Interview: Cruelty Free Fashion with Raquel Passola, Amapola Vegan Shop

Raquel Passola is the founder of Amapola Vegan Shop in Barcelona, a popular boutique and fashion blog selling cruelty free fashion including clothing, shoes and accessories, born of the desire to create a better world for all living beings.

What motivated you to open Ampola?

I am a vegan who is trying to introduce the vegan lifestyle to others and I do it through the Amapola Vegan Shop project. I became vegan in August 2011, a few months before opening the shop.

My diet and lifestyle changes come from the ethical rejection of animal abuse.

When you became vegan the reason is always ethical and means not eating animals but also not wearing them, not testing on them, not using them and not abusing them.

Not wearing animals was a part of my way to a complete vegan life and as I started searching for good quality fashion alternatives to those made with leather, wool, silk, I found the need for good quality cruelty free products. At the time, there was almost nothing on the fashion market.

What has the response been? Is Barcelona open to prioritising animal rights over fashion?

At the beginning the response was surprise. Surprise about the concept and in consequence to that about the reality of the fashion industry. I am happy because more and more people visit who are worried about animal welfare in fashion.

We have realised that animal abuse is a cultural imposition and this is a sad reality.

The world is not really worried about animal suffering but fortunately individuals of different cities are changing their lives in benefit of animals and the environment.

Do we need leather and wool and silk for our clothing to look good?

Of course not. This has been a cultural message that we receive from the beginning of our lives that tells us that good quality and “natural” things are those made of animal skin, so we integrate it. But if we just think a little bit we understand that nowadays it is not just an aberration to hurt and abuse animals in the way we do but that existing technology can create everything we desire in fashion; technique and good quality materials as we already produce for sports. The actual technology allows for perfect materials that are resistant, water repellent, breathable and sustainable.

What animal cruelty exists in using animal products in fashion?

Where to start and where to finish?

The mere fact of having the animals caged and deprived of liberty is already a great cruelty but this is followed by mistreatment of all kinds:

  • Babies separated from their mothers at birth
  • Skinned alive
  • Amputations, castration and other operations without anesthesia
  • Painful deaths

The list goes on and on.

What is the one thing you would like to tell those who wear animal products?

If you really could stay there, where the cow, the pig, the rabbit, the fox and so many others are born and you could be a spectator of their lives, you would not do it.

It is not just unethical but also archaic to keep funding millions of farms where mistreatment and torture of animals occurs just for our pleasures.

My hope is that as soon as possible we replace all products of animal origin with those created in a sustainable way by the current technology.