Lois Eastlund and Adrienne Borgersen were plenty busy before they launched their digital cruelty-free fashion mag, La Fashionista Compassionista in late 2014 -- Adrienne runs an image consulting business and Lois is a designer with her own eponymous label -- but the friends were so passionate about spreading the vegan word, they decided to add one more project.
"I want to elevate vegan fashion, the way VegNews does for food, LAIKA does for lifestyle, and Vegan Health & Fitness does for athletes," Adrienne said. "There are so many compassionate choices and possibilities in fashion and beauty that can really change the world for the better. I want everyone to know about them."
Added Lois, "[We aim to] show everyone that you can be fashionable without the use of any animals, and be kind to the planet on any budget."
The first issue of La Fashionista Compassionista went live over the holidays. It featured Main Street Vegan's Victoria Moran on the cover, along with a fashion spread shot in Central Park using items from Adrienne and Lois's own closets. A spring issue followed, and now the women are working on an accessories-themed addition for May.
"The feedback so far has been amazing," Adrienne said of the new venture. "People are really grateful and excited to have access to a publication like this, where we’ve done the research for them and give them the transparency they might not otherwise get in corporate, commercial magazines. Many had no idea that there were so many cruelty free options. Many had no idea animal testing and animal cruelty were even issues."
Goals for La Fashionista Compassionista include building a community of journalists, photographers and other creative contributors, as well as increasing ad revenue enough to donate to animal rescue organizations, Lois and Adrienne said. "We're trying to reach the biggest audience we can, and [we are] opening up to collaboration," Lois noted.
She and Adrienne also told us about their favorite things to wear, how they strike up a conversation about cruelty-free style, and the one celebrity that makes Adrienne go googly-eyed. Read on (and don't forget to subscribe to the magazine. It's free, plus you get bonus content, special offers, and discounts)!
AB: I love so many different kind of styles, but I’m not so into the crazy trends anymore. These days, I wear what fits my body well, with the goal to keep it simple and chic. I prefer things that are fitted or tailored, but not exclusively. I love heels but my knees don’t so much anymore. I walk a lot and take the subway. In NYC, that means broken concrete and stairs, so I have to consider that when I choose shoes. That “Sex and the City” [image of] running in the street with stilettos is an urban myth. I’m happy chunky heels are back in. I probably wear too much black, but I add color with accessories. It’s easier to change up my look that way. I almost always have some kind of nod to my inner '80s rock chick, like studs or sequins or chunky silver jewelry.
LE: I'm definitely a jeans, T-shirt, and boots girl, with a little rocker vibe.
AB: I love Cri de Coeur shoes. I love GUNAS and Matt & Nat handbags, I love Surya Brasil hair and skin care products. I love Tarte cosmetics. Urban Decay has the best, most creative eyeshadow colors. Beautiful Birdie has great, all-vegan lipsticks.
LE: I love Joshua Katcher’s Brave GentleMan. I wish he had a women's line, although I have been known to wear men's clothes. For beauty, my new fave is Arbonne. I just love their mascara.
Summer fashion shopping list:
AB: I’m excited to see that wide-leg pants are back. I’ve loved the printed palazzo pants of the past couple of summers. They are so comfy, and some of the prints are really beautiful.
LE: The perfect, comfy [pair of] flat sandals and ankle boots.
Go-to outfit for lounging at home:
AB: At home, I admittedly live in yoga pants and tank tops. I never wear shoes or socks in the house.
LE: Jeans and T-shirts.
Go-to outfit for a night out:
AB: Totally depends on where I’m going. More dressed up, I love a sheath dress and heels. More casual, typically [I wear] leggings, a fitted tunic, and a hot pair of knee-high boots. In the summer, I’ll wear platform sandals.
LE: A dress from my clothing line.
Best way to start a conversation about vegan fashion:
AB: I often get complimented on a bag or boots, and I always say, “Thanks! It’s not leather -- all vegan,” and it goes from there.
AB: Most mistakes I see are with fit. It’s really hard to buy off the rack. Designers use fit models that are impossibly small and they create sizes proportioned to that same person. Everyone’s body is different. If you find something that fits fairly well, make sure it’s the size that fits the widest part of your body and have it tailored to the rest of you. The extra expense is worth it to have wardrobe pieces that you love and make you feel great. Never have anything in your closet that makes you look in the mirror and say, “meh.”
LE: Stop wearing leggings as pants! It's not flattering or appropriate. If you must wear leggings (and you're not on your way to the gym), please wear a long shirt or tunic that covers your bottom. Also, a lot of women don't update their looks. That has a tendency to age you. I'm not saying you need to follow the latest fashion trend, but women should reevaluate their look every few years and just try to keep current and modern. It's amazing what an updated haircut, makeup look, and outfit can do.
AB: Gwen Stefani. She knows how to take risks and make it her own. She did the most brilliant thing by embracing Harajuku, Japanese street style… I hear her new shoe line is also all vegan -- yippee!
One essential beauty product:
AB: No way. I need my beauty products. I need Surya Brasil Color Fixation Shampoo and Conditioner. Also, their Sapien line body moisturizer smells so good. It's light and effective, and I can use it on my face, too. Must have Tarte black eyeliner. It’s a really deep black, creates a clean line [and it] is also smudgable -- is that a word? -- and doesn’t wear off. And mascara, gotta have mascara. That's the shortest list I've got.
LE: I don't use a lot of beauty products anymore, so I guess I would pick eyeliner pencil. I can always "pinch" my cheeks for color, but I do feel naked without a little bit of eyeliner.
Dream LAFC cover model:
AB: Having Victoria Moran as the cover model for our premier issue was a dream come true. She is gorgeous, an amazing person, so well respected, and we’re proud to call her friend and mentor. She stands for everything awesome about veganism. Now that we’ve accomplished that, I’d love to do a men’s issue with Joaquin Phoenix on the cover. I’d probably pass out at the photo shoot. I’m ridiculous, I know. I just heart him!