Hello awesome readers and welcome to our first interview article (yay to new formats; nay to Corona that made us explore those). We’ve talked to Woman of Vegan – a female-run, Berlin-based vegan apparel brand that produces ethical t-shirts with a vegan feminist theme, whom we’ve first seen at one of the Green Markets here in Berlin. Their women-oriented, empowering and veganism-advocating communication caught my attention right away and since we love to support like-minded businesses, we thought we’ll ask them a few questions and share the answers with you.
So, enjoy this short interview and definitely check out their work. They are currently having a big sale to collect money to invest in their new product line…so please help out the fellow vegan feminists if you can.
Hello and thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? We’d love to know who THE Woman of Vegan is.
Hi! First, I’d like to thank you for these wonderful questions and the interest in Woman of Vegan. My name is Ana Molinari. I am the founder and the only person running everything for the brand 🙂
I moved from São Paulo, Brazil, to Berlin around 2 years ago. It’s the first time living outside of my home country and the experience has been challenging, but at the same time really rewarding! I studied film back in São Paulo and have always been profoundly passionate about cinema and other forms of art.
I consider myself an artist. I like to tackle different forms of artistic expression like design, illustration, collage, singing, acting…I really love them all.
Can you tell us how the WOV brand came to life?
Creating WOV was a very spontaneous process. I’m an artist myself and I’ve always loved creating digital artworks with an activism approach. One day I thought, well, that would look good on a shirt! Let’s try it. So I did. I guess at first I did it for myself, so I could wear it. I thought it was a great way to bring a bit of activism in my everyday life. And then eventually I started making them for other people as well.
What are the core values that you use as a decision compass in your work?
I think about our clothing as a form of activism. Our core values are very much sustainability and that our clothes are made ethically and fair, which is why we only source our products from manufacturers that are strictly supervised by the Fair Wear Foundation.
In terms of the material we use, our products are of course 100% vegan and organic. Conventional cotton agriculture is one of the most chemically intensive crops in the world. We believe organic cotton is the best choice to keep harsh pollutants out of our eco-systems and wardrobes. While also being the safest alternative to farmers and consumers, by growing without pesticides, insecticides or herbicides, organically produced cotton allows the soil to maintain its fertility and biodiversity.
We currently also offer one hoodie made from post consumer recycled organic cotton and PET water bottles.
In our eyes, veganism goes hand-in-hand with feminism and other social justice movements. Like, one cannot exist without the other. Can you share your thoughts on it?
I think it’s very simple. At the end of the day both movements have the same common objective, which is equality. Weather we are talking about equality strictly between humans or between animals/humans, we all fight for the same thing.
The Ecofeminist movement sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women and other minorities groups. The way I see it, women (and other minorities groups) and animals are part of the same systems of inequalities.
The naturalization of women as inferior to men does not differ from the naturalization of animals as inferior to humans. Like for example, when we take into account the farming industry. Most farmed animals are female. They are tied to racks against their will and artificially inseminated by farmers. They are forced to give birth so that farmers can take their babies for food. They endure the pain of forced separation and search for their missing babies. They are used for their ovaries, for their bodies and when their sexual organs tire out, they are sent to slaughter while they are still children themselves.
Feminism is stronger when it supports the rights of all females, not just human ones. To restrict the feminist movement to only regard the rights of human females is not fighting for equality at all. So I firmly believe that veganism and feminism will thrive as a joined force.
Can you tell us more about the feminist side of your brand? How do you apply that in your everyday work?
I really appreciate all the wonderful female artists that I have discovered and collaborated because of this brand. Also other female small business owners that I had the chance to know a little and exchange experiences on starting a business. As some people already know, Woman of Vegan is a very small business and currently run only by me, but I would love to hopefully in the future build a small team of talented women 🙂
In your communication you talk a lot about activism meeting fashion and how we can strive for social change with our consumer choices. How would you describe that concept to people that might not fully understand it?
In a capitalist society, an effective way of fighting for what we believe in and actually making a practical change is modifying the way we consume things. Being a mindful consumer towards fashion, for example, is extremely important in order to demand that fashion brands produce sustainably and ethically, with care for the environment and workers.
Buying from slow fashion businesses is an important way of supporting fair and sustainable initiatives in the fashion world. It is also a very powerful statement to fast fashion companies that it is not ok to produce in sweatshop conditions. Nobody should die or be hurt by Fashion. Never.
What would you wish to see more of in Berlin in terms of sustainability / veganism / feminism / ethical consumption?
I think Berlin is such a wonderful inclusive city! I come from São Paulo, Brazil, where you can’t find the diversity of vegan and sustainable options like you easily find here everywhere in Berlin. In that sense I am very thankful to live here. Berlin (and Germany as a whole) is very politically engaged when it comes to fair fashion. I think I would like to see more fair fashion brands that are exclusively vegan and do not just offer a few vegan products to fill out a gap. For example, how fair is a leather shoe? I mean, how being turned into a shoe is fair to an animal?
That’s a very good point. Thank you. So, apart from the online shop, where else can we find you? We’ve seen your stand at the Green Market Berlin last year. Are you planning to appear in more places / pop ups stores? Or perhaps have plans to open up your own shop?
Besides the online shop you can always find us at vegan and sustainable festivals throughout the year in Berlin. The Green Market Berlin, Veganes Sommerfest and Veggie World are one of our favourites.
I certainly have plans for a pop up store in the future and when the time comes we will actively inform everyone through our social media 🙂 The same goes for opening our own shop. We are still very small, but it is certainly something I would love to happen in the future when the time is right.
Any resources or recommendations for our readers to learn more about fast fashion and its harmful effects on people, animals and the planet?
I really recommend watching the documentary The True Cost. It is an eye opening experience into the problematics of fast fashion. It has forever changed the way I think of my clothes.
I would also advise people to download the Good On You app or take a look at their website. They are a good source for learning a more critical view towards fashion. They also have a rating program with thousands of fashion brands rated for their ethical approach to people, planet and animals.
Visit https://womanofvegan.com/ and check out their biggest sale ever!
About the author
Marika – vegan chef, animal advocate & educator. Professionally: creator of Plant Base & all its food creations, workshops & events, media & design. Privately: book worm, intersectional feminist, dog fanatic, Aquarius. Big on vegan food, even bigger on food for thought. Here to grow, open dialogues & share resources with those who also believe that veganism is only the beginning.