Origin of Vegan Street
By Marla Rose
When the name Vegan Street appeared in my
headlike a bolt of lightningit seemed like some sort of
divine moment, but actually it had been incubating for years, waiting
for the right set of circumstances in which to reveal itself.
Although there were signposts along the way that pointed us to the
form our business would take, I didnt know what they were. Still, the
feeling was unshakable at the time that Vegan Street was our future,
and that its actual direction would reveal itself when the time was
right. My husband John and I were very conscious of not projecting any
personal aspirations or preconceived notions onto it other than what
we already knew that our lifes work would be to promote a positive,
compassionate and creative message of veganism and to spread that message
to as many people as possible.
Vegan Street, as we discovered, was a deceptively simple name that
conveyed a sense of community, a utopian but nevertheless attainable
the world we would actively create. Also, its not Vegan World
or Vegan Stratosphere because we wanted to communicate the need to
change house by house, street by street, town by town, country by country.
Vegan Street was a good place for our dreams of social justice and
compassion to take root; from there, within our communities of work
and home and school and cyberspace, they deepen and expand, growing
in concentric circles to encompass the world.
Now, how do we create vegan streets? We knew that the best we could
offer would spring from a synthesis of our mutual skills. John and
both come from a creative background; we are visually and verbally
oriented. We are both classic "creative types," clueless
and bored with most practical, pay-the-rent-type of minutia, but highly
by crafting ideas and projects. We knew that whatever we did with Vegan
Street, our work would be idea-driven and would primarily manifest
a form of creative expression.
That we would create a company that sells clothing and other items
with a vegan message was a natural progression. We use organic cotton
hemp whenever possible, and our designs spring from our own ideas of
what could provoke thought or interest in veganism. We sell everything
from organic cotton dresses to hemp frisbees, all with an empowering
vegan message. It may be easy to reduce us down to simply being a "T-shirt
company," but we are actually trying something much more ambitious
Vegan Street, the name and the company, is both matter-of-fact and non-defensive.
We simply are, and because we are not taking a defensive stance, we
are empowering ourselves and, I believe, our movement. Vegan Street
is guided by a philosophy that angry and reactionary designs and concepts
are disempowering at their very core, necessarily turning us into victims
who are forever locked in combat with an oppressor, and oppressors always
have the upper hand.
We turn that dynamic of inequity around. Our ideas and designs spring
from a source of strength, independence and compassion. Veganism simply
is, no need to explain it, and we rejoice in our lifestyle and the
weve made. While we are approaching veganism as a natural, non-controversial
evolution, our company was founded on the need to put these ideas and
words into the common space, thoughtfully and attractively, to demystify
veganism. Just a simple design with the word vegan speaks
volumes, and, påaradoxically, stands on its own. We are putting
words, images and ideas into the mass consciousness, and, with that,
we are creating a space for our culture by proclaiming it in an open,
direct, warmhearted way. We are, at the root, creating the kind of
we want to live in.
Im not myopic enough to think that a clothing company will change
age-old prejudices and systems of belief, but what we are doing is a
necessary part of the puzzle. Through our designs and our website, we
are offering people a chance to see things in a different light, perhaps
sneak an idea in at an unguarded moment, maybe demystify a word or concept
through exposure. We are also giving those who are already vegan an
opportunity to celebrate and promote the lifestyle weve discovered
and continue to cultivate.
We create images and ideas that harness the positivism, compassion
and dynamism we find within our movement, and we reflect it out into
world, hoping to inspire others in the same way that weve been,
and continue to be, deeply inspired.
Marla Rose and her husband John Beske are the co-founders
of Vegan Street, a web-based clothing company and vegan information
and lifestyle site at www.veganstreet.com.