the earth and animals. While the products I blog about are all vegan, I take a non-exclusive approach and encourage everyone to learn about green fashion, regardless of their philosophy. If I have convinced an omnivore to buy a vegan purse, I’ve taken a step in the right direction.
SFFAMA: How has the green movement changed today’s society?
CP: Behaviorally, it has made people *think* about consumption. Which sounds like a simple concept, but before the green movement people sort of had the attitude that resources were unlimited as long as you could pay for them. So now people, at the very least, think about waste when they go to the recycle bin and are beginning to care about where their food comes from when they go to the store or a restaurant. The green movement has been somewhat mainstream for about 20 years but the rise of social media, especially facebook and youtube, have been the real catalysts for change in the last 5 years. We can no longer avoid the truth about our environment when video of the effects is so easily accessible.
SFFAMA: How do you see the green movement in the future? Where is it heading?
CP: Green is becoming cooler. People want to drive hybrids. They want to eat less meat, or at least meat which was farmed “sustainably”. People are just learning about green fashion and seeing that it’s a lot like theirs. Philanthropy as a whole is becoming the “it” thing. People are using sites like Causes to show off how much they give. I think this trend will spread more and more to the green movement. People will want to show people they are greener than the next guy.
SFFAMA: How do you educate the public about eco-fashion (or your product)?
CP: I specifically look for products people wouldn’t think are green or vegan. My favorite shoes right now are a pair of microsuede OlsenHaus stilettos made of recycled TV screens. So I wear items like these, figure out what gets the most complements from people, then surprise them with the fact that they are green and vegan. The goal is to make people like the product before they know it’s green, so when they do find out, it’s just an added bonus. Online I educate the public through my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I guest post on other vegan sites and participate on online fashion communities (like this one!). I am also personally very active on Facebook and Twitter. I join social conversations, and comment on FB posts, blogs, and especially mainstream media sources. I use a nondefensive stance to articulate the point I’m trying to make and back it up with sources. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people in the vegan community that attack others for their actions, but they forget that the point is to start an discussion and educate folks. I try to provide alternative perspectives for people and hopefully open their minds to the idea of living a greener, more animal friendly lifestyle.
~ Ciara Peter is a tech geek by day and vegan fashionista by night, this Bay Area native and 20-year vegetarian made the commitment in 2009 to eliminate all animal-derived materials from her wardrobe, but couldn’t find high-fashion animal friendly designers. Realizing there were probably many others in the same predicament, Ciara set out on a mission to prove that one could be ethical, fashionable, and fabulous at the same time and founded the vegan fashion blog Animal Friendly Shopping.
Through her research, she discovered not only dozens of amazing animal friendly designers and retailers, but also the horrors of factory farming, and decided to take it a step further, becoming vegan in Summer 2009. Ciara currently lives in San Francisco with her three kitties, continues to write for Animal Friendly Shopping, and designs software for a high-tech corporation.