JANUARY 19, 2022
Repeat, Go, Challenge Yourself to Sustainable Style
Gabriela of One Vegan in Heels takes bold steps towards slow fashion
Meet Gabriela Rocafort, the woman behind One Vegan In Heels, and find out how she is making great strides towards forwarding fashion that is sustainable, compassionate, and cruelty-free.
Congratulations on your soon-to-be-launched website! This must be very exciting for you. Can you walk us through the updates we can expect from Vegan in Heels?
I created Vegan in Heels with the intention of sharing my own journey into a sustainable and vegan lifestyle, so it could work as a guide for people who wanted to start their own, but didn’t know how to. In the process, I realized that I wanted to focus more on the aspects that are my true passion, which is conscious fashion and style, but I also know that those are topics surrounded by a lot of confusion. That’s why I started to reinvent my whole website to provide organized information and resources that can be valuable for people no matter how into conscious fashion they are right now. We will be relaunching with a new Conscious Fashion section divided into three main topics:
• Ethical Fashion: on the issues of the industry, innovation, information, and of course, sharing more about amazing ethical and vegan brands like Veerah so people can have access to a guide of brands.
• Secondhand Fashion: on secondhand, as an alternative to circular fashion, we as consumers can participate in and the value we can find in it, as well as the importance of considering it as the main option.
• Slow Fashion and Style: on style tips, tricks, and inspiration to maximize our wardrobes to make the most out of what we already have.
All of this while sharing information about vegan and clean beauty, eco-travel, motherhood, vegan food, and conscious lifestyle as well as to continue sharing my experience and journey and inspire more people to discover the many possibilities that we have out there.
Gabriela in FRIDA Midnight Black | Photo by Milenys from @milenysphotography
Photo by Milenys from @milenysphotography
What is the story behind your title: “One Vegan in Heels?”
When I started my transition to veganism I quickly realized that there was a very strong stereotype related to the vegan lifestyle. Often, people make comments like “you don’t look like a hippie to me” or “but you don’t practice yoga” or “that means you only eat salads, right?” and even if there’s nothing wrong with those things, they are just not my style.
That’s why I needed to find a way to show that veganism isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a philosophy that can be part of your unique lifestyle, your interests, your passions, your career, and there is no reason why you should think that in order to be vegan, you have to give up on the things that make you, you.
In addition, I love fashion. I think it is an amazing tool to share our personalities and show who we are through our personal style. I wanted to come up with a name that could make people instantly realize the connection between veganism, sustainability, and eco-responsibility with fashion and style. For me, shoes especially high heels are a symbol of power, strength, and style, so that was it, that was what I was looking for. I’m a strong woman crazy about fashion and style whose core values are kindness, love, and compassion towards animals, our Mother Earth, and other humans, and that equals to One Vegan in Heels.
How long have you been vegan? What is its biggest impact on your life?
I started my transition as a vegetarian when I was in middle school, 13 years ago. My mom struggled with health issues, and decided to change her diet. Within two or three months we saw an amazing improvement in her health and skin, so I wanted to give it a try too. The transition was full of ups and downs. I went vegetarian, pescatarian, went back to an omnivorous diet, went full vegan, and then back again. It wasn’t until my baby girl Luna was born in 2015 that it really hit me, and finally found my real motivation to become fully vegan.
Before, I hadn’t made the connection between my food and everything that the vegan philosophy really means to me in terms of love, compassion, and kindness. I was sure I wanted to raise my children with those core values, and I realized there were many things I wanted to change in my life. I started to analyze so many things from a different perspective: my career, my spirituality, my consumption, my diet, my closet, even my goals, and the idea of how my actions were contributing or not contributing to the many causes I supported. I allowed myself to question it, to start unlearning and learning new ways to be the change I wanted to see in the world. That made me realize how important it is to recognize our role as an important part of the community and to start using our gifts to promote kindness by sharing our process to help others with their journeys.
That’s why I decided to start sharing my experience, and thus, Vegan in Heels was born. It was the project that opened many doors to work opportunities that advocate for the causes I believe in by driving awareness about veganism, sustainability, and ethical practices as a content creator, and to help brands and individuals with their unique sustainability-focused processes as an image consultant, stylist, and social media manager.
So yeah, veganism has changed my life completely.
Photo courtesy of Gabriela Rocafort
Your #RepeatAndGoChallenge content has incredible engagement! Please share with other VEERAH warriors what the challenge is about and what was your inspiration behind this concept?
This project has been an amazing journey.
Becoming a fashion creator was (and honestly, it still is sometimes) very challenging. While fashion platforms in general talk about trends, new collections, sales, and over-consumption, including some people within the sustainable fashion movement, I speak from another perspective based on responsible consumption and minimalism. I personally believe that there is no proper way to talk about sustainability while showing or promoting overconsumption. We don’t need to constantly acquire new stuff to participate in style-related conversations. We should be focusing more on showing how to make the most out of what we already have and buying only what we need and will use indefinitely. I always want my platform to reflect that. But as I said, it’s quite a challenge, especially when you want to support inspiring sustainable initiatives through the platform, and share the message in a creative, entertaining, and different way that inspires, so that’s why I came up with the Repeat and Go Challenge.
This is a project I started on Instagram in January 2021 with the idea of choosing one garment or accessory every week to wear for 5 days creating 5 different outfits, so I could:
• Contribute to the normalization of openly repeating our clothes. This is still a big taboo that we need to face and is one of the reasons why people feel the need to buy unnecessary stuff when in fact, the clothes that we want to wear multiple times are the only ones we should be buying.
• Show how versatile our clothes can be. Sometimes we don’t use clothes that we love only because we don’t know how to combine them. With just a little inspiration, and creativity - we can start to use our closet to its full potential.
• This also gives sustainable and ethical brands who are truly committed to the slow fashion movement, the opportunity to actively support the message by having me style a piece from their collections for a whole week, so they can also share how their pieces can be combined and used in multiple ways.
FRIDA Midnight Heels in #RepeatGoChallenge
What do you want your style to say about who you are?
I think that my style is a perfect reflection of my personality and my beliefs. I am a minimalist with a very timeless approach to fashion and I will always believe that less is more when you focus on quality over quantity in every aspect of our lives. My closet, my home, the people around me, just everything. I love simplicity, just like how I found joy in the simplest, yet most valuable moments that life brings us every day, especially with my loved ones. I am a creative being, and that shows in the way I combine the pieces of my small closet to create multiple different outfits. I’m always attracted to elegant, bold, and sophisticated designs, which aligns with my perfectionism, as well as my strong opinions and polite but firm approach to defending everything I believe in.
Classic style in FRIDA Camel with accessories
What advice would you give a starting fashion content creator?
My top advice will be to start their journey by learning and evaluating all the current issues related to our fashion industry: the environmental issues, the social issues, the emotional issues, the racial and feminist issues, the colonialism. Everything. Content creation is a very powerful marketing tool, with a massive reach and incredible influence potential and we need to recognize the responsibility we carry and choose to use that influence for good and aligned with our personal values. We truly need more people willing to give up on big campaigns, fast fashion, and consumerism-based content to share how to enjoy our style consciously, and if we don’t understand the issue, we can’t talk about it.
What has required the most courage of you in your life so far?
The risk to start my entrepreneurial journey. I feel like we are so used to the social construct of what a career should look like and what success is supposed to mean in terms of money and capitalism, that even in my case, we were raised with a different perspective. We can fall for it and be afraid to start a different journey to follow our own dreams. Entrepreneurship is not everybody’s dream, but it has always been mine. And yes, it is scary, is extremely challenging, and requires a lot of discipline, self-motivation, self-improvement, and courage to pursue goals against all odds, but I’m so glad that I chose this path, because I know I was born to do this.
How do you wish to impact your community as a Puerto Rican advocating for sustainable fashion?
As a Puerto Rican woman and native Spanish speaker, I know there is a lack of representation of brown and black women in the movement, especially when we talk about the lack of information that can be found in Spanish. That’s why I have dedicated my platforms mostly to the Hispanic community and will continue to keep driving awareness, breaking stereotypes, and ending stigmas related to fashion and the way that we are using and consuming it. My goal is to keep growing communities, to have more people interested in the topics, and for them to look for more ways to join the movement.