Since I ditched the animal products over a year ago I’ve been surprised how much far veganism has spread into my life. I naively thought that I would be satisfied with moving over to a plant based diet and cutting down on leather, nope! Whilst I have not thrown any leather away (I really think this is incredibly wasteful and even more disrespectful), I have stopped buying anything made from an animal product and I’m now that guy who emails and tweets brands to find out if their glue is synthetic…
I have also completely cut down on buying clothes, hands up who else has brand new items sitting in their wardrobes? I now work on a one in, one out system for my shoes, I only really allow myself to buy clothes that I will wear and if I can’t remember the last time I wore it, it gets donated to charity. With this in mind I have tried to be more deliberate in my shopping habits and every now and again a brand comes along that ticks every box.
Sun & Sage make t-shirts, it’s very simple, they make lovely vegan tees. I stumbled on them on instagram and thought “I need one of these”, then the more I looked at the Sun & Sage website, the more I realised just how much their ethos fits with how I’m trying to live my life. But who better to tell you all about it than Aron, the brains behind Sun & Sage.
How long have you been vegan and why did you take the plunge?
Well this one is a long story, but I’ll keep it short! I started by going vegetarian when I was 10 years old and being horrified when I connected that animals that I loved were also animals I was eating. My teacher for some reason asked us if we knew animals on our plate were also the animals we were talking about caring for.
It wasn’t until I was in university at 19 years old until I researched things like dairy further. Finding out calves and their mothers all suffer the same fate, with varying levels of treatment in between made me question what I thought was acceptable. Before that, I genuinely believed that I was doing cows a favour because they needed to be milked – I’d been the victim of a lot of misinformation. I’m 30 now, so i’ve been vegan for 11 years. A lot has changed.
Tell us all about Sun & Sage.
In the last 11 years as a vegan, I’ve seen attitudes change completely. People used to not know what a vegan was and when they found out I was one, they’d often call me names. I set about trying to be an exemplary vegan – so when people talked to me, they’d hopefully go with a more positive perception of vegans.
Until recently I was content with that. But then I saw this huge rise in veganism and other people trying much harder than I was to promote veganism. So I sat down and asked myself ‘what can I do to be a bigger and better influence?’. I thought if I can help vegans engage in conversations I can widen the impact and ‘do my bit’.
Eventually I thought there was a great need for giving existing vegans more ‘ammo’ for them to enter into conversations. I’d always wanted a tshirt to show my veganism, but could never find one I liked. Researching t-shirts, I got a little frustrated that a lot of what I saw was cotton and not so accountable (in terms of how they’re made). But I was also happy, because it meant if it was something I’d wanted as a vegan, maybe other vegans would want it too.
I spent a good amount of time trying to find what was right and accountable and eventually found that I could create ethically made, bamboo material tees. And so that’s what I did!
There’s a lot of reasons for using bamboo. The material and quality is incredible – I fell in love with it and I believe it gives a comfort that cotton – only can’t. It’s strong, lightweight and breathable too. Bamboo seemed to me like one of the most environmentally friendly ways of producing clothing – it’s natural and grows quickly, and isn’t really damaging tot the environment. So matched with the fair production element, using bamboo just felt like a natural and great way to go to offer vegans something a little different.
So, a little bird told me that 15% of Sun & Sage profits are donated to help street animals in Bali? THAT IS AMAZING! Do you work with specific charities to do this? I bet it’s really hard not to adopt them all.
It is hard! I’ve 4 dogs and 4 cats right now – all rescued from the street. Most of the time I’ll try and treat in the street or find homes, but that’s not always easy when there’s so many.
In my spare time I try my best to help animals who are in poor health in Bali. You can drive 10 minutes in any direction and find an animal that needs help. Often it’s just some on-the-spot medication that can help them, but of course the cost gets high. So the animal rescues linked to Sun & Sage pay for medical treatment of animals I find. The last animal I rescued using Sun & Sage funds was Cassava, a female Bali Dog who had vaginal cancer. You can see her story on Instagram. Sometimes, rescues can be beyond my means, so in that case I’ll work with BARC – a great rescue organisation in Bali.
It wouldn’t be my blog without a foodie question, if we were sitting down for some food what would you bring to the table?
Lucky for me, I live in Ubud, Bali, which is vegan paradise. There’s such an awesome array of vegan food that it’s a tough question, but I’d bring a spin on the traditional Indonesian plate of ‘Nasi Campur’, which means ‘rice mix’. It centres around rice and has 4-7 side dishes with it like seasonal veggies, perkedel (corn fritters), mini curry, nut crisps, tofu, tempe and more. Although no Nasi Campur is ever the same as the last, because there’s such a variety.