Organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free, non-dairy, macrobiotic…if one wants to dine healthfully, the list of options (and syllables) is endless. Veganism, it seems, has never been more popular, but to truly be a vegan means more than minding what you put in your mouth – rather, what you put on your body and how you live your life.
Embodying this philosophy whole-heartedly is Cornelia Guest who has long been associated with cruelty-free style. The term, according to Guest, means no animals were harmed in the making of a product. From her recently released first cookbook, Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking & Easy Entertaining, to her popular handbag and accessory collection, she’s not only following the trend, she’s leading it.
Julie Bensman: Why do you think it's so difficult to find vegan-friendly, fashion-forward accessories in the current marketplace?
Cornelia Guest: The demand is just now growing. Launching any new brand is tough and you have to persevere. Starting any new business is hard but you have to keep at it!
JB: What's your favorite piece from the current collection and which items would you pair it with for the perfect summer look?
CG: I love the Peri Cross body bag (right) because you can either knot the shoulder strap or wear it across your body. It goes from day to night really well and I love that the gold in the chain dresses it up a bit. I would pair it with a nice white dress at night and knot the shoulder strap so it's short. Or, with jeans and a white t-shirt. It's honestly my go-to bag.
JB: Who are some of your own favorite designers?
CG: Badgley Mischka, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Rag & Bone, J. Crew, and Alaia.
JB: If someone reading this were to make one vegan-friendly change to her life, what would you want that to be?
CG: I would tell her to read about what she’s doing and putting into her body. People shouldn't be scared to go on the PETA website and learn. True education will only protect you and it's important to learn about what you’re eating, wearing, etc. I think it's important to know that our decisions affect animals. Then, people can make intelligent decisions and know there are intelligent alternatives out there.
As a 10-year vegetarian, PETA supporter, and Cornelia Guest fan, I echo her sentiments loudly and proudly.
image: Bruce Weber