Vegan Weddings & Eco-Friendly Couture: Not Just a Trend
Vegan Weddings & Eco-Friendly Couture: Not Just a Trend
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Daniela Degrassi, founder of vegan bridal and eco-friendly couture boutique, Annaborgia. Annaborgia is a luxury fashion brand specializing in beautiful, bold, timeless bridal designs that transition to everyday wear beyond the bride’s special day. In this interview, we cover some timely topics every woman interested in veganism and fashion will enjoy:
- What is vegan fashion?
- How does a luxury fashion designer transition to strictly vegan couture and a plant-based diet?
- Are all vegan diets made equal?
- What are some challenges of going vegan?
- How do we embrace luxury fashion while living compassionately?
- What is eco-friendly vegan bridal all about?
- Can you really wear your wedding gown more than once?
Please be sure to visit Annaborgia and check out their amazing designs. Plant-based living goes beyond our diets and affects every area of life. Compassionate clothing doesn’t mean we have to dress in burlap bags or tie-dye. Vegan fashion is a movement whose time has come, and beautifully so thanks to trailblazers like Daniela. I want to personally thank Daniela for her time, and for doing this important work in the world of fashion.
Without further delay, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Daniela Degrassi:
Natalie Norman: You made an interesting transition from working behind the camera to being in front of it. How did that come about in your professional life?
Daniela Degrassi: Transitioning from photographer to fashion designer came unexpectedly. Watching shows like Project Runway I was always in awe of what designers would come up with on their assignments. But ultimately, I was struck by inspiration, too. I was helping a friend with a fashion project and we ended up in the front seats of a runway show during Milan Fashion Week. It was a mind-blowing experience and my subconscious started playing tricks on me right away. From that night, I had dreams of new designs in my sleep. The fuse was lit…
My years spent behind the camera as a wedding photographer clearly influenced my designs. I saw a need to create a fashion forward, sustainable alternative to wedding attire that could allow the bride and bridesmaids to easily transition their looks from ‘bridal to casual’ after the wedding, leaving behind the conventional, one-time-use garments we’re accustomed to.
Now I welcome the opportunity of being a voice for Annaborgia, for what we stand for, and spread the joy of producing luxury fashion without harming any living being. But I still like to work behind the scenes. In fact, I still photograph my own designs rather then pose in them, I don’t think I’ll ever get over being camera shy!
Natalie Norman: What is eco-friendly fashion and why was it important that your line be vegan, too?
Daniela Degrassi: When Annaborgia was in the planning stages, I had a personal epiphany and chose a vegan lifestyle, making my fashion project take a totally new, challenging but unquestionably more meaningful direction. Annaborgia had to be 100% Vegan.
It was also important to extend my attention to our impoverished planet, so I started sourcing for textiles that had a low environmental impact, while keeping the luxe feel I was after. Luckily I found an amazing Japanese toxic-dyes-free satin synthetic fiber, smooth as silk! Just what I needed to build Annaborgia’s timeless capsule collection. And with its wrinkle-free properties our signature fabric makes our garments just the perfect fit for the traveling conscious fashionista.
Natalie Norman: You’ve personally transformed your own diet and gone vegan. What’s been your greatest struggle with it so far, and how have you overcome it?
Daniela Degrassi: My first struggle was the sense of guilt. I have been a meat eater and wore leather and wool all my life, so I felt quite foolish not realizing earlier on that my food and clothes were all sourced through animal suffering and exploitation.
It’s also hard balancing the need to influence people around me in adopting a vegan lifestyle for the sake of animals without sounding judgmental. Some people react positively and want to know more, but the majority choose not to make the connection so you just have to respect that.
As far as food, I’ve always been interested in learning how food can affect our health. Giving up non-vegan food was easier then I expected because it wasn’t a choice I made for myself, but in respect on animal lives. Associating dairies and meat with animal sufferings makes it easier to stick to the vegan diet.
But we know well that vegan food doesn’t necessarily mean healthy food! In fact, my weakness and biggest challenge as a vegan has been giving up potato chips!
The only thing that seems to work is the Raw Vegan Diet.
I am not a purist yet; I still occasionally eat soups or veggie burgers, pasta once a week (I am Italian after all!) and add legumes or potatoes in my salads, but since I started eating mostly raw food, those crunchy/salty cravings are gone, and most importantly, I noticed with great relief that my chronic neck pain has totally disappeared after a couple of months! Incredible!
Natalie Norman: What’s your best advice for new vegans or people trying to transition to plant-based living?
Daniela Degrassi: Not to sound tedious, but a good motivator and trigger for me has been watching documentaries on animal exploitation. Although some contain disturbing footage, they can help in focusing on the moral reasons of this transition. Whether you opted for a food plant based diet for healthy reasons or not, I am sure the best thing to do is rely on a good nutritionist, that will also give the best advice on what to do with food cravings. I think after a while, the physical/health improvements will be a great motivator to keep it up, as long as one can keep their vegan diet healthy, and stay away from potato chips :)
Natalie Norman: Lastly, your designs are so elegant and timeless. Your Farrah Jumpsuit was inspired by the iconic and bold Farrah Fawcett. Will there be any future surprises inspired by famous iconic figures?
Daniela Degrassi: Women are a endless source of inspiration for me. From Farrah to Katharine Hepburn, who I looked up to as a child watching her charismatic personality shine through her screen roles. Miss Hepburn inspired Annaborgia’s signature Kats Pants. Similarly, to Sustainable Fashion pioneer Stella McCarney we dedicated our maxi Stella Dress. The Stella is sustainable because its minimalist lines makes it a easily re-wearable wedding gown.
One of my latest designs was inspired by Maggie Gyllenhaal character in “The honorable woman” series, Nessa Stein. It struck me how all her wardrobe was such a mirror of Nessa’s personality. Edgy, minimal lines infused with a delicate, sensual style. It inspired me for the Annaborgia’s Nessa Top, (below), a one-shoulder tank that is held at the shoulder with two delicate straps. The bottom of the top has two substantial slide slits for a little bit of functional style.
And yes, women will keep inspiring me. One of my dreams is to design an evening gown worth of a Bond Girl! Stay tuned, I do have something in mind already…
Note from Natalie: You can also check out my guide, Raw Vegan Food for a Perfect Bridal Glow on the Annaborgia website, featuring recipes, lifestyle tips, and support to get you feeling your absolute best on your special day and beyond! Here’s to beautiful, compassionate, healthy brides and women everywhere!
Yours in delicious heath,