What is your first memory related to fashion?
As long as I can remember I’ve been interested in styling and fashion so my first memory must be when I dressed myself for kindergarten.
I put on some lipstick, an old Indian skirt and my little brothers white shirt and thought I looked amazing like a cool princess! When my Mom came to pick me up later, she didn’t look too happy. But it was probably just ’cause I took my brothers shirt without permission… That is the first memory when I expressed myself through clothing!
How did you start your vegan journey, and at what point did you decide that your fashion choices should be vegan too?
My vegan journey started on a train when I had 5 hours to kill and Youtube as my loyal companion for the trip. I stumbled a bunch of videos and binge watched those. I have a whole blog post about those videos and how I ultimately went vegan! (http://meeritoivonen.com/how-to-go-vegan/)
I was eating a ham sandwich while watching those videos and needles to say I never finished that sandwich.
It became clear from the start that my fashion choices must be vegan too. It was so weird to realize that I have always thought fur was bad but it never occurred to me that leather is equally as bad. So when I turned vegan I had a bunch of leather shoes and jackets. I still have couple old leather shoes but I take good care of them and will wear them out but as for the jackets I just couldn’t wear dead skin straight on to my own skin. It just felt disgusting.
How is the vegan and ethical fashion scene in Finland? What's working and what would you like to be improved?
There is a lot of improvement to go around. There are many vegans in Finland at least in my opinion ’cause Finland is a small country. Especially among students the ethical fashion scene is huge but not so much the vegan fashion… I think about those things as equals but some Finnish brands and influencers think that leather and fur can be made ethically. Finnish people tend to go for the local option so if the leather is ”local” is often marked as ethical.
But second-hand scene is improving and growing all the time which is very uplifting. Also renting clothes is starting to get more attraction but is used just by a handful of people. I like to see this renting thing to go viral in Finland but we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.
What are some simple, practical tips you have for women who want to dress more ethically?
The easiest way to dress more ethically is to use what you already have and then avoid shopping malls if you need something new.
If the brand has money to be in a shopping mall there is a high chance that the products they are selling are not ethically made.
Vegan maybe but not ethical and maybe ”ethically” made but not vegan.
Use what you already have and if you need to buy something new go to second-hand stores or websites that offer a range of ethical brands like The Woman Everyday ;)
How would you define your style?
I would define my style as cool and comfy. I know it’s lame to call yourself ”cool” but I mean cool also as in color scheme. Comfy is something I’m going hard at ’cause in my teenage years I dressed so uncomfortably and didn’t even realize it!
My style goal is to look put together while still feeling comfortable!
What is your favorite piece of clothing or accessory? And why?
My absolutely favorite piece of clothing is the amazing blue jumpsuit that I got from Urban Outfitters ”vintage” section. If I were a piece of clothing I would be that jumpsuit ’cause it’s everything I value in fashion and in my own style: it’s unique, comfy and second-hand. Everything I strive for!
Any simple styling tips for our audience?
If you are having trouble styling yourself the easiest way to start is to pick ONE item. Just one. Define that one thing you definitely want to wear and start from there. Usually crisis comes from the illusion that there are too many options therefore it’s hard to start dressing yourself with the mindset of ”having nothing to wear”.
If I would pick one item for example a black high waisted pencil skirt, I would then pick a shirt that matches the skirt and then a jacket that matches my shirt and then I piece of jewelry that is aligned with my shirt’s neckline and so on!
With simple steps like this you’ll find that dressing up stylish is relatively easy!
What are your favorite European Vegan and ethical brands (fashion and beauty)?
I must confess that I have still a long way to go when it comes to buying clothing from ethical and vegans brands ’cause I value second-hand and vintage so much. So as for now I don’t have a favorite one!
But when it comes to beauty I’ve been in love with Bottega Verde since middle-school. I know that they are not 100% vegan ’cause they use honey in some of their products but their skincare products and make-up are truly wonderful! The pricerange is so affordable if you compare it to the quality that you get!
Do you have role models? Who is it/are they and why?
One of my biggest inspirations is Lady Gaga. Of course she’s a wonderful artist but the way she has embraced different sides of herself is admirable and I think many of us could take that example that you can change, evolve and still be fully yourself.
What is your vision or next big step in life?
My next big step has to be a secret for awhile ’cause I don’t want to jinx it! But as for my vision I think I can be open with that.
My vision is to help as many people with their struggle of finding their own unique style and embrace themselves fully without the need to harm animals, the planet and other people. I also want to give people joy and excitement so I think that comes to the other part of my life which is theater and performing.
The power of having two strong passions is that whatever I learn from acting and theater I can apply it to other things and vice versa. People should do the things they enjoy and make a lifestyle out of it and I’m working hard to make these two passions of mine into a lifestyle.
What other interests do you have apart from ethical fashion and vegan living?
Apart from theater I have a interesting passion for Italy. I often dream of a little house in Amalfi where I could sip my morning coffee, read and listen to the sea.
I also love dancing and playing the ukulele! There is something about expressing yourself through multiple things that can help you achieve other things in life!
Words you live by?
”It always gets better.”
Because it really does. Every time.
Thank you for reading! If you found this post valuable, please feel free to share it with others. :)
Share this post