Category Archives: Lifestyle

Perth is a Plant-Based Donut Heaven

Who doesn’t love donuts? The iconic treat has been a household favourite for generations and now it has never been easier for a vegan to get a hold of them.

Image: Yo Donuts Perth

Veganism in Perth is an ever-growing movement and as a result, there are a plethora of options available for the consciously inclined.

We did some underground investigative work and found two boutique donut makers in Perth’s North and South regions, who are slowly developing their identity within the plant-based community.

Image: Yo Donuts Perth

Yo Donuts Perth

A delicious donut maker situated South of the River, Yo Donuts offers high-end donuts and cupcakes that look and taste like a work of art. Yo Donuts produces fresh goodies by order during the week, and orders can be made for a box of 12 or more. From Oreo and chocolate sauce filled delights to strawberry pistachio ring donuts, Yo Donuts Perth provides a mouth-watering alternative for people who are after an amazing experience, minus the cruelty.

Instagram: @yodonutsperth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yodonutsperth/

Image: 2 Fat Frenchies

2 Fat Frenchies

As the name suggests, this adorable North of the River business is a donut maker that produces aesthetically pleasing treats and not to mention has two French Bulldog mascots! The two fury friends belong to the owners of 2 Fat Frenchies, and photos of them are just part of the parcel. Enjoy the quirkiness of this unique brand along with some of the most stunning donuts you will ever see, not to mention a flavour extravaganza in your mouth!

Instagram: @2fat_frenchies

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2FatFrenchies/

Image: 2 Fat Frenchies

Both Yo Donuts Perth and 2 Fat Frenchies are still hidden treasures amongst the vegan community and the donuts produced by both donut connoisseurs are made with an incredible personal touch.

Be sure to make your next donut orders with one of these two Perth gems.

 

Written by: Krithika Ramnarayan

The Vegan Community’s Best Kept Secret: Sylvia’s Vegan Cuisine

The options for the plant-based community seems to be rapidly increasing. Veganism is easily the fastest growing movement and choices are becoming more mainstream, accessible and affordable.

Through our thorough investigation, we were able to unravel a compassionate gem amongst our niche! Introducing, Sylvia’s Vegan Cuisine, a boutique vegan catering and meal preparation business based in Perth Western Australia.

We had the pleasure of interviewing the woman behind this cruelty free business:

Why did you start Sylvia’s Vegan Cuisine?
I have been a massive animal lover all my life! I started my own vegan catering company to promote veganism and encourage others to make the change to a plant-based diet or at least eat less dairy, eggs and meat. The most effective way for me to promote change in people’s diet is through delicious food. It’s certainly what gave me the final push into veganism. To eat something delicious, fresh and cruelty free means that as a vegan, you don’t have to miss out on amazing, tasty food. I especially love it when Omni’s eat my food and can’t believe its vegan!

I became a Vegan almost three years ago now and before that, I was a vegetarian for most of my life. It wasn’t until I became vegan that I developed a real passion for food. I became really interested in modifying and altering non-vegan recipes to suit the vegan diet. It’s amazing how you can recreate flavours and textures without using meat, dairy and eggs. Cooking really excites me now and I want to show others how vegan cooking can ignite a passion for food and cooking in them too.

Can you tell us about some of the things Sylvia’s Vegan Cuisine does?
We cater for events and functions, either finger/party food or hot and cold dishes. We also provide individual weekly meals most weekends so people can order lunches and dinners for their week ahead. There are usually two options to choose from. We also provide a volunteer service for events such as the Greener Pastures Animal Sanctuary, who do fundraisers on a regular basis, like Yoga in the Pasture. You get to do morning yoga with the goats and the pigs then we provide a lunch afterwards. GPA are an amazing non-profit organisation run by Rachael Parker who cares for over 150 rescued farm animals. They are always in need to donations and support.

How do you source your amazing recipes?
The internet is a vegan’s best friend! Any recipe, food question, health query or general inquiry associated with veganism is fully covered online…. Just Google! Vegans are very well connected locally, nationally and internationally. I’ve been amazed by this. Bosh has great online recipes and so does Vegan Richa. I scope the odd magazine here and there for recipes and ideas. If I eat something delicious, I’ll ask the cook to share their recipe!

Why is spreading the message of veganism so important?
So many reasons. For me, first and foremost is to stop the suffering, torture, exploitation and death of animals. Animals are someones not somethings. We have a deep connection to all other sentient beings so to do what we are doing to them goes against our true nature as human beings. Also, animal agriculture is literally killing the planet. Health-wise, I think it’s pretty common knowledge now that it’s really not good for us to eat any animal products. We can certainly live wonderful, healthy lives without them.

Who are some of your vegan inspirations?
Every Australian vegan know James Aspey! He is a legend. James has dedicated his whole life to veganism and I really admire and appreciate the work he does. One of my cooking inspirations is Veet from Veet’s Cuisine in Byron Bay. I get to see her when I go on yoga retreat every year or so. She provides the delicious food for us yogis and its always organic, healthy, fresh and delicious. Veets always willing to share recipes and offers me advice and handy tips. There are vegans in my life who are the unsung heroes and inspire me on a daily basis. Rachael Parker who looks after the 150+ animals at Greener Pasturers with a small group of volunteers. One of my best friends, Caitlin Donaldson constantly inspires me. She’s studying law so that one day she can help make positive changes in legislation pertaining to animals. Caitlin also does a lot of volunteer work for places like GPS in her spare time. And then there’s young Alyssa Jade who also does a lot of volunteer work at GPS and helps run Perth Pig Save. Alyssa bravely approaches the pig trucks on their way in to Linley Valley abattoir in protest and to offer solace to the poor pigs.

How can we book you for an event or order one of your weekly lunch orders?
Easy! You can go to our Facebook page and leave a message or email us at info@sylviasvegancuisine.com. Give us a call on 0401 906 869 or visit the website sylviasvegancuisine.com

 

Written by: Krithika Ramnarayan
Images: Krithika Ramnarayan

Fashion Under Capitalism: Inequality In The Meritocratic Ideal

The fashion industry has been labelled many things – shallow, exploitative, unsustainable, unethical – the list goes on and on. But where do these labels come from, and does fashion truly deserve these names?

In an environment revering limited edition pieces for the price of an arm and leg, it’s no wonder that fashion gets a bad rap. How can the average consumer afford a $500 shirt from Vetements, or a Supreme hoodie at an even higher price point, when that amount could easily feed a family for a month? The show of affluence through fashion has been a practice for centuries, if not since the beginning of fashion itself. And it makes sense; if you have it, why not flaunt it? The underlying problem though, is not this display of wealth, but the glaring inequalities that are showcased through it by the capitalist system it represents.

Image: Reuters / Lucas Jackson 

Although capitalism has mostly been referenced as a political or economic model, it goes without saying that it affects even the most private areas of our lives. Without being consciously aware of it, our values, needs and wants are heavily influenced by capitalist ideals. The emphasis on independence and innovation as drivers for success has given people the hope that they too can change the circumstances of where they began in life. It’s a system awarding an individual’s ability based on merit regardless of their social background, proving that anyone and everyone can ‘make it big’. Finally, all are seen to have equal opportunities, as success is causally linked to hard work and perseverance. This meritocratic ideal has since been idolized, throwing success stories of people going from ‘rags to riches’ into the limelight and praising the underdogs of our century for their relatability. But how equal are our opportunities really?

Image: The Guardian 

The idea of meritocracy is appealing for obvious reasons. To be able to move beyond what we are born into solely by dint of talent and effort gives the illusion of a fair playground for all, and spits in the face of social immobility that prevailed until the 1800’s. But this utopian system of fairness is just another way to disguise inequality, making it acceptable, even praised. Meritocracy disregards certain privileges people are born into, reiterating the idea that if you just worked hard enough, you would be able to get to where you want to be. Jo Littler discussed this topic in her article, saying that, “those who could not draw on existing reservoirs of privilege were told to work harder to catch up.” Not only is the same level of success expected from everyone, but the failure to reach this level is the fault of the individual rather than external factors they can’t control. Merit is undoubtedly manipulated to benefit the wealthy, feeding society with the idea that everyone begins at the same starting line when certain opportunities are only presented to those with privileged backgrounds.

Image: Heroine

This quite obviously permeates into the fashion industry. Our obsession with owning high end fashion pieces began with meritocracy, as it is a symbol of social status, proof that anyone able to indulge in luxury can move up the social ladder. It also legitimises social inequalities by completely disregarding the structural conditions of opportunity. When we hear of the ‘self-made man/woman’ in fashion, they usually revolve around those of the top tier, publicised in a way to perpetuate the illusion of an open society. Not everyone can spring up out of nowhere without a push in the right direction. Knowing the right people and having a pool of resources all contribute to becoming noticed. Of course, talent and hard work makes a big difference and shouldn’t be disregarded, but privilege works much like a stack of dominoes. A little help in the beginning will continue to open up doors of opportunity, always placing those coming from privilege one step ahead of the average person.

Image: Teen Vogue

Take the runway as an example. Gigi and Bella Hadid have exploded all over the media in recent years, seemingly out of the blue. With a mixture of winning the genetic lottery, charisma and hard work, they have become household names and respected models in their own right. However, far from the typical tale of the underdog rising to success, the sisters already came from an affluent background, with a mother previously working in the modelling industry – a definite advantage leading to their success.

Image: Heroine

Then there’s Kendall Jenner, rising to equal fame with the support of her family’s social media reach. It’s obvious that, although these women worked for their coveted positions, they were given opportunities any average person would not have access to. Whilst the modelling world has moved away from aristocratic roots, its portrayal of the down to earth, girl-next-door that anyone can become is a far cry from reality. Picking models who are seemingly normal may appeal to meritocratic values, but it is only a mask for the ingrained elitism still prevalent in fashion, when these models are clearly selected from a homogenous pool of wealthy families.

Image: IMG Model News

The result then, is an overshadowing of less prominent models who have equal potential but are at an obvious disadvantage to those born into wealth. As Martin Lerma says in his article, “There are countless stories they can help tell, campaigns they can front, catwalks they can traverse and young people they can inspire, but fewer and fewer people are interested in developing those nascent talents into professionals.” Fighting for a place in fashion is made so much harder when there’s an identical expectation of success for everyone, in an industry still uninterested in the average individual.

Maybe the meritocratic ideal is not so fair after all.

 

Written by Tiffany Ko

References:
https://www.heroine.com/the-editorial/Model-Meritocracy
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/20/meritocracy-inequality-theresa-may-donald-trump

A Vegan’s Guide Through The Swan Valley

As we slowly embrace the sweater weather and retreat into semi-hibernation through the chilly months, savouring an occasional sunny day with a trip through the Swan Valley is an absolute must for the average wine lover.

We here at Vashti have devised a quick guide for a cruelty free trip through the Swan Valley with our top picks for those who relish a good wine and a great meal.

Image: Mandoon Estate

Mandoon Estate

First on the list is the critically acclaimed Mandoon Estate. Being one of Western Australia’s most famous wineries, it is no surprise that this premium estate accommodates to our compassionate community. Their 2012 Cabernet Merlot, 2010 Research Cabernet, 2010 Reserve Frankland River Shiraz, 2012 Old Vine Shiraz and 2011 Old Vine Grenache, are all vegan friendly! Before booking a table in their restaurant be sure to inform the staff that you are vegan and the chefs are great at infusing flavours to suit your palette.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 9am – 8.30pm

Image: Harris Organic Winery 

Harris Organic Winery

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a winery and be able to order pretty much anything on the wine list? Well if your thought process is like us, then be sure to visit Harris Organic Winery. This one of a kind estate was founded by Duncan Harris and produces a range of dry white and red table wines, dessert wines and fortified wines. The best part? All their wines and liquor are vegan friendly.

Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 11am – 4.30pm

Image: Sandalford Winery

Sandalford Winery

For those who enjoy experiencing a slice of luxury, Sandalford is definitely a destination you have add to your Swan Valley list. This gorgeous establishment was founded in 1840 and is one of Western Australia’s oldest privately-owned wineries. Located on jaw-dropping grounds, the pristine estate is well worth a wander! For our plant-based friends, you will be happy to know that only six wines on their extensive wine list are not vegan friendly. With a friendly team, be sure to inform the staff of your dietary requirements and they will take care of the rest!

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm

 

Image: The Advocate

Talijancich Wines

Talijancich Wines is another winery to add to the list where all the wines on offer are vegan friendly — what a time to be alive! When it comes to the cooler months, a good fortified wine is a great choice to sooth the soul, especially when it comes to ‘comfort drinking’. Talijancich Wines has an incredibly large range of fortified wines that will be sure to make winter that much sweeter.  Interestingly, Talijancich Wines remains one of the few producers in the Swan Valley region that focuses on wines made solely from Swan Valley fruit.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10.30am to 4.30pm

Image: Swan Valley Cafe

Swan Valley Café

After all that wine sipping, you must be ready for some hearty vegan cuisine. Of course, the Swan Valley Café makes the top of our list when it comes to lavish food that is powered by plants! This quaint café opened its doors in 2010 with a mission to create a place of well-being and health for all individuals through natural and sustainable eating. Definitely make Swan Valley Café on your stop over list and enjoy a plethora of delicious choices for either breakfast or lunch.

Opening hours:  Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm

Whether you are after an afternoon of wine loving or want to escape the city for a more relaxed setting, the Swan Valley region is a must for any time of year.

 

Written by Krithika Ramnarayan

Nars Has Taken A Big Step Backward In The Beauty World

It’s become an issue that many people nowadays look for when purchasing beauty products. It can be the defining factor to whether we will purchase that foundation we’ve been wanting to buy forever or not. NARS announced that it would be going back to their old ways and begin testing on animals again. Why? Because they are looking to enter the Chinese market to make more sales. Talk about putting profit over principles. This is one of the most popular and respected beauty brands in the world, so are there more reasons as to why they have made such a negative decision? China law makes it mandatory for cosmetic companies to test on animals. Fans have reacted to this news with unhappy posts, comments and even creating negative hashtags like #boycottnars, #stopanimalcruelty and #saynotoanimaltesting.

Image: Instagram

NARS has long been known as a cruelty-free brand, but as of June 2017, they have announced that they are no longer apart of the revolution. Making a statement despite all the backlash, the company has stated to shoppers that they still believe that the elimination of animal testing needs to happen, but their decision had to be made to ‘comply with the local laws’. The company has been extremely popular worldwide, which has received mostly positive reviews from their light-weight, natural base products. Products were selling millions through stores such as Sephora, MECCA and David Jones etc. but now face a boycott from customers who believe and support the ‘say no to animal testing’ campaign. This affects their brand name, collaboration projects and major sales in countries such as Australia, Europe, New Zealand, India and America.

So, who is to blame for this decision? I assume not everyone who works within the brand is happy or agrees with this decision. Essentially, Shiseido, who owns NARS made the decision to make the brand available in China to expand its reach and keep up with competitors (typical), like MAC, which is owned by Estee Lauder. Whilst they also sell in China, both corporations have stated they only conduct animal testing due to the requirement.

Image: Instagram

Although this has been shocking news in the recent times, there are still beauty brands out there that will keep their word and won’t entertain the idea of animal testing. The Body Shop has recently teamed up with Cruelty Free International (CFI) on a campaign called Forever Against Animal Testing which is calling for the United Nations to introduce and international convention regarding the issue. Be sure to go to thebodyshop.com.au to sign their petition to help support the cause.

Image: The Body Shop

While big profit non-cruelty free brands such as Estee Lauder recently bought up another beauty company, Deciem, they have confirmed that this one won’t be venturing into the Chinese market until the laws are changed. I think NARS has taught many brands a lesson as to why the industry needs to change for the better. So, until China takes action and starts truly believing in the animal testing boycott, here are some of the best cruelty free companies that actually include some NARS dupes of their own that are available right now;

If you loved the NARS blushes you should try:
Tarte
Silk Naturals

If you were obsessed with their base products you should try:
Cover FX
Kat Von D
The Ordinary

Other AMAZING Cruelty -free brands that are worth every cent include:
The Body Shop
The Organic Pharmacy
Tata Harper
Sigma
e.l.f cosmetics
Hourglass
Inglot
John Russo
Saturday Skin
The Balm
Trust Fund Beauty

 

Written by: Darcey Weaven

Fashion Under Capitalism: How It Affects Self-Image

It’s funny how no one ever thinks of fashion as advertising. We are so used to being assaulted by magazine and news headlines like “Emily Ratajkowski’s Best Outfits Ever”, “Is Selena Gomez’s Latest Outfit A Message To Justin Bieber?” and “Cardi B Just Epically Recreated This Iconic Linda Evangelista Look,” that we are positioned to see it as news. This can’t be further from the truth. Every day, we are continually being sold what to wear, how to wear it, and why we must look this way. But who is pulling all the strings, and why do they have the luxury to dictate for the masses?

Image: W Magazine

Tansy Hoskins, author and avid supporter of ethical fashion, talks about the negative influences a capitalist mindset has on our body image. Looking a certain way has become such an integral part of our self-esteem that we are conditioned to crave the latest fashions, fantasising about how these clothes or accessories can transform us into who we want to become. And all these desires are driven by the select few who head the fashion industry. As Hoskins says, they are “controlling our common cultural heritage, deciding what we wear, what we read every day,” and contrary to popular belief, fashion represents not freedom of creativity, but the profits and interests of corporations – it doesn’t sound so glamourous now, does it? Of course, she doesn’t want to give a two-dimensional portrait of the industry as the villain, and consumers as victims, but the fact that clothes and consequently our bodies have become a commodity due to capitalism, shows how the system has repressed what could otherwise be a wonderful outlet for creative genius.

Tansy Hoskins / Image: Ruby Wright

These influences aren’t only impacting the private lives of many but are very prominent in the modelling world itself. A quick look at our catwalks demonstrates just how much diversity is lacking, not only in colour, but in body shapes, sizes and ability. Although there has been a call for change in recent years, the beautiful, size zero, blonde stereotype still dominates, with many ‘boasting’ of diversity in their shows even when there is just one model of colour present. Such a small representation of beauty cannot and does not cater for the diversity in the world and adds to the insecurities people face as a result of capitalist fashion.

Image: Vogue

The sad thing is, we aren’t only taught to lust after these material possessions, but the aspiration to become just like those who do wear these things forces us to evaluate ourselves through their carefully curated, photoshopped lives. Fashion is probably the number one driver for body hatred and shaming, a high price to pay for such a throw-away thrill. Yet, people are continuously drawn to this self-destructive behaviour, proving just how powerful the system which governs us is. When it’s near impossible to separate capitalist values with the world around us, how would it be possible to separate ourselves from these toxic yearnings?

Image: You Queen

Yes, conscious choice does play a part in freeing ourselves from the shackles of unattainable perfection, but as with anything, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much still churning in our subconscious from the media we have been fed, that an awareness can only help us so far.

In Hoskins’s words, “Fashion will never be free without an end to capitalism. And yet fashion can contribute to the remaking of the world. It has the ability to replace the old with the new, to makes us hope and dream,” and perhaps this does ring true. What do you think?

 

Written by: Tiffany Ko

References:
http://sustainable-fashion.com/blog/an-anti-capitalist-approach-to-fashion/