Fashion For A Cause: Calico Dragon Bags


Calico Dragon is a super cool line of vegan bags, started with the sole purpose of benefiting animals.

Not only does Calico donate a portion of their sales to various animal charities, but they also have cruelty-free messages incorporated into the designs. According to their website, the “bags are completely vegan and constructed from up-cycled materials. Since we order such a small number of bags, the fabric used to make our bags is purchased from factories out of their “scrap” material, which would otherwise end up in a landfill. Heavy duty construction along with a bold message presented in an artistic fashion make these bags truly unique!”  Love it!!  Calico Dragon vegan bags are also very affordable. I was psyched to get two new bags myself recently!

Calico Dragon Vegan Bag

Calico Dragon Vegan Bags

Calico Dragon Vegan Bag-2


Check out these awesome bags on their website!

Vegan-Friendly Gift Guide 2015


If you’re like me, the holidays creep up so fast that I’m always doing at least a few last-minute gift shopping, which can be seriously stressful.

That’s why I wanted to throw out a few ideas for all you conscious shoppers out there. There are so many awesome, cruelty-free companies and products popping up, but here are some of my favorite gift ideas (so far). I gave a wide variety of products and with a wide range of price tags to suit different interests and budgets 🙂 

Adopt Farm Animal Gift (Farm Sanctuary): 

This one is especially heart-warming. To know you are helping save a life and be responsible for a rescued animal be able to live his/her life out safely and happily. There’s no better gift than that! Upon receiving your donation, Farm Sanctuary will send your gift-ee information about his/her OWN special farm animal friend, including his/her story, photograph, and details about your year-round visitation rights.adopt a farm animal program

Gunas Handbags:

For the fashionista in your life! If you’ve never heard of it, Gunas New York is an independent high fashion label with a cause. The company was started in 2008 by designer and animal lover, Sugandh G. Agrawal who believes that animals are NOT meant to be a part of Fashion. Gunas’s belief in the importance of cruelty-free fashion is totally in line with the Sexy Fit Vegan philosophy that we can look and feel good (and be sexy) without harming other living beings. Gunas also won the Best Green Bag at the Independent Designer Handbag Awards, and their Flamingo nabbed one of the featured spots in the September Issue of InStyle Magazine. They are a high fashion label so the prices are not cheap, but the quality and style is worth the price tag. Take a look HERE.

gunas vegan hand bags

Powerootz Superfood Nutritional Shake:

This is such a great gift because it is seriously the tastiest super food protein supplement I have EVER had. (My clients totally agree so I know it’s not just me.) Plus it’s one of the least processed (probably why it tastes so good), yet smooth textured powder on the market. I wrote a whole blog post on it if you want more info why I like it so much). If you have someone in your life who’s in need of breakfast or snack foods that are convenient and will help them be healthier and get in better shape, this is an awesome choice. Just enter the code “ELLA” at checkout to receive an extra 20% off your order too (click HERE to go to the site)!

powerootz Feature-product-

Lookie Lou:

I discovered this cruelty-free company on Happy Cow’s list top vegan-friendly gift ideas. It’s amazing because it’s got such a wide variety of products and prices. Seems like there’s definitely something for everyone here!


The Six Weeks To Sexy Abs Meal Plan:

I couldn’t go without including my brand new book! I’m psyched because The Six Weeks to Sexy Abs Meal Plan is available for pre-sale now, and will be released December 15th in time for the holidays!!! It really is a great resource for losing a few pounds and learning how to adopt a diet plan (different than “dieting”) that will serve us well both short-term AND long-term. Unlike most diets this one is convenient and totally do-able for anyone, even the busiest of us. It has easy-to-follow guidelines and a hundred simple, delicious recipes to go with it. I’m quite the perfectionist and critical of myself, and I’m incredibly thrilled at how it came out and have no doubts it will make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. If for noone else, definitely get it for yourself to start the New Year off right! (Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

Six Weeks to Sexy Abs Meal Plan

Vegan Cuts Box:

This is just such a perfect concept I had to include it. To be introduced to new, healthy snacks, dropped right at your door, every month is like a dream come true! They do a really great job of including a wide variety of great products. They have both a snack box and a beauty box. This is a fantastic gift and definitely a company you can feel good about supporting as well. 

vegan-cuts gift box

I hope this helps in your pursuit to please your family and friends as this year comes to an end. Feel free to make suggestions as well. Good luck and happy holidays!!!

Vegan-Friendly Tattoos

Vegan Tattoo

I have been itching for a new tattoo lately, but I want to do it right and make sure it’s vegan-friendly (and share my research with you of course)!

I would say I have two and an eighth tattoos now.  Yes, an eighth lol… I had 3 that I got done between the ages of 17 and 20. The first was a tribal design on my lower back which would in later years be labeled a “tramp stamp” (I have come to embrace my tramp stamp over the years)! The second some Chinese characters on my ankle meaning “peace, light, and secure.” And last a female symbol with tribal art right below my bikini line. Well, I don’t know if the guy was nervous or what but he royally screwed that one up and I ended up getting 6 laser sessions to remove it. It’s almost gone, but I can still see the remnants so I consider it still an eighth there. I will finish the removal process eventually! 

In the mean time, 10+ years have gone by (if I want to totally date myself), and I’ve been craving a new tattoo, one that truly represents who I am and what I stand for. I’m playing around with tons of ideas and as soon as I decide on the right one I will be ready to get it done. That’s why I want to go ahead and get the research done to make sure I end up with a truly vegan tattoo. Especially since the tattoo itself will have the word “VEGAN” in the design and I want it to spark vegan-related conversations with anyone and everyone I come across.

So here’s what I found out…

Finding a vegan tattoo shop would be the best case scenario… There’s one in Portland for example, called Scapegoat Tattoo Company. Then you have nothing to worry about! But since vegan tattoo shops are fairly few and far between, it’s important to at least find a shop where the owners and artists are understanding and helpful dealing with your request to have a fully vegan tattoo experience. In Miami, Gauntlet Tattoo for example, is one shop that uses vegan ink (they even advertise it on their website).

Some tattoo inks are made with animal products like bone char, glycerin from animal fat, gelatin from hooves, or shellac from beetles. So it’s important to ask if the tattoo shops/artists if they use vegan inks or if they can order some for you. 

Some vegan brands of ink include:

  • Eternal
  • StarBrite
  • SkinCandy
  • Stable Color
  • Electric Ink USA
  • Dermaglo
  • Intenze
  • Fusion Tattoo Ink

It will be smart to take along your own razor, since the ones they have in-house may have a gel strip made from glycerin. Green soap, which is often used, is not vegan, so using a soap like Dr. Bronner’s is safe. Also, petroleum jelly is a vegan alternative to some A&D Ointment which can sometimes contain cod liver oil or lanolin.

And of course, We’ll want the tattoo-care products to be vegan as well.

Some vegan after-care products are:

  • Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Tattoo Balm
  • Black Cat Vitamin Infusion Serum
  • Ohana Organics Tattoo Butter
  • Dr. Bronner’s Body/Tattoo Balm
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter

When it comes to the safety of the ingredients in tattoo ink, we can’t rely on the FDA to help us out. They do not regulate tattoo ink. Beyond the ink, the other ingredient that carries the pigment into the skin is known as the carrier. Non-toxic versions of the carrier include purified water, glycerin (vegetable-based), and ethanol. White and black (iron) are the most toxic colors of conventional tattoo ink, and red pigments cause the most allergic reactions due to the iron oxide (rust), cinnabar, or cadmium red content. Bright and neon pigments often require plastics or chemicals so are best to avoid.

Some non toxic (and Vegan) ink ingredients include:

  • Black – carbon and logwood
  • White – titanium dioxide
  • Yellow – turmeric
  • Green – monoazo, a carbon-based pigment
  • Blue – sodium and aluminum (is that really safe?), many that contain copper are safe.
  • Red – Naphthol which can still cause a reaction
  • Purple – dioxazine and carbazole

Here is some vegan tattoo inspiration I got from

Vegan Tattoo Vegan Tatto Animal Liberation Vegan Tattoo Black Vegan Tattoo Freedom Vegan Tattoos Hand and Wrist

I hope this helps… Please let me know if you have more suggestions and share your experiences!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Being Vegetarian on Tumblr

Website for the “Ethically Handsome” Man – The Discerning Brute


The Discerning Brute is a website for the ethically handsome man and definitely worth checking out!

When it comes to veganism, sometimes it feels like we’re talking about secret women’s business; after all, 79% of US vegans are women (vegetarians are a more even split at 59% women, 41% men). But a popular website is shaking up the image of what it means to be manly:, for “the ethically handsome man.” I wanted to write this post to introduce you to the website and the inspirational man behind it. 

While it’s not an out-and-out vegan or vegetarian website, the Discerning Brute was founded in 2008 with a focus on “fashion, food and etiquette for the ethically handsome man,” and regularly highlights visionaries and creates discourses with creative influencers who want to “redesign the world, redefine success, and look good doing it.”

The site was founded by Joshua Katcher, an adjunct professor of fashion at Parsons The New School for Design. He is also the founder of the Brave GentleMan clothing label, which utilizes what Katcher calls “future suede,” “future leather,” and “future wool,” sustainable and ethically made fabrics which are superior to animal fibers. There has been a growing popularity in the fashion industry the last few years for the use of these high quality, cruelty free materials. 

Katcher says, “In order for fashion to be truly good, the handsomeness of an object must be matched by the handsomeness of how it was made. There is poetic grace and heightened pleasure in fashions of conscientious construction.”

We couldn’t agree more. Here’s to the ethically handsome man!

Joshua Katcher_Discerning Brute

Vegan Fashion Line Vaute Couture

Vaute Couture vegan fashion

Vaute Couture “spelled for Haute Couture with a V for vegan, but said like VOTE” is an awesome vegan fashion label founded by former Ford model, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart in the summer of 2009.

Leanne has had a passion for animals and the environment since she was 10 years old and became vegan when she was 17. This girl cares!! In addition to using faux fur and leather, she also uses organic, recycled and high-tech fabrics. Her mission is to take animals out of the fashion equation and she was the first all vegan line to show at New York fashion week.

The line has a little vintage/hipster vibe and consists of tees, sweat-shirts and really chic jackets for the Fall/Winter. Definitely what the brand is known for!  Check out a few of my faves below and you can shop the site as well.


Vegan Fashion e-Boutique: My Little Green Shop

My Little Green Shop Vegan

My Little Green Shop is a hip, vegan fashion e-boutique geared for eco-conscious families.”

They carry tons of products for the entire family and everything is eco-friendly but since we’re talking about fashion, let me just say the kiddie clothes are adorable and reasonably priced! They have a nice variety of shoes and accessories as well!  Based out of Vancouver, Canada they are a small family owned and operated e-store that takes a lot of pride in the products they carry, as every new brand is thoroughly checked out to make sure that they have as little impact on the environment as possible. They also donate a percentage of their sales to local charities.  They will ship anywhere in North America. Check them out online. I personally love buying from stores like this. You can feel the love!



Vegan Fashion: Soul Flower “Cool threads for kind heads”

soul flower vegan-friendly clothing line

A true hippie vegan fashion company right here… Soul Flower is an online retailer that offers eco-friendly threads for the whole family.  

The company was started in 1999 by “Mike & Peggy in the form of a small shop on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, MN where college students and locals could hang out and find cool bohemian and eco-friendly threads.” The duo could also be found vending at local music festivals, spreading the vibe wherever they went.”  What I love is that they have a strong focus on giving back and work with several different organizations which focus on everything from feeding to the poor to raising awareness on our diminishing environment. I specifically couldn’t help but notice the cute outfits for your little ones so that’s what I grabbed some pics of…can’t feel bad about shopping on this site for sure! Positive vibes all the way!! 🙂 




Vegan Fashion Friday Features Cri De Coeur

vegan fashion cri de cuer

Cri De Coeur is a Pet- approved vegan footwear line out of France and was the winner of Most Stylish Women’s Heel by Peta for 2014.

Established in 2008 by Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow, the name means “cry from the heart” which represents their “heartfelt desire to change the face of the fashion footwear and accessory markets by providing stylish, contemporary products that are ethically produced from harvest to high-street.” They use materials such as recycled plastic, organic cotton and hemp in their beautiful designs…doesn’t hurt that they have celebrity fans such as  Anne Hathaway, Alicia Silverstone and Elle Fanning. You can shop these chic cruelty-free booties,  flats, sandals and pumps on their website. Enjoy!

As you can see I’m quite fond of many styles… 😉


– Julia

Vegan-Friendly Mel Shoes!

Mel-Vegan Shoes


I remember when I first discovered Mel Shoes at a trade show years ago… I was instantly smitten with the styles and fact that they are cruelty-free!

The shoes are vegan-friendly jelly shoes with playful, imaginative designs available in many fun silhouettes. Mel’s designs are ethically manufactured in Brazil with their signature bubblegum scented recyclable plastic. How cool is that?! Recently they have partnered with some HUGE names in fashion such as Vivianne Westwood and Mr. Karl Lagerfeld which is amazing!! They are sold in retailers all over and online you can easily find them on the likes of Zappos and Amazon as well as their online store. These shoes are definitely a must-have for the summer and of course they have super cute rain booties as well. A vegan brand I will certainly be rocking!


Vegan Leather Handbags: Everything You Need To Know!


Are you still tied to the belief that vegan leather is a poor alternative to real leather?

Unfortunately, this belief is so widespread even vegans have fell for it. We grew up in a world that told us that real leather is the best thing for creating accessories. They told us it’s natural, it’s sustainable and it’s the most durable option for shoes, belts, and handbags. Of course, this might have been true until 10 years ago, but it’s not the case anymore.

I strive to use only cruelty-free products in everything I do, use and wear, but I also happen to be a fashion enthusiast. Have you ever felt discriminated by the fashion industry? How many times did you see those enticing designer handbags and wished they were cruelty-free vegan leather? I felt all this was very unfair and discriminating for vegan fashion lovers (of course it is mostly unfair for the animals, but that’s a whole other post!). I felt discriminated until I started doing my research and found some amazing vegan leather handbag brands.

Vegan Leather and Sustainability

I want you to know that it’s absolutely possible to wear high-end accessories as a vegan today: you can totally keep the style and ditch the cruelty, regardless of what luxury designers are trying to persuade you of.
Research and studies have made it possible to come up with materials that last just as long (if not longer) than leather, and that are far more sustainable and ethical.

One of the main issues with vegan leather until not so long ago was the sustainability of the materials involved. The vast majority of vegan leather handbags you find in high street shops are just cheap looking, poor quality PVC (i.e. plastic) products. These cheap materials make the act of not using real leather less sustainable for many reasons:

  • Cheap fake leather will start to crack after a few months (which will create more waste)
  • A lot of alternatives to leather are made with non-sustainable materials like PVC (non-recyclable)
  • Many fake leather handbags are produced in developing countries where workers are exploited and exposed to toxic substances

No wonder we believe that alternatives to leather are cheap and useless: that’s what we have been used to for years. But things have changed now. Many brands have taken the cruelty-free and sustainable pledge, as well as striving to be as ethical as possible. Most vegan brands are also environmentally-friendly and good to people.

Don’t be fooled by leatherette, pleather, fake leather and so on: look for quality cruelty-free and ethical brands that tick all the boxes for your standards.

Here are some materials you should look for when buying vegan leather handbags, totes and accessories:

  • Canvas
  • Glazed cotton
  • Recycled PET
  • Recycled rubber
  • Polyurethane (Biodegradable)
  • Cork
  • Ultrasuede
  • Ultraleather

Avoid PVC, as it’s the most polluting material used for vegan leather handbags. If you already keep real leather out of your closet and shoe rack because it involves suffering and killing of many innocent animals, you should also consider continuing to avoid it because it’s neither sustainable nor ethical.

Non-Sustainability of Real Leather

The truth of the matter is that the fashion industry has tricked you into believing that real leather production is “all-natural” and cool for people and for animals. But it’s not. I’m sure you’re already aware of the fact that animals (not only cows: at least other 16 species are exploited for their skin) suffer from cruel farm treatments like overcrowding, confinement, deprivation, castration and dehorning.

More than 60% of the world leather production comes from India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It’s cheaper, they don’t have many laws regarding the fair treatments of animals, and workers are underpaid and often work in dangerous conditions.

Despite being a “natural” product, leather is not biodegradable and not recyclable; Therefore, it is not sustainable. The tanning process involves chemical dyes, formic acid, formaldehyde, and chromium. Even if adopting “vegetable tanned leather” (which many brands are doing lately), this material is still not sustainable: the leather industry is intertwined with the meat and dairy industry, and together they are the first cause of global warming, deforestation, and water waste.

Quality Vegan Leather Handbags

The existential question now is: where to find beautiful cruelty-free handbags? GUNAS is a perfect example of high fashion, zero cruelty and sustainability in the accessories word. Ethics and sustainability are the core founding principles of GUNAS: this idea totally matches my standards, because a brand can’t truly be cruelty-free if it’s still cruel to people and the planet. Besides being 100% free of animal by-product, these vegan leather handbags are made using sustainable fabrics like coated canvas, polyurethane, ultraleather, ultrasuede and recycled polyester. For some specific bags, they also use upcycled upholstery that would have been discarded into landfills otherwise. For metal parts, they use a mix of recycled metals (lead and nickel free). Last but not least, GUNAS designs are elegant, neat and they are no less than their real leather cousins.

Below is a selection I made of my favorite GUNAS vegan leather handbags for every occasion.











PARIS Vegan Duffel Bag by GUNAS“PARIS


RIDLEY Cross Body Clutch by GUNAS“RIDLEY


There are plenty of other brands to quench your thirst for awesome vegan leather handbags that are also ethical and sustainable. Have a look at Matt & Nat, Cycochik, Angela & Roi, Hipsters for Sisters, Freedom of Animals, BAREL Ethical Luxury, Pansy Maiden.

This article was written by Elisa B, founder of the alternative and cruelty-free fashion blog and author of Your Cruelty-Free Wardrobe eBook. You can find more info about leather alternatives on my ebook, as well as many alternatives to silk, wool, fur and down. Elisa is a costume designer, a fashion & lifestyle blogger and a yoga enthusiast. She has a vision: the human race is living on a healthy planet while not harming any other living creature, including other humans. She’s determined to fulfill this vision and spread the love through her blog and her books. Get her book here.