NOVEMBER 30, 2021
Why Compassion for Animals Should Be At The Center of Every Fashion Conversation
Spotlight on #VEERAHwarrior Talita Trygsland, as she gives us a preview of her goal to achieve compassionate sustainability as a Visionary Event Producer, Professional Model, and Animal Rights Advocate. Her passion for compassion has led her to Mercy For Animals, an international non-profit animal protection organization.
What's a day in your life like?
A day in my life looks pretty different from one day to another. I'm not too much of a routine person and working remotely for most of my career, I have the privilege to be pretty flexible about how and where I work. I am based in Los Angeles but I love to travel and change my scenery quite frequently. I find it helpful for my creativity and productivity. I normally start the day with a morning meditation. Then after coffee and a walk and/or workout, my day usually consists of meetings and work. I plan and produce (vegan) events and creative projects for a living, so my work is very varied and diverse.
The future is vegan and I have dedicated my life and career to being a part of creating this shift. I co-founded SPIRE to use my skills and expertise in the event industry and to inspire other event producers and planners to move towards more vegan and sustainable events. Seeing events like the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and the Met Gala serve plant-based food shows that the event industry is ready for change. Now, the G8 summit needs to step it up and go vegan to align itself with the conversation about the current climate crisis. I also work as a fashion model with a focus on vegan and sustainable brands, and I work on various creative projects, such as fashion films, music projects, and brand collaborations. So to circle back to your question, a day in my life encompasses a lot of variety.
Vegan looks gorgeous! | @talitatrygsland
What brings you joy, and why?
Music! Music brings me so much joy. I’m a rock girl at heart and music has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. In many ways, music has shaped my life and personality. It has such a big impact on us. I also love dancing; alone in my bathroom, with friends, on facetime, or at the beach. Dancing is such a freeing feeling! So many other things bring me joy as well. As an animal rights activist, I am deeply aware of so much suffering, and in order to be as impactful as I can, I try to focus on the positive things in life and surround myself with things and people that make me happy. I enjoy spending time with my wonderful friends and family, my dog, quick (and sarcastic) humor, nature, creating, and experiencing life to its fullest. I’m adventurous and love learning and doing new things.
Talita in our Midnight Black MULAN adorned with reversible strap, lace-up tassel, and fringe accessories.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Like my personality, my fashion style is pretty eclectic. I dress for the occasion and location but my go-to would be all black skinny jeans, top, and booties. My daily fashion style is pretty simple and basic. I’m usually in either a simple dress, shorts, a short skirt or skinny jeans with a crop-top or shirt. I prefer all black but change it up with some color from time to time. I prefer simple yet strong designs, or I can go the other way and put on something really bold. In high school, I was the girl who no one could figure out. One day I would wear an all-black hoodie and jeans and the other day I would show up with homemade batik pants with denim shorts over and a white lace top over a black long-sleeve. I went to fashion design and art school and loved to experiment with different styles. I also once showed up at school with a fully shaved head, another freeing feeling I wanted to experience. For events, I love a glamorous dress with high heels. The taller the heels the better, so I have a full overview of the scene. More importantly, I aim to wear mostly sustainable and vegan brands and choose quality over quantity. I especially love my VEERAH shoes and accessories that go with so many of my outfits.
What do you wish we could do more to promote cruelty-free fashion?
I wish magazines, major fashion brands, and models would put more focus on sustainable and vegan brands and materials. I see more and more emphasis on this, but not enough. It should be the mainstream focus. We also often see either vegan or sustainable brands. Not all vegan brands are sustainable and many sustainable brands are not vegan. The fashion industry is complex and the ethical dilemma is not fully black or white, but promoting brands that meet most of the UN 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and that do not use animal products like fur, leather, silk, or wool to mention a few, is the most important step to create meaningful change in the fashion industry. Promoting brands, causes, and models that work to shine a light on cruelty-free, fair, and ethical fashion is a big step in the right direction.
What was your motivation in pursuing a cruelty-free and compassionate lifestyle?
My journey to a vegan lifestyle is pretty personal but I can say that it was a combination of a lot of roads all leading to one life-changing decision. I went through a very profound spiritual awakening that truly opened my eyes to the beautiful connection with all living beings, animals, and our planet. Extending our compassion to animals is not only our responsibility as humans but in my opinion, one of the most important tasks we have as a species. The exploitation and misuse of animals is the root issue of so many other horrific issues, from social injustice to planetary destruction and human violence. If people cared about the most vulnerable beings, how could we not extend this care to all beings?
How did you transition to cruelty-free living?
One of the first documentaries I saw that was a part of opening my eyes was Earthlings. I had a big aha-moment and there was no going back after witnessing the horrors of the factory farming industry. I think there’s a difference between knowing what’s happening in this industry, and really seeing it and feeling the discord of our daily actions. Not only did I know I didn’t want to contribute to the intense suffering animals go through due to our unconscious behavior towards them, I knew I would not be at peace with myself if I did not contribute to helping them. There’s no right or wrong way to transition into a vegan lifestyle, every step helps in making a difference. For me, it was such a shock to learn about factory farming, vivisection, and the many ways we abuse animals, that I changed my diet overnight. I educated myself about ways I could make better choices and extended cruelty-free living to my wardrobe, home, and other aspects of my life. Not long after, I connected with Mercy For Animals through the event venue I managed, and they brought me on board to produce vegan events.
We love a warrior who fights for animal rights! What was the story behind MERCY FOR ANIMALS and what role does it play in protecting the animals?
Mercy For Animals was founded more than 20 years ago and has conducted more than 70 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses and has moved more than 300 food companies to ban the worst factory farming practices and adopt animal welfare policies. We’re currently active in the US, Canada, Mexico, India, and Brazil. MFA also has some staff in the Greater China Region. Mercy For Animals is creating institutional change and building a movement to spread our message far and wide.
Its vision is a world where animals are respected, protected, and free to pursue their own interests. Our mission is to construct a compassionate food system by reducing suffering and ending the exploitation of animals for food. We do this through various initiatives, such as Investigations, Government Affairs, and Public Policy, Corporate and Public Engagement, Organizing, and many more. My role is in the Development Department, working to fund the organization through fundraising events and creative collaborations.
Inspired to take action after reading this blog? There are many ways you can take part in the work Talita and the Mercy For Animals team do! Visit SPIRE's website to know more about its mission to accelerate the growth of industries promoting conscious lifestyle change, and follow Talita's journey on her Instagram. Then, visit https://mercyforanimals.org to learn more about the opportunities in volunteer work, internship, donations, or even in hosting your own unique fundraising campaign or the organization.