Sunday, 20 April 2014

Vegan clothing

Vegan t-shirts can be a great way to get a conversation started, especially if the tees are awesome designs in their own right. Here's a selection of my favourite vegan clothing options on the market and where to buy them.

£18.60 (approx $31)

Sometimes it's best just to keep things simple. There's no ambiguity here, just a powerful statement about your ethical alignment. This UK company also make tote bags and wrist bands, generally aimed at younger vegans. They also offer free worldwide shipping which is pretty handy wherever you are.

£20 (approx $34)

Probably the most ethical choice of all the shirts I've featured, this tee is fairtrade, organic cotton, printed in the UK with environmentally friendly water-based inks. And all of the profits go to Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary in Northern Spain. So quadruple bonus points for ethics. It also uses typography and a limited palette in a rather lovely way to get its message across.

$25 (approx £15)

This utterly adorable tank top has a lovely, positive message and who can resist a tank with bunnies on it?! Perfect for starting peaceful, thoughtful vegan conversation, this design can also be found on t-shirts (including men's sizes), long-sleeved tops, hoodies, button badges and as a print.

$35 (approx £21)

Who can argue against such a catchy rhyming slogan? I certainly can't. Combine this with a neat colour scheme and distressed effect print and you've got a pretty sweet addition to any wardrobe. Herbivore clothing also never use suppliers that use sweatshops so they get a bonus point for human rights ethics too.

Green Dino Kale from V Apparel
$20 (approx £12)

Dinosaurs and kale, two of my favourite things, brought together on a gorgeously bright green organic cotton tee. I also adore the way the model wears this with a (vegan) belt and rolled up sleeves - right on trend. This top is also on sale at the moment so grab yourself a bargain and show off your kale love at the same time.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Scarecrow

I stumbled across this video on the internet today and decided to share it for a number of reasons. First of all, as an illustrator I am a huge sucker for anything that's visually engaging. The animation in this video is by Moonbot Studios and it is simply gorgeous, using a lovely colour palette and great character design. And on first impressions it seems to be a decent commentary on animal farming too - what more could you want? Well there is certainly one rather large issue that I have with it.

The film follows a scarecrow who is being shown the cruelties of farctory farming while the humans blindly eat animal products without knowing their true origin. This draws a comparison with the way real humans can often be blissfully ignorant when it comes to consumption. The scarecrow, frustrated and upset by the way the animals are raised, then rides home where he discovers a single pepper on a plant in his garden. You can practically see his mind make the connection right there. So off goes the scarecrow, truck laden with delicious, nutritious vegetables to present an alternative to the meat-heavy diet in his world, in the same way vegan activists take to the streets with their plant-based treats and leaflets. The phrase 'Cultivate a better world' is even hung on a banner above his stall as if to emphasise his non-violent, activist stance. Pretty neat animal rights campaign right there, huh? Unfortunately not.

The video, along with the accompanying app game, was funded by Chipotle Mexican Grill in the US to promote their welfarist stance on food production, i.e. happy exploitation. Discovering this after watching a three minute tale of empowerment through education left me with a bad taste in my mouth. If we want to make informed choices about our food we need to analyse all levels of production, including slaughter. Instead companies like this reinforce the idea that it is ok, or rather desirable, to exploit and kill animals as long they are "raised outside or in deeply bedded pens, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet." But then, what do you expect from a large corporation whose most profitable products are animal-based?

I'm just frustrated that such a great quality film couldn't have been put to better use. It frustrates me that animal-based industries can afford to make these films as advertisement for their unnecessary products and as welfarist propaganda. If this film had ended with the phrase 'Go vegan' and a few links to resources it would have had a profoundly different effect.