interviews with vegan pioneers

The Best Vegan Gift Guide You Will Read This Year– Happy Holidays!

Come gather ye readers round the yuletide log, and open your presents I wrapped for you in leaves and twine.

In other words, it is time for the Holiday Gift Guide!

Now you have all been very naughty. Since none of my lovely readers suggested any vegan gifts via my fascinating facebook page, I guess this gift guide is going to be all about ME.

As a recent vegan, (I used to be just vegetarian) these are the items I truly WOULD want for X-Mas. I know I have probably written about most of them before, but sometimes I get a “collect them all” mentality. I fixate on the same things…and the longer you want something, the more you know you want it, right?

My list, if you please….


These awesome Jcrew-esque vegan mens boots. I have them in black. I splurged, but they are so great I want them in tan. Be warned, these are very UNfunctional boots sadly. They have literally NO traction and if you wear them in the snow you are truly living dangerously, but they look so cool…..HA. Available at Mooshoes.

Worker Boot in tan from Brave Gentleman X Novacas $250


I do not yet own a shoe from the inimitable GOOD GUYS. After doing my Interview with them, I feel like I just want a piece of the company. I now know so much that went into the company, how nice and cool the people behind it are, and the adorable vision for the brand. I like these red desert boots the best. They are so cute.

ayita red desert boots from The Good Guys


I have written about these before as well, but I still want them.  Once I saw this girl wearing a mini dress with over the knee boots, probably not an uncommon occurrence, but I thought it looked amazing. These are from vegan company Cri de Coeur.

Olivia Tall Boot $180


Ok, Allison’s vegan gourmet chocolates look really good. This is a necessity since I’m dying for chocolate. Every time I’m in the store, I look at labels of chocolate hoping to find vegan chocolates–haven’t found any yet! I want the toffee from here.

Vegan Toffee from Allison’s Gourmet.   I can’t look at this anymore… looks too good!


A weekend getaway at the Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. So…I read The Lucky Ones, the creator of the Farm Sanctuary’s Book. I found parts of it quite hilarious, and although the farm is closed to visitors for the winter, if you stay at their cabin, you can spend time with all the animals. I’d love to see for myself what it is like to spend time with rescued farm animals. I’ve always wondered what farm animals are like…never having been lucky enough to get to know one.

A place where you can count sheep to go to sleep? VERY dreamy.


Well, this pink bag is still on my wishlist… I wish I knew the exact shade of pink as screens can be deceiving.

Vegan Pink Bag from Modcloth $54


The last time I went to mooshoes in NYC I was really impressed with the look and quality of this bag from vegan company Matt and Nat. It was beautiful! Better in person.

Matt and Nat Malone bag $135


You can never go wrong with anything from Lush. After reading the incredibl, thrilling and eye opening book Free The Animals by Ingrid Newkirk this year, I realized that it is just as important not to support testing on animals, as it is to not buy leather or wool etc. Animal testing, especially and without a doubt for things like cosmetics, is horrific. Lush is amazing in that they do not even work with any suppliers who support animal testing. So much of their stuff is vegan, and I feel like they were one of the first companies to bring veganism into the mainstream with things like their bestselling VEGANESE conditioner. They also do animal rights demonstrations. They are a really unique cool company. Ok, how about some bath bombs. You can’t go wrong.

Lush Bath bombs. $ 4-10


Ok guys, this one is for the edgier among you. I forget if I posted this on this blog, or my other one, but I think Harnesses are a really cool look to add to your outfits!! Yes, I am talking about wearing these out in public over t-shirts and evening wear… They are very edgy. 1 time I wore one out over a grey worn t-shirt and not only did I feel like the coolest person in the room, and everyone asked me about it…I was the coolest person in the room because of my AUDACITY to wear one of these babies in day. These became pretty mainstream a while ago. Topshop was selling them…but of course in LEATHER. I searched for non leather options….buying mine from the pole dancing wear shop Body Binds. I love mine! However I found these on etsy today–Vegan Harnesses!

Sorry for the nudity in this photo! I think these are mannequins anyway. I recommend wearing over clothes for a XENA warrior princess/Anjelina Jolie in Tomb raider kind of look.

Miss Malwia’s Etsy Store

Also check out Body Binds (made from elastic so definitely vegan).


For the 10th day of Christmas….I would like a print of a photograph by the amazing Jo-Anne McArthur. Her photographs are so beautiful, moving and meaningful. They express so much that can only be felt. She is going to be the subject of a film, The Ghost in Our Machine, that I think is going to possibly change the world.

I will soon be talking more about this as I have an exclusive tell-all interview with the DIRECTOR of the film….hehehehe. You will love it.

Anyway, this is the print I would choose.

This says EVERYTHING about our relationship to animals. “an animal” and a “human” gently touching hands. It is like they understand in this instant how similar they are, and yet their lives are so different–two different fates. One can help the other. Both can help the other. I think animals are one of the most beautiful and mysterious things on earth. It is a gift we get to know them and spend time with them.

That’s what all this gifting and being vegan is about anyway…trying to do what we can for animals. They do so much for us by inspiring wildness and magic in us.

True art.

Jo-Anne McArthur’s prints start at $125 dollars and can be purchased here.

Merry HoLIDAYS, HAppy Chanukah, Festive Solstice to you….

And please, any other gift ideas I have missed…comment below!


10 Questions for the Founder of Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

Hello Everyone,

Today I have a very special post to share. I know everybody says things like that…but trust me on this one.

How to start? Let’s just get down to it.

I have an interview with the founder of Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather.

If you do not have a vegan shoe blog like me, and feel it is your duty to share cool vegan shoes with vegans and vegetarians, you may not be intimately familiar with this brand.

They are the coolest vegan shoe brand. Based in Paris, they make perfect desert boots, oxfords and other amazing classic (often with a twist!) shoes that did not exist in non leather materials before their company.  They have an amazing tumblr that I love which is full of awesome pics of old movies, music and their inspirations. They have a really cool company name and adorable logo, are extremely nice (connecting with fans such as myself and through facebook), and their shoes are actually cool, which is a rare quality in vegan shoes. Also cute.

(I have written about them here and here for starters).

I was so intrigued by this company I requested an interview.

Well the company is even more interesting than I thought.

It was created single handedly by one woman, Marion, with photography by her twin sister and Francois, with inspiration by her boyfriend, her “vegan muse”. The company is influenced by her love of movies, books and music–which you will read about below. Her logo was inspired by The New Yorker. Woody Allen appears in all caps in her movie recs.

Might I ask…why aren’t more shoe companies inspired by Woody Allen and The New Yorker? (to name only a few of her inspirations). So great.

Thank you so much, Marion, for doing this interview. I loved your answers and can’t wait to check out your movie, book, and music inspirations.

My questions are in bold.


Who are the people who make up Good Guys?

I’m Marion Hanania, french shoe designer, born, raised and based in Paris, France. I’m the owner, creator and designer of Good Guys.

I work with my twin sister Estelle Hanania and Francois Coquerel who are photographers and have shot all the Good Guys campaigns so far. I work with Jessica Gysel for the press and marketing part.

This season I collaborated with Jason and Sophie Glasser for the latest campaign and my boyfriend Yaya Herman Dune is the Good Guys Vegan-Muse from the start  :)

Amazing! I love this.


How did you get the idea for Good Guys. Had it been percolating for a long time or did it pop into your head one day?

I’d been planning on creating my own brand while I was working for other brands and I got this idea that the brand I’ll be creating will definitely be a vegetarian brand as I am myself a vegetarian. I’m an animal lover and a while ago I realized that it wouldn’t mean anything if my own brand used leather, so I decided that when I start this project I won’t use animal products at all.


Was it difficult to get the company going?

I have a 10 years experience in the shoe-business, so for me it was easy to start with a small collection but harder to find the right factory to produce the vegan shoes since suppliers are used to working with leather which is way easier compared to using fabrics.

Did people think you were crazy and tell you things like “vegan shoes aren’t breathable” (which I get all the time) or were people excited about it?

I had the feeling that in France I could get a weird image saying it’s a “vegetarian brand” as people here are such meat lovers and where leather is synonym of luxe and quality for them. I had everything to prove to french customers. Finally they realized though that the “vegan” part was an additional value to a product they want to wear anyway and not the other way around…Like “yeah…it’s vegan but do I really want to wear those heavy boots?” Now it’s more like “Cool shoes…WHAT? it’s vegan? let me get those :)”


Was it hard getting up the courage to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur?

I have this in me. I always wanted to create my brand. I had my own shoe line at 21 years old when I started. I learned everything from experience. I had no family in the fashion industry or anything related to management so it’s hard every day, but it’s so much fun too and so instructive.


I love the name “Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather” so much. It reminds me of an old Western movie somehow, while also getting across an animal rights message, but in a gentler and more positive way than some companies. How did you come up with it?

My brand is not meant to make other people feel guilty for wearing leather. It’s not an aggressive statement, it’s a way to show that wearing leather is not a fatality if you also want to have style. I knew the name “Good Guys don’t wear leather” was the perfect fit for my brand.


How did you find someone to make your shoes? Were you already in the shoe business? If not, I imagine it must have been an adventure learning the ins and outs of making shoes.

I looked and asked suppliers that I knew of and they found me the right place to produce my shoes. Also as I said I was a freelance shoe designer for 10 years so it was natural to me and I knew how to start my project.


I LOVE your tumblr. You guys are one of the only vegan shoe companies that has a really cool brand somehow. It’s unique and personal, and inspired by old movies and Americana and music and things like that (as far as I can tell). Your tumblr, your logo, your shoes–all have real style. Did you always feel like you had a vision for your brand?

Thanks, I designed the logo of Good Guys myself. I had a precise idea of what I wanted so that’s how it came up, a dog playing with a shoe. I’m a big fan of the New Yorker illustrations and the logo is so good I wanted to draw something that would last years and be personal too.

Are the inspirations and photos in your tumblr really important to your company–or are they just stuff you personally like.

It’s both.

And finally, what IS your “vision” for the company? (long question!!).

My vision for the company is to grow and get known by vegan and non-vegan and collaborate with people I like, artists or designers..(More soon…) and keep having fun doing it.


Can you list some of your inspirations. What are some of your favorite books, movies, and music. I’d love to know. I’m always so inspired to become more cultured after looking at your tumblr (haha).

Favorite music is Herman Dune, The Beatles, Withered hand, John Frusciante, Jack White, James Levy, Beck, Turner Cody, This is The Kit, The WoWz, Caitlin Rose, Jonathan Wilson, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith….people who have a lot to say :) I like lyrics…But I also love the Kavinsky track “Nightcall” on the Drive soundtrack and Zombie Zombie.

I Love reading Murakami, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, my favorite is Henry Miller…

I love movies and my boyfriend too so we’re constantly watching something, 2 movies a day basically. WOODY ALLEN, Alfred Hitchcock, Jude Apatow, Terry Gilliam etc…..


Is it fun to run a vegan business? Was it everything you thought it would be when you decided to take on the challenge of starting your own company?

Yes it’s fun, complicated and challenging.


Feel free to maintain your right to remain silent, but can you give us any hints about what the next collection of shoes is going to be like? I’m excited to see what you will come up with for Spring. I loved those pastel shoes!

You better get ready for a lot of colors. I love designing the summer collection because it always have a very “summer-ish, Holiday-ish” feeling and this time more than ever, it’s a good excuse to go get inspiration somewhere far away from Paris :)


Thank you so much. You guys are wonderful. Please feel free to add anything you would like to add, or further comments about anything whatsoever!

Thanks for the interview and thanks for the support :))

Awesome, right?

Hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did, o readers of the blog.