Discerning Selects: August 18th, 2016

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These vegan brands keep us coming back for more edgy, sleek and innovative style.
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Beet x Beet  “Animal Liberation” tee $30
Bleed  Cork Backpack $181
Umasan “Asymmetrical Shoulder Yoke Shirt” $159.95
REVERIE “Rake Hair Balm” $36
Rombaut “Bass Pineapple Sneaker” $142

These vegan “leather” jackets made from cork are Germany’s most successful fashion crowdfunding ever

Acessories by vegan eco fashion brand bleed

When Michael Spitzbarth founded German streetwear brand bleed, he created the flagship of German eco-fashion brands – as in comparison with most of his colleagues, Spitzbarth took one aspect into consideration most other eco-brands choose to ignore: not only are all bleed products made from GOTS certified cotton or other sustainable materials in fair labor in Portugal, but the whole line has been a 100% vegan from day one.

The crowdfunding campaign Spitzbarth and his small team launched for their version of the classic black leather biker jacket made from dyed cork in 2015 went through the roof – the most successful German fashion crowdfunding of all time is a good example how innovative design and the use of surprising, superior materials can create attention.

Hi Michael, please introduce yourself and tell us a little something about your company bleed.

My name is Michael Spitzbarth, I’m the CEO as well as the head of design at bleed clothing. After majoring textile design, I worked as a freelancer  in that sector for a couple of years. I was able to take a close look of the machinations of the textile industry during that time and then finally decided it was time to create change. I founded my own brand in 2008 and the name says it all – bleed; because for our entire product-line, no human, animal or any part of mother nature has to suffer. I wanted no harm, no poison, no living being harmed in the process… that’s part of our DNA, anchored within the production of our goods through the entire supply-chain. Eco-friendly, vegan and fair production of GOTS certified sports- and streetwear straight from the heart of Upper Franconia.

Michael Spitzbarth, CEO of vegan eco fashion brand bleed

 

It’s safe to say that you’re one of Germany’s leading eco-fashion brands – all organic and sustainable and you’ve also been vegan forever. How come you go that extra mile?

First off, thanks for the compliment. To answer your question, it’s just common sense to not “just” go organic, but also fair and vegan. These three pillars are what bleed stands on. Sustainability and a fair production process, free from animal suffering, these things just go hand in hand.

Can you tell us more about your biker jacket, about the material and how all this came about?

We always saw a great potential in the use of cork – not just as an alternative for leather, but also as a sustainable substitute for already existing, toxic imitations. That is why we already used it for accessories and patches. But the idea to create even more items with this amazing material has always been in the back of our heads. We finally made that step with the Montado Black Edition, a fashion- and accessory collection with cork as the main constituent.

“Cork is the 21st Century version of leather”

The highlights of this collection are the two vegan “leather” a.k.a cork jackets. They are as stylish as the original – but they’re the renewable and vegan version. All items are free from animal suffering, toxic chemicals and have not been made under exploitative working conditions. All of this makes cork the leather of the 21st century. It’s not just a sustainable resource with an extraordinary appearance, but it’s value to the environment is priceless as well. The bark of the Portuguese cork oat protects the land from erosion and increases the absorption of rainwater. Furthermore, it binds CO², a process which is even increased every nine years due to the peeling of the bark. The cork tree has all these great benefits and allows us to create these sustainable and vegan products. And we don’t to chop it down, either.

You put together the single most successful fashion crowdfunding in Germany for that jacket, is that right?

That is actually right, the Montado Black Edition became the most successful fashion crowdfunding in Germany. We collected close to € 74.000 , which was 14.000 more than we originally were hoping for. We are convinced of our products and their quality, of course – we wouldn’t sell them otherwise. But the success of the crowdfunding campaign still came as a bit of a surprise. It looks like the people were just waiting for a sustainable and vegan alternative and it’s overwhelming to see what has been set in motion here.

 

Acessories by vegan eco fashion brand bleed

How’s the general feedback? And did you get a lot of requests from mainstream media? Is that topic interesting?

Fortunately, most of the feedback we got was very positive. A lot of people who got in touch were simply surprised, what cork is actually capable of. The majority just didn’t expect that you can actually make clothes out of this material that seems a bit fragile at first glance. But after they’d touched it, they were all very positive.

Most people associate the material with corks for wine bottles or even floor tiles, which made it surprising for a lot of folks, so it wasn’t a topic for the sustainable media outlets only, but for mainstream media as well. We had a lot of press.

What do you answer when people claim that vegan items “try to emulate non-vegan ones”?

I would say that this is nonsense. Just because we don’t want anyone to suffer for our consuption, be it human beings, animal or nature, doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to dress stylishly. That has actually been one of our goals from the start: Prove that fashion can be both – sustainable and well, fashionable.

Visit the brand’s website: bleed-clothing.com

Aesop

Aesop is a high-end skin care company based in Melbourne, Australia. Their products range from hydrating cream, to detergent, to animal companion care. The product range is definitively unisex with non-overpowering scents that make an excellent base for colognes/perfumes. It’s an extremely luxurious self-care line with an aesthetic to match.

Aesop products are on PETA’s list of cruelty free companies. In addition, aside from their shaving brush that is made with badger bristles, “No other product in the Aesop range contains animal-derived ingredients (beeswax or honey) at this time”.

“No Aesop product contains colourants, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, silicones, parabens or pearlising agents.”

Some of their body cleansers and shampoos do use Sodium Laureth Sulphate, not to be confused with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but their levels are far less than the normally used safe levels. They also offer formulations without it.

Aesop products are a mix of biodynamic, organic, conventional and synthetic. They look for the best possible ingredients, but organic is not always available, practical, or when importing would cause an environmental concern of its own.

“All Aesop cleansing products use surfactants which comply with the ‘ultimate biodegradability’ status of the EU Detergents Directive and therefore are compatible with septic tank waste systems. Our products are also phosphate-free and are therefore suitable for use in water-recycling systems.”

Their soap slab and Sage and Zinc facial hydrating cream contain Palm Oil for those that are concerned with Palm Oil ingredients. However, their Palm Oil is sourced from RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified suppliers. “RSPO is an internationally recognised, not-for-profit organisation formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable Palm Oil products by creating and monitoring global standards.” They have also purchased GreenPalm Certificates in order to offset the annual usage of any of their products that use Palm Oil. “This includes all ingredients of mixed origin, for example Cetearyl Alcohol, where the fatty acid chain may be obtained from either Coconut or Palm sources. These certificates give money back to growers who are producing sustainable Palm Oil to reward and encourage their efforts.”

More information can be found here.

Check out their kit for a man’s bathroom essentials.

Join the Club, Microsoft for Moonbears & Alva DoRight Bags

FAQs

• You subscribe to magazines, movie rentals, and memberships – but what about underwear? For about $24 a pair, DaDa offers super comfortable undies made from organic cotton, bamboo and seacell delivered every three months right to your door.

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Alva DoRight has some great-looking bags for guys in durable waxed canvas. They are all made in the USA, feature recycled nylon lining and have plenty of pockets for all your gadgets and gizmos.

Jasper's Past

Virtual Jasper

• Microsoft has joined the campaign to end bear bile farming with the development of an interactive website Exploring Moon Bears that explains the plight of China’s moon bears and the work of Animals Asia. The IT giant donated its time and expertise to put together the site which is anticipated to be used by millions of school children across China. In addition, with an English language version now available, the site can be viewed and used throughout the world.

 

Debate: Don’t Eat Anything with a Face

By D.R. Hildebrand

anythingwithaface

Photo: Joshua Katcher

Earlier this month, The Discerning Brute covered promotions for the debate event “Don’t Eat Anything with a Face.” It got a lot of press traction. Hosted by the U.S. affiliate of Intelligence Squared, the debate featured two two-member teams arguing each side of the motion. For the motion were Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and George Washington University and his debate partner Gene Baur, founder and co-president of Farm Sanctuary. Against the motion were Chris Masterjohn, author of the blog The Daily Lipid (sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation), and his debate partner Joel Salatin, public speaker and director of Polyface Farms.

The debate was composed of three rounds, including a question-and-answer with the audience, and to my delight it maintained an intelligent, robust, and precise examination of the motion, Don’t Eat Anything with a Face. The facts and concerns the debaters addressed, on both sides, were detailed and numerous, and, at the same time, far from complete. Nevertheless, at the end of the ninety minutes the audience was asked to select a winner. The results are illuminating. TheDiscerningBrute.com editor, Joshua Katcher was in the audience and had this to say:

“The debate was sold-out, jam packed, and the popularity of this debate was such that it crashed the Intelligence Squared website! The energy both in the crowd and on the stage was intense, thought-provoking, and above all, it was nice to her that the place where 99% of meat and dairy products (CAFO’s, more popularly known as factory farms) was not even on the table for debate, being considered indefensible by both sides. At the after party, even moderator John Donvan, author and correspondent for ABC News, admitted he’d be changing his eating habits.”

For anyone passionate about food, the definition of food, the future of food, the state of farming, or our relationship to non-human animals, this is a serious investigation of all of these topics. The only related topic not considered here is that of factory farming. Both sides of the motion agree from the outset that factory farming, and all its outcomes and implications, is egregious. The panelists debate only the motion: Don’t Eat Anything with a Face. It is worth watching:

One of the main points raised by the two who argued against the position was that many animals are killed in growing vegetation. But according to research, more animals are still killed in farming them directly: