Editor's note: We're shining a spotlight on the six finalists in the 2017 CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, continuing with finalist Molly Tuttle. Voting for the readers' choice winner continues through October 24 at 11:59 pm. The winners will be named at our Reveal Party on October 26 at Tootsies in The Plaza.
Molly Tuttle’s change in personal style wasn’t so much of an evolution as it was a big bang.
About three years ago, she was working as a wardrobe stylist and had a closet full of leather, silk, wool, suede, and even fur. Then she went vegan and decided she needed to align her closet with her kitchen.
“Overnight, I sold everything on Ebay, gave it to friends, totally redid my house and closet, and now everything is eco-friendly, sustainable, fair trade, and it's all cruelty-free and animal-friendly,” says Tuttle, 33. “I went online looking for a blogger who was completely cruelty-free, couldn't find one, so I decided to be one.”
She now lists her occupation as style blogger and animal activist. At a recent photo shoot, she was dressed, head-to-toe, in some of her favorite animal-friendly pieces: vegan leather shoes and pants, a vintage rock band T-shirt she’d cut it up herself to suit her style, and her grandmother’s hand-me-down necklace.
A newlywed, Tuttle and her husband threw an all-vegan celebration recently, too. We chatted more about how her lifestyle choices influence her fashion choices.
CultureMap: Why did you decide to go vegan a few years ago?
Molly Tuttle: “I’ve been an animal lover my whole life. I have three rescue dogs at home that are like my babies. I started to make the connection that they’re not that different from a baby pig or a baby cow. It’s really just kind of what our society has labeled them as that drives our behavior. So I went to an animal sanctuary, I was playing with baby goats — they’re one of the most-consumed foods in the world — and I found that they look and act just like dogs. So it really got me thinking, and that’s how I began animal rescue and veganism.”
CM: How does your vegan lifestyle influence your fashion choices?
MT: “I want to be really intentional with where I buy and what I buy. I love vintage; it's the most sustainable, and in my opinion, soulful way to shop. I really love to support high-fashion designers when they step outside the box and start making animal-friendly choices. As far as my style, I am not a totally structured person, so stylistically I'm not too structured either. I like to implement edgy pieces and more fanciful pieces, but nothing too ‘of a theme.’”
CM: What’s your advice for others in Dallas who want to implement a total vegan lifestyle?
MT: “Dallas is actually super progressive when it comes to moving toward vegan options. But it's also still normal to see fur worn here. My best advice … is to go at your own pace and to forgive yourself. Temptations abound, and you are going to slip up; you don't have to be perfect to be good. If you’re an extremist, go cold turkey. If you’re not, start with a meatless Monday. As far as shopping, I would suggest going online or looking in our local boutiques. Esther Penn, for instance, has lots of vegan leather handbags and shoes.”
CM: Is that the kind of advice your blog aims to give?
MT: “On my blog, FashionVeggie, you might find anything from vegan fashion to travel. You’ll find a lot of vegan beauty — products that haven’t been tested on animals. I try to keep it all relatable, fun and light because I’m just a random, normal person who decided to make a change in my lifestyle, and I want to show it is attainable for anybody. I want to make cruelty-free living easy for everybody.”
CM: How did you feel when you found out you were nominated for a CultureMap Stylemaker Award?
MT: “I was so excited. I feel like my mission and the way I dress is the definition of a Stylemaker because I'm changing people's perception about vegan fashion and letting people know that there are options out there that are more eco-friendly. So, to me, that is a Stylemaker."