Sruti Sethuraman has just been named the UK's Best Dressed Vegan by PETA so we caught up with her to ask her want it means to have this accolade and when her passion for cruelty free fashion began.
How does it feel to be crowned the UK's best dressed vegan by PETA?
It feels truly amazing! When the work you do gets recognition, it is the best feeling in the world.
When did your interest in vegan fashion begin and how did you find out about the reality of clothes made from animal products?
My interest in vegan fashion began last year, I was on my laptop one day and started doing some research into the production of leather and I cried so much. It was a video about cows in Bangladesh who are killed in the most horrific way for their skin. Prior to this, I was vegetarian my whole life. One search led to another and that day I turned vegan. I just couldn't look at leather and see just a bag or shoes - an animal suffered just so someone can look fashionable? My love for animals would not allow me to compromise my morals and that is how Love and Blossoms started.
When did you decide to blog about your passion?
I decided to start blogging last year. It was a way for me to share my thoughts on vegan fashion. I really just wanted to show others that being compassionate and not wearing animal skin does not mean you are not stylish. I also love fitness and healthy eating so I share some aspects of that from time to time. I love blogging so much and I feel like I am doing what I am meant to do. I also love connecting with amazing people on Instagram and I am very thankful to everyone who reads my blog.
Do you live by an entirely vegan lifestyle?
I do have honey in my porridge and tea that is sourced from local farms. That's the only thing I have that is not vegan. I could never have dairy or eggs after watching videos of what really happens to these animals. It is the best choice I have made and I feel healthier and happier for it. Vegan food and desserts are delicious and my favourite places to eat in London are Nama (Notting Hill) and Farmacy (Westbourne Grove). All my beauty and skincare is organic and not tested on animals and I buy them from Planet Organic. The nail polish I use is from vegan brand Zoya.
What is your favourite vegan clothes shop?
I shop at high street shops and ASOS online because they offer a lot of cruelty-free fashion. I think this is what has inspired me to start my own label - so that I have a place where people can buy shoes, bags and clothes that are on-trend and fashionable, without the cruelty to animals.
Do you have a favourite vegan outfit? If so why?
My favourite vegan look is a recent one I wore on Instagram. I was wearing an off-shoulder white top from New Look, a navy skirt from my own label The Cherry Blossom Closet, red tie-up flats by River Island and a sun hat. I think this outfit embodies summer perfectly! It's pretty and simple, perfect for a sunny day in the park.
How important is it for you to spread the message of cruelty free fashion?
It is the most important aspect of my blog and what I am doing with Love and Blossoms. That's why I am also starting my own clothing label - to make it more accessible for people to buy and wear cruelty-free clothes and accessories that are fashionable.
I have some samples already made from my label and it has been featured in some of my Instagram pictures too! The style is very true to myself. It's simple, classic and pretty. I want to make clothes that can always be in your wardrobe, you would not want to throw them out after a few seasons. So lots of off-shoulder tops and dresses, co-ord top and bottoms, skirts and dresses. The whole idea is to make cruelty-free fashion really stylish so people will be inspired to wear it. I also want to have shoes and bags in my online shop.
There are differing opinions on what to do with existing clothes if you are moving towards a vegan wardrobe. What are your thoughts on this?
This is something I can completely relate to because I also went from wearing leather and animal skins to completely giving it up. I would say the damage is already done so if you are comfortable to use what you already have that is a personal choice. We all learn and evolve. For me it was something that is close to my heart, I have three beautiful dogs and I have also seen the footage of the dog leather trade in China and honestly it breaks my heart. So I would say if you want to use what you have that is fine, as long as you do not buy any more animal skin, it is a really good start towards a cruelty-free lifestyle.
What is next for you?
All my focus right now is to get my online shop up and ready! It's been a dream of mine forever. With Love and Blossoms I have so many shoots planned, I also hope to travel more once I have launched my shop. I am also planning to start a plant-based catering business with my sister that will be launching soon. She turned vegan because of me and we are both passionate about food. She is an interior designer, so it is amazing working with her on this idea.