Have you heard the classic “vegans can’t find stylish clothes and shoes”?! Yes, it is a challenging at times to find your old favorites that are vegan friendly but one women who is helping other woman find their style and still be vegan is Ginger Burr. Her company Total Image Consultants helps women over 40 “love how they look by aligning their inner & outer beauty”. I asked her to share her vegan journey and picks for great places to find vegan style. Here is what she had to say:
1. How would you describe your wardrobe prior to becoming vegan?
Before I became vegan, my wardrobe was pretty basic in terms of fabrics (although I have never been a fan of wool (too itchy!)). That said, I did own a wool coat because that’s what most of them are made out of. Most of my shoes were leather as were my handbags. But, much of my clothing was made out of cotton, linen or microfibers so that made for very easy transitioning.
2. What is your number #1 vegan friendly fashion tip?
If you approach your vegan journey as an adventure and not as something challenging to try to adhere to, it will eliminate the feeling of deprivation and be much easier (and more fun!). Reading labels is a must. These days you cannot always tell by the feel of something whether it is wool, silk or leather. I guess that’s good and bad (I’m not a huge fan of people thinking I’m wearing fabrics made from animals but I do think it makes the idea of going vegan more appealing to those who have worried that being a vegan means wearing plastic shoes or shapeless, colorless, uncomfortable fabrics and styles).
3. Where is your favorite stop to shop for vegan friendly clothing, shoes, bags, etc?
One of the most wonderful things about the growing awareness of cruelty-free, vegan fashion is that you do not necessarily have to shop at a specialty store. Places like Endless and Zappos carry Matt & Nat handbags, Olsen Haus Shoes, & Big Buddha handbags, for example. I also think it is important to support the vegan stores so I send people to Alternative Outfitters, Susan Nichole and Vegan Chic.
4. What services do you provide your clients?
First of all, I am one of the only (if not the only!) image consultant who not only is a vegan but also advocates vegan dressing. That said, the majority of my clients (who are all women) are not vegan. But, over the past few years I have noticed a growing curiosity and awareness about animal cruelty in the fashion industry and an interest in making more cruelty-free choices (big yay!). And, my vegan clientele is growing, so perseverance is critical when it comes to enlightening people about how their clothes, shoes and handbags are made – most people have no clue about the suffering that goes into creating their wardrobe.
I believe that creating a wardrobe is more than just the clothing you wear. It’s about understanding who you are at a very deep level and learning how to reflect that in your personal style. It’s very different from “telling” someone what she’s “supposed” to wear. The journey I take my clients on results in them creating a wardrobe they adore!
5. What’s next for Total Image Consultants?
My personal styling business is growing by leaps and bounds (I’ve been doing it for 24 years and I am still going strong!). Women want to feel empowered by how they present themselves visually – they no longer want to settle for ho-hum or “not horrible,” as some of my clients say.
In addition to that, I am dedicated to advancing the vegan message as it pertains to the fashion and beauty industries. There is currently so much focus on veganism in terms of the food that we eat and less awareness about the horrors that abound in creating one pair of leather shoes or a wool sweater. And, as awareness grows, more options will be offered within the fashion industry – we’ve already seen that in the past 5 years. I can only imagine how far we’ll come in the next 5 years! All I know is that I want to be in the forefront of that mission!