When Fashion Is Murder

Christina Sewell, Fashion Campaign Coordinator at PETA

Compassionate or Murderer – What statement do your fashion choices make about you?

Our desire for comfort and to look cool in fur coats, leather handbags and snakeskin shoes comes at an unthinkable price; cows, dogs and cats are amongst the many animals that are subjected to heart wrenching cruelty. How is that cool? What really happens behind the scenes? How can India be the biggest supplier of cows for the leather industry when they consider cows to be sacred?

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What is Vegan Fashion? Why are more companies turning to Vegan Fashion, and yet, others are reluctant to make the transition? What is their business case? Are petitions effective in bringing about change? And what critical role can you play in shaping the future of the fashion industry?

Christina Sewell, Fashion Campaign Coordinator at PETA, is responsible for compelling the fashion industry to embrace vegan leather. She works closely with brands like Victoria’s Secret, H&M, North Face, Patagonia and Prada. Christina educates designers, editors and fashion writers about how animals suffer when they’re turned into fur coats, leather handbags and snakeskin shoes. Christina shares how she tackles this behemoth and behind the scenes insights into the fashion industry.

Episode 23  |  Published: November 20, 2016

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From Global Roots to Unearthed Truths

Asha was born in India, raised in Oman, and lived in London before settling in the U.S. Her multi-continent, multi-cultural, global experience was a clear predecessor that fed her insatiable curiosity – and the inspiration for her defining Twizted voice.

As a rare breed, she’s truly mastered the art of metamorphosis in body, mind and soul. In her first adult incarnation she graduated Magna Cum Laude from ASU and pursued a vibrant career in the hospitality industry. Then, she grew new wings. Ever intrepid and intrigued by the unknown, she launched and helped grow a thriving e-Commerce technology company with her business partner, proving herself as an entrepreneur and demonstrating both the skills and resolve required of a woman intent on succeeding in a male-dominated industry.

In 2014, she boldly stepped into uncharted territories again, starting a new venture, Twizted Myrtle, in pursuit of her undeniable thirst to confront and create consequential social change. Few understood why she would leave behind a burgeoning e-Commerce business that served marquee clients like Amazon, Samsonite, Viacom, Pokémon, Red Bull, Taylor Swift and other household names – all during the pinnacle of a successful career.

The impetus for leaving the traditional business world for a less conventional path was intensely personal; a deafening voice and inimitable force inside her told Asha that she needed to contribute to the world in a very personal and life-changing way. Asha found herself in the throes of depression and new depths of loneliness. She was acutely aware her “success” was empty. Like many, she had lost her soul in the daily grind of chasing unhappiness.

Ironically, during this time, her depression revealed spiritual clarity; it connected her to the struggles of others who face the same suffocating walls of relenting darkness. Photography became a sacred respite that unleashed a strident voice; like a caged tiger set free, she could never again return to the confined existence dictated by society.

Twizted Myrtle became the multi-pronged platform to confront social issues that we’ve been plagued with for centuries. To break free from these vicious circles, she challenges what we accept, without question, as “wisdom,” and our conventional way of thinking through artistic means – provocative writings, thought-jarring podcasts and captivating photography.

Bringing a refreshing curiosity with the unique empathy of a true global citizen, she speaks with an open mind and unfiltered honesty on a host of issues where most would fear to tread. Her work compels us to see and think differently to help unlock our mindsets from self-imposed limitations. In doing so, she seeks to help people break free from the invisible chains that enslave us as oblivious prisoners.