Published originally in Inner Circle Magazine on 9 June 2017.
Veganism, and a focus on eco-conscious, ethical living has surged in popularity in recent times, and the people of Melbourne’s inner north are regarded as being animal-friendly and environmentally aware.
We recently caught up with Henrietta Deller-Blue at Fitzroy cruelty-free store Vegan Style, to find out a little more about what cruelty-free really means and what we can all do make ethically conscious decisions in our own lives.
Inner Circle: For those who don’t know, tell us about Vegan Style? Why vegan?
Henrietta Deller-Blue: We love animals and don’t want to see them harmed. Sadly, they have to suffer a lot thanks to humans; for the sake of fashion, food, beauty and entertainment. That’s something we don’t want to be a part of.
We think of animals as living, breathing, feeling beings, not just as material for a pair of shoes or a handbag.
Vegan Style was born out of a passion to provide the world with beautiful, high-quality, cruelty-free products; to show that it’s just not necessary to wear animals to look fabulous.
We care about people and the environment too, so all of our products are made ethically, and with an environmental consciousness. We stock items made from some really cool eco materials too, such as Pinatex (pineapple leaf fibres), cork, recycled bottles, recycled tyres and more. There are lots of new developments in eco-friendly textiles at the moment, so our range of these materials is constantly growing. You can read more about why we don’t use leather here.
IC: You have a fantastic range of leather-free shoes. How does the durability of vegan shoes compare to leather shoes?
HD-B: Firstly, there are a lot of synthetic shoes out there that aren’t necessarily vegan. Many synthetic shoes still contain animal-based glues, or components that contain lactose. The toe box and stiffener, which reinforce the heel and toe, may also be made from a blend of leather and cardboard. Vegan brands ensure that all components of the shoe are free from animal-based products.
In terms of their durability, we seek out shoes that are designed to stand up to their leather counterparts. We care about quality, so the shoes are breathable, comfortable and designed to last.
Sure, there are cheap synthetic shoes out there, which are not great quality. These tend to be made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which means that they don’t breathe and are environmentally unfriendly. The vegan microfibre fabric used in our shoes breathes and has all the quality of traditional leather, but without the animal cruelty.
IC: What other vegan products do you offer?
HD-B: We also have vegan bags, wallets, belts and other accessories, as well as organic cosmetics (makeup, nail polish and grooming products) and fair trade eco-friendly underwear.
IC: How do you choose you suppliers?
HD-B: At Vegan Style we’re determined to bring more transparency to the fashion industry, so we choose to only stock vegan fashion brands that provide clarity on where items are made, what they’re made from and who makes them.
All of our suppliers value animal welfare, as well as the ethical treatment of people and the health of our planet.
This means you can rest assured that purchases from our store are kind to everyone involved in the supply chain.
IC: Why did you choose to open up in Fitzroy?
HD-B: Brunswick St and surrounding areas are quickly becoming a world-renowned hub of vegan and vegan-friendly businesses. There’s a vegan supermarket, a vegan deli, loads of vegan and vegetarian cafes, plus more. Some of the vegan businesses don’t even advertise themselves as vegan, so there are actually more than people think. It just made sense to move to Fitzroy.
Plus it’s a beautiful area with a wonderful blend of heritage and modern buildings. We love the culture and the people, and we’re so happy to be a part of the community here.
IC: Veganism, and a focus on eco-conscious and ethical living has surged in popularity in recent times. Do you think as a society, we are slowly moving towards 100% vegan, ethical, eco-conscious living?
HD-B: We’d like to think so and there’s certainly been a surge in awareness of how our fashion and food choices impact the planet, animals and other people.
But we’re aware that the inner north is a very conscious community, so we need to get the message out there to the rest of Australia too.
That being said, a large part of our customer base come from areas all around the country, and since demand for these more conscious products is continually growing, we like to think that society is definitely heading in the right direction.
IC: If there were just three things you would suggest we each do to promote ethical and eco-conscious living in our own lives, what would you suggest?
- Choose vegan. It allows you to directly make a positive impact on animals, the environment and people every day.
- Ask who made your clothes/food/products. As a society we’re pretty disconnected with where our products come from these days, but the story behind them is important to know.
- Purchase the best you can afford so you’ll have products that will last for years, rather than months.
IC: Lastly, how can we find out more about Vegan Style?
HD-B: You can come and say hello to us at our Fitzroy store (345 Brunswick St) – we’re always happy to chat (even if you just want to learn more about ethical fashion or veganism in general).
You can also check out our website and online store at veganstyle.com.au, or follow us on social media: