We were lucky enough to catch up with India Hood lately, a lover of animals and a vegetarian with a passion for sustainable fashion.
As India grew older she developed a keen interest in all things fashion which naturally evolved into a main focus for everything ethical.
‘I have always struggled with finding ethically made clothes and makeup, that has also not been tested on animals.’ Not having anywhere to refer to that is suited for India to buy and what to avoid has definitely been a frustrating experience. Therefore her goal was to inspire others and give them a place where they could go to find the very best cruelty-free products and for all her veggie brides advice on how to have the best ethical wedding.
‘I have always struggled with finding ethically made clothes and makeup that has also not been tested on animals’
So India was inspired and whilst planning her own wedding, to document the process and show others how they can do it themselves.
JWP: Tell me your thought process that lead you to reach your ambition of starting a blog and business around sustainability.
I have always wanted to work in the fashion industry, but never felt I fit into the way it mostly works. Ultra skinny women, many advertising animal products in the clothes and makeup they wear, and for me it didn’t feel right to buy into that. From a very young age my parents showed me how the clothing industry can work. I was told about how children in other countries make the clothes that many wear, and how they do this in horrible conditions for hardly any money. I think this sparked the views I have today and evolved into me being a vegetarian too. So if I am to follow my dream it would be on my own terms. Real women who want sustainability and fairness in their life. So what better way to do this than on social media and with a blog helping everyone I can.
I would definitely say the day I decided to become a vegetarian. After realising fully about where our food comes from I think it created a butterfly affect of how I would eventually live my life. As my views grew I wanted all aspects of my life (and even my career) to represent me as best as possible.
JWP: Who do you admire in the sustainability space? Who do you follow?
I would say Stella McCartney. I love everything about her style and ethics. I’ve always been drawn to simple pieces that can make a big statement, so she’s always been a huge source of inspiration for me. The McCartney’s in general are quite a vegetarian family, and I admire that so much.
JWP: What is your main goal that you would like to achieve now you have a platform?
Ultimately I would love my own publication, and to be the ethical version of Brides magazine! I feel in planning my own wedding there isn’t enough advice for eco brides out there that are struggling with their perfect day, and for me I don’t want to compromise anything abut my wedding. It’s supposed to be about the best day of a couples life, so you should be able to plan your wedding however you would like.
JWP: How do you believe being a vegetarian is perceived?
I don’t think overall it’s perceived very well at all. In making this lifestyle choice comes with a lot of judgment, followed by people saying how it’s not any better than eating meat. Everyone has an opinion, but that’s just part of being human. My main goal in life is not to make everyone think and eat how I do. It was my own choice, so all I’d want in return is acceptance of that. I love animals, and for me I want to do everything in my power to reduce the amount of animal cruelty.
JWP: Are you accepted by your friends and family for your beliefs?
Definitely! When I was about 8 years old I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian and my parents were more than happy to support me through it. For a long time I was the only person who was a vegetarian with the views I have, but that never changed how they felt about me. It’s mainly people who don’t really know me very well, and think they can ‘convert’ back that are generally a problem.
JWP: Sustainability is now a hot topic, especially around plastic waste, how will you influence and drive even more engagement at a local and international level?
There is a lot surrounding the fashion industry and food production in general about reducing the amount of plastic we use. More now than in previous years. Which is great considering how bad things are getting. The amount of animals that are getting stuck in plastic rings or eating plastic bags is something that shouldn’t even be an issue. What I would do in terms of fashion is show people the alternatives to things, like plastic faux leather for example, there are. Also by posting about environmental charities that are doing such great things to help. Then finding a part of this that people can relate to will make it so much more interesting and engaging for people.
JWP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Ideally I would love to be nicely established in what I do, and be able to do this full time. At the moment I work full time in a completely different sector, whilst trying to build up my dream. I have a goal in my mind and I know I’m going to reach it. I don’t want to be too specific, just see how far I can take it in those 5 years.
JWP: How does luxury and the ever growing need for materialistic goods fit into the sustainability arena?
I think extremely well. Just because something is ethical and animal free doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious in style and quality. I love high end fashion, and yes sustainable fashion can be a bit lacking but that’s why I’m here. For me materialistic fashion is the newest trends, and therefore how the product is made and where it came from doesn’t really come into play. So there is no reason why high end cannot be high in ethics too.
JWP: Are you worried for the future of planet earth and do you see that there is still time to reverse the damage previous generations have done?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. The future is a bit uncertain when it comes to global warming, and many in politics denying that it’s a big problem. So all we as people can do is start trying improve our lives on earth. It doesn’t take a lot to make a huge impact. If just one supermarket was to cut out plastic completely you’re already talking about millions of waste reduced.
JWP: How can we all influence governments such as China to cut carbon emissions and waste?
When influencing others who have such a bigger impact on the world, I feel it helps to be different and lead by example. The main thing to remember is be as vocal as you can, and ignore everyone who tries to put you down. With big countries like China money will be the main influencer, so it would be hard for anyone to convince them to improve on this.
JWP: Lastly, how can you make sustainability and being a vegetarian fun, and engaging for the next generation to follow in your footsteps?
Personally I look to show people that not a lot for them would actually change. Yes you no longer eat meat and you are mindful about where the things your wear come from, but that’s it. With the sheer volume that ethical products has made its way into mainstream life is amazing to see. With companies such as Urban Decay and Lush and Quorn setting a great example on how things can be done, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy any of it.