There are many stylish vegans out there, but few can create a community of like-minded, fashion forward followers quite like our next guest on Mabbh. Liz Kapran has gained a large following by sharing her vegan lifestyle, fashion and diet. We caught up with her to dive more into the reasons why she went vegan and how important it is to get your message out there. Read on to hear her story.
1. Hey Liz, tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a Toronto city-born, fashion-obsessed gal who loves drowning herself in rose water to fight the Sunday scaries. In high school, I found myself constrained in this ironic, ‘anti’ social bubble of people that had a concrete set of expectations that each person needed to meet, and it really put a wedge in expressing myself. Since adopting my infamous “IDGAF” persona out of high school and employing it into my personal brand, I’ve found out more about myself, the things that motivate me, drive me, defuse me and make me exactly who I am. Veganism is a huge underlying factor in all of this because this lifestyle has led to a lot of defensiveness and justification on my end, having to constantly explain to others why I live this life. Now, I live unapologetically as myself, and if anyone has any questions they can leave a message at the tone, sis!
Besides not giving a shit, I also give lots of shits. Other than advocating for veganism, I’m also incredibly passionate about all things creative; graphic design, styling, social media marketing, photography, writing, you name it. I’ve never been the ‘left side of the brain’ kinda gal, math and science class were always hour-long internalized panic attacks - and I couldn’t wait to get out of a place that forced me to learn to disciplines I personally couldn’t naturally adapt to.
2. What was the catalyst to make you go vegan?
Two weeks before I went vegan, I developed gastritis on the lining of my stomach. The pain was so excruciating thatI had to be hooked up to drip IV’s all day, was pumped antibiotics left and right, and couldn’t drink water or eat by myself at all. Doc said it simple: go vegan and see what happens. So, that’s exactly what I did. While recovering, I slowly began to be able to drink and eat, slowly but surely without any assistance from tubes or needles. My recovery on a vegan diet was roughly two weeks and, before I knew it, I was back to my normal self again. Going back to my check-up ultrasound just a month later, my stomach had completely repaired itself, and my gut health was tip-top shape. I felt like a new lady!
The recovery process left me in bed for most days, so I spent a lot of time researching about my so-called new lifestyle, the do’s and dont’s and how-to’s. Google led me to another array of doors that I thought I had already opened by switching to the vegan diet for health. Now, there were economic doors, political doors, social doors, ethical doors, and so on. Veganism is so much more than just personal-health, so looking back I don’t think my gastritis was the ‘catalyst’, more so the little nudge that led me to the major catalyst.
3. How long have you been vegan for, and what has your experience been like adapting to our society?
I’ve been vegan for three, going on four years soon. My experience consists of both very incredible and positive moments, mostly through my Instagram page, and it’s also consisted of a lot of negativity. Most often the negativity is expressed to me in person by those physically closest to me. That’s not to say my loved ones don’t support me, my family and friends all support my lifestyle and its associated principles 100%. It’s the strangers, the acquaintances, the family-friends and distant relatives that sh*t storms on your veganism.
Early on in my transition, I would be the fired-up crazy vegan activist girl who would jump at any and every opposition of veganism. Now, I’ve learnt that attitude gets you absolutely no where. It’s not because the information isn’t valuable, it’s because the people who are questioning you and demanding justification are not seeking to learn. They are seeking to judge you and project their moral insecurities onto you. So you know what I say when people ask me why I’m vegan? I ask them why they aren’t. They shut up real fast when they see me chowing down on my crispy chick’n tenders and coconut milkshake.
4. You always have the best outfit pictures, what are some tips for vegans out there to find the best cruelty free finds?
The best tips are for sure thrifting or online shopping! Thrifting for obvious reasons is great, especially for its sustainability. Online shopping is another great option because websites actually have to disclose all the materials and fabrics they use in plain sight. Whereas, in- store it’s sometimes difficult to really find what a piece is made of in order to make sure it’s all cruelty-free! (That could include adhesives, feathers, furs, leathers and skins!)
5. Tips for any aspiring fashion influencers on growing their social channels and personal brand?
My number one tip will always be that you must be unapologetically yourself, and flaunt it. I was miserable when I would post inauthentic content and was posting what I thought people wanted to see. Since brewing up the courage to actually be myself and not give a sh*t what people are thinking about me on the other side, I started to build a real community of people who actually enjoy my content, my personality, my cause, my style or vibe or whatever it is - and that’s so cool! You’ll be able to create a community entirely based around your true self, and that is the best way to grow as an influencer.
6. Are there any challenges as a vegan influencer that the standard influencer might not relate to?
I can’t work with a lot of companies, obviously, since a lot are not vegan. (yet!!!) That could mean a brand wants me to rep a product that has been tested on animals or has animal products in it. In which case, I would have to politely decline, obviously because that doesn’t align with my principles and I would never want to show my followers a product that isn’t vegan, because I’m vegan!
Then 2 weeks later, I usually see a blogger on my feed with the same campaign I was offered. So, it’s kinda frustrating, but of course my beliefs outweigh the monetary aspect, you know?! So, that definitely closes a lot of doors for me in regard to work. Other than that, I’d say that there aren’t any other challenges!
Just livin’ my best life baby!
7. What has been the biggest challenge and also biggest moment of clarity since going vegan?
I can proudly boast that I do not have any challenges being vegan! It’s only been the high road from here! Something that is ‘annoying’ but like, totally manageable, is restaurants. 99% of the time there will be something vegan on the menu, but the odd time I either tweak an order on the menu or we’ll go somewhere else! The people in my life are so supportive, it’s totally not an issue.
My biggest moment of clarity, though, is definitely the revelation that everything I did prior to this point has taken a toll on not only my body, but those around me. There’s a toll on the animals, the environment… and only a vegan can explain the feeling of finally seeing things for the way that they truly are.
8. How do you think people within the vegan space can make it normal and more widely accepted in the coming years?
A lot of the members in this community already work hard on making this lifestyle seem intriguing and desirable to the public, but people get caught up with their own morals and experience living this lifestyle. Sure, we’re “~woke~” and we want everyone else to be woke too, but to expect someone who has been eating steaks for 15 years to flip like a switch when you tell them about how much CO2 you preserve on a vegan diet? And then getting defensive when they laugh in your face? That’s a recipe for keeping veganism on top of the hill in far far away land away from all the meat lovers and “plants have feelings” thinkers. No one is hopping onto your activist train - and that’s okay.
Despite vegan activism being a major force in political and social change around ethics and animal rights, it does not change the way everyday, conditioned people think. Why? People who are conditioned to a social structure from birth have a very difficult time disassociating from their preconceived notions, and these same people will actually get very upset when their mindsets are even remotely challenged. This goes much deeper than socialization and kind of transcends a bit into philosophy- but that’s for another time (LOL).
My point is; in order for veganism to become more widely accepted, and not so “frowned upon” by the general public, we have to remind ourselves we are fighting for any sort of change. You don’t have to rewire someone’s brain in a 20 minute heated argument. Remind them that veganism is super accessible nowadays. Remind them how dairy affects THEIR hormones and THEIR bodies. Invite them to a really good vegan restaurant that you know of. The chances of having someone actually hear out the argument of veganism when the topic is made loosely about the individual will actually work much more effectively as opposed to introducing really dense topics like environmentalism and ethics. So, focus on enlightening people by initially making it start with themselves, because then you’ve got their attention.
9. What are 3 fashion items in your closet and 3 beauty items in your stash you can’t live without?
10. To leave with a bang, who is a vegan celebrity that you’d want to get veggie sushi with and what is your go-to order?
The mega-babe Miley Cyrus and my go-to is a cucumber avocado roll with mango!
Follow Liz on Instagram and let us know who we should feature next!