Fashion + Design > Fashion

March 27, 2024

Noa Ben Moshe – advocating total-ethics fashion

Susanne Barta

Ich habe Noa vor einigen Jahren auf der Neonyt in Berlin das erste Mal getroffen. Dann wieder in Frankfurt bei GREENSTYLE x Neonyt Lab. Sie ist mir aufgefallen. Ihre freundliche, überzeugende Art zu sprechen, die wilden dunklen Locken, das hübsche und sympathische Gesicht. Noa setzt sich seit vielen Jahren für mehr Ethik in der Modewelt ein. „Style with a smile“ ist ihr Motto und so heissen auch ihr Blog und ihr Instagram-Acoount. Noa ist heute eine der wichtigsten veganen Modebloggerinnen. Sie arbeitet mit entsprechenden Labels zusammen und berät Modeunternehmen bei Nachhaltigkeitsthemen. Konsequent geht sie ihren Weg und inspiriert uns, wie gut vegane Mode aussehen kann.

Noa, you created a well-known Vegan, Fair and Sustainable Fashion Blog. What motivates you to work for a better fashion world?

My motivation stems from a profound belief in the power of total-ethics fashion to drive positive change for all living beings and the home planet we share. I am inspired by the opportunity to merge my passion for fashion with my commitment to total animal liberation, social justice, and sustainability. Witnessing the transformative impact of conscious consumer choices and the growing momentum towards ethical, cruelty-free fashion fuels my dedication to creating a better fashion world.Noa Ben Moshe 2+3 (c) photo.with.heartFor some years now, attempts have been made at various levels – legislation, companies, consumers, trade fairs, media – to do more to make the industry better. Where do you think we are at present?

Efforts to improve the fashion industry have indeed intensified across multiple fronts. However, significant challenges remain, particularly in areas such as animal welfare, supply chain transparency, fair labor practices, and environmental sustainability. While progress has been made, there’s still a long journey ahead to achieve a truly ethical and sustainable fashion industry. It is unfortunate to say that as an industry, we are far from doing enough. 

What do you would like to see from companies and consumers?

Our biggest collective failing as an industry has been systematically exploiting and subjecting animals to abuse in the name of fashion, perpetuating a cruel cycle of using animal-derived materials and conducting harmful practices, thereby neglecting the urgent need for ethical treatment and respect for all living beings. Concurrently, we have also failed to prioritize the fair treatment of workers and the environmental impact of our industry, perpetuating practices that harm both human and nonhuman animals and the planet we all share. We have failed to see and understand the interconnectedness of these things.
From companies, I advocate for greater transparency in their operations, adherence to fair labor standards, and a commitment to sustainable sourcing and production practices that prioritize life over profit. Consumers play a crucial role by demanding accountability from brands, supporting ethical alternatives, and embracing conscious consumption habits that align with the principles of animal liberation and total-ethics fashion.Noa Ben Moshe 4+5 (c) style with a smile instagramVegan fashion is often criticized for not necessarily being (more) sustainable and fair in terms of alternative materials to leather, wool etc. and the production processes. How do you respond to this?

Sustainability is so nuanced. It is correct that a material classified as vegan does not mean it is a sustainable material. And it is also true that animal-derived materials are not sustainable. In fact, considering ethical and environmental footprint, they are more harmful to the planet to produce than vegan alternatives, even if those are not yet perfect.
It’s important that we – and that fashion brands – do the best we can when it comes to choosing the most sustainable materials for their specific use. If we want to do that effectively, based on the best available data and research, we need to be avoiding all animal-derived materials, avoiding virgin synthetics, and unsustainable agricultural practises. Luckily, there are a wealth of materials that fall outside of these categories, that are innovative, more ethical, and better for the planet. 

If someone wants to dress vegan, what do you recommend to do, to consider?

First of all, congratulations on your decision to dress vegan! It’s a significant step towards aligning your wardrobe with your values. Here’s what I recommend considering: Start by immersing yourself in the vegan fashion space. Follow platforms and content creators who specialize in vegan fashion to gain insights into ethical brands and practices. Remember that sustainable fashion isn’t just about what you buy—it’s also about how you buy. Prioritize quality over quantity, opting for well-made pieces that will last longer and reduce the need for frequent replacements. Whenever possible, choose second-hand or locally-made items. This not only reduces the environmental impact but also supports local communities and economies. Look for brands that are not only vegan but also prioritize fair labor practices and ethical production methods. Most importantly, only purchase items that you absolutely love and will wear regularly. Avoid impulse buys and focus on building a wardrobe that reflects your personal style and values.Noa Ben Moshe 6+7 (c) florian_maas @brix_and_maasAre there any brands that you recommend?

Some of my favorites include Bhava Studio, Mud Jeans, Dawn Denim, Melina Bucher, and Nae Vegan Shoes. These brands prioritize total-ethics fashion and contribute to both animal liberation and sustainable practices. 

I have been following your work for years and really appreciate your commitment. I also very much appreciate your position in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. As a Jewish person, you have experienced a lot of criticism of both you personally and your work. How do you cope?

What’s most disheartening is when individuals, including some “friends” and colleagues, especially in our spaces, where people are so called “woke”, make assumptions or pass judgment without seeking to engage in genuine dialogue. It can be hurtful and exhausting to constantly defend oneself against misconceptions and preconceived notions. However, as difficult as it is to cope with this whole thing, the bigger challenge for me lies in the direct impact of the conflict on my loved ones and myself. The toll it takes on our communities, our sense of security, and our collective well-being is immense. I cope by spending more time with my loved ones, who understand me without words and understand the situation, or at least try to. Without them, I don’t know how I would have survived the past months.Noa Ben Moshe 8+9 (c) style with a smile + susanne bartaWhat are you working on right now?

I’ve been busy touring around Europe with Neonyt and in other events to promote Neonyt and sustainable fashion education. It’s been an incredibly busy and rewarding experience, filled with opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and advocate for ethical practices within the industry. Alongside these commitments, I’m also dedicating significant time to my consulting work. I’m fortunate to collaborate with brands and organizations that share my passion for sustainability, helping them integrate eco-friendly practices into their operations. And of course, I keep creating content on my platform, especially through Instagram.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’d like to emphasize the importance of collective action in driving positive change within the fashion industry, guided by the principles of animal liberation and total-ethics fashion. By prioritizing ethics, sustainability, and compassion, we can create a future where fashion aligns with our values of respect for all living beings and the planet. Every step counts!Noa Ben Moshe 11 (c) style with a smileFotos: (1) © Mateusz Tondel – wearing @leathereslahrthiele; (2–3) © Photo with heart; (4, 5, 6, 8, 11) © Style with a Smile; (7) © Florian Maas, Brix&Maas; (9–10) © Susanne Barta.

>> Supported by CORA happywear (M), Kauri Store (M), Oberalp Group (XL), Oscalito (L) und meiner Freundin Kristin << 

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