Vegan fashion is no longer an oxymoron. You can dress compassionately
-- and look stylish.
When Ginger Burr visited my office, she was a smashing fashion plate
-- perfect makeup, flawless haircut and color, sensational brown
outfit, Kate Spade nylon bag and Franco Sarto boots, complete with a
faux shearling coat.
So what's unusual about that? Nothing, except that she's a vegan, and
the phrase "stylish vegan" is usually an oxymoron, thanks to the
limited clothing choices for followers of compassionate dressing.
Burr dresses in a chic way that complements her cruelty-free
philosophy -- that is, she won't eat meat, poultry , fish, eggs , or
milk, and won't wear wool, leather, silk, suede, shearling, cashmere,
or fur. With those kinds of restrictions, many vegans can too easily
look like a crunchy-granola Earth Mother. But Burr, a professional
image consultant whose specialty is vegan fashion, looks more hip than
hippie. And she wants to help other vegan women achieve the same.
Burr has been obsessed with eating healthfully since she was a
teenager. Friends used to tease her about her food choices -- they
scarfed down pizza and Doritos while she snacked on radishes and
carrots. She became a full-fledged vegan in 2005, and her business,
Total Image Consultants in Lynn, has since embarked on a quest to help
other vegan women find stylish fashions. Burr charges $160 an hour for
her wardrobe consultations, which last an average of two hours.
So what should a quinoa-eating, veal-hating vegan do about her
garments? Until only recently, it's been a challenge. Burr
acknowledges that if you're a vegan, the choices are limited. "You
don't want to dress as though you're going hiking everyday," she says.
Most vegan fashions have been decidedly un-chic. "Most vegan clothing
is casual, but that is slowly changing," she says. "For vegans,
there's hope if you want to be fashionable."