The Perfect Gentleman Issue 6 - Page 21

PG: You mentioned many small stories. Are larger retailers starting to take notice of sustainable clothing? CS: I can’t speak too much on the menswear because fashion is still very much “women driven.” But we see vegan purses from a company like Matt & Nat (www,mattandnat.com) being carried by Nordstrom stores. This is what is happening now. Huge corporations are taking more of what is happening in society and wanting to be more econ-conscious with their clothing options. A company like Zara just did a wonderful thing with us about the number of angora rabbits that are being live-plucked every year in China. We were able to make the supply chain connection with the Zara’s team, they donated a million dollars worth of their angora wool products to refugees in Syria. That’s amazing. PG: Do you think vegan celebrities are having an influence? CS: I think it can’t hurt. We have celebrities like Casey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto. It is becoming more of a thing now to flaunt that you are eco-conscious in “animal friendly” fashion. Of course, designers are smart to look to these huge influencers and note that the public will be following their lead. TPG: Final thoughts? CS: I think about how the world is changing, more people are thinking about ethical choices in not only what they eat but extending to their wardrobe. It has started with women. About 85% of vegans are women but we do have a pull on our boyfriends (laughs). I think they are so many vegan influencers out there who are men. There is such a growing narrative around this that it will only get bigger. What also helps is social media. PETA’s FB pages reached its 4.2 millionth follower, which is a huge growth from last year. Where it was only at 3 million. We are reaching so many people who are seeing heartbreaking footage of how sheep are treated, it is not because these people are evil but because they are paid by volume and by the hour. We have 5 or 6 investigations into the wool industry in Australia, Chile, the US, and so called sustainable farms in Argentine. We saw Stella McCarthy walk away from the Ovis 21 network in Argentina because she saw our footage and she knew she couldn’t support it. When we shine more light on what really goes on behind the scenes, it is only a matter of time before everyone starts changing the way they consume. PG: Celebrities can afford expensive clothes. What about people on a more limited budget? Can they find clothing at reasonable prices? CS: You can find eco-blends in stores like H&M, Zara, and TopMan that offers options that are high quality and durable. They look dapper and wonderful. There are options that are good for any budget – you just have to look for it. A Gentleman Talks with Christina Sewell 21