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We’d like to think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to vegan fashion, beauty and wellness.

That being said, wouldn’t it be nice to hear directly from vegans in those spaces? Wouldn’t it be amazing to get their thoughts on important topics in our community, how and why they went vegan, and of course their go-to products? We thought so!

Today is our first installment of our new series “MABBH SPOTLIGHT” where we get inside the minds of your favorite plant based people and see what they have to say about all things vegan.

 

This week we are honored to have Daniel Navetta:

Director and owner of production company Bryght Young Things and most notably to us, the creator of Instagram account THE AIR VEGAN.

Read on to learn all about his journey.

 

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1. First of all, tell us a little about yourself!

It's always hard to know where to begin, but the most concise explanation is this: I'm a native New Yorker, born in Queens and presently living in Brooklyn. I grew up playing sports and listening to rap in the 80’s & 90's. During that time, I developed an affinity to Nike through their iconic advertising campaigns. As I got older, I experimented with some musical instruments and became a professional touring musician in my early 20's. After a few years on the road, I wanted to try something new and found my way onto commercial film sets as a production assistant. Over the last 13 years, I've grown into my career as a director and I am the founder of a production company called Bryght Young Things. We make commercials, documentary films, podcasts, and more. 

 

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2. What was the catalyst to make you go vegan?

It was an accumulation of many factors. One of the most influential components was that my wife had discovered great peace in the positive physical and mental results of switching to a vegan lifestyle. I couldn't ignore the information I was observing through her and I simultaneously felt that our impact on the environment needed to diminish. I got tired of expecting others to lead, and I began to hold myself more accountable for decisions I'd previously expected other people to address. 

 

3. How long have you been vegan for, and what has your experience been like adapting in our society?

I've been vegan for almost 5 years, and my experience has been very fulfilling. I grow more inspired by the movement every day, and I'm so grateful that my palate has changed so significantly to appreciate the flavors of real, healthy food. I've become more aware of how unhealthy our society is conditioned to be and I'm truly grateful that I live in a city where it's relatively painless to be vegan. The transition was probably a bit more challenging 5 years ago, but know the scene has hit it’s stride in regards to acceptance in everyday society, especially in the coastal states.

 

4. So we know you love Nike, any reason why you're checks over stripes? 

There are many...My primary reason is that Nike design is far superior to Adidas, I actually don't think it's close. Adidas has a subtle hit here and there, but Nike leaves them in the dust, time and time again. I really appreciate the tech and design elements that make their way into sneakers. In addition, although Nike is by no means a perfect company, and they have a long way to go (we all do), I've never been drawn to Kanye as a designer, or a thought leader...and he’s their guy. I truly admire the steps in innovation that Adidas has made with Parley and their commitment to no plastic. For the time being though, I find myself drawn to the swoosh.

 

5. Where did your inspiration for @TheVeganAir come from?

My inspiration came from my own needs. I was spending hours researching and hunting for sneakers that didn't use animal products because I wanted them for myself. I've been a "sneakerhead" since before it was part of the lexicon, and when I made the commitment to stop wearing animal products I hoped that I wouldn't have to lose a big part of how I express myself. The Air Vegan is my journal of options. I hoped that starting the resource and sharing it, would make it easier for other people to make more responsible decisions in their consumption.  

6. We are dying to know your top 3 vegan Nike models. What are they?

 

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+ THE AIR MAX 1 ULTRA FLYKNIT.

In my opinion, the classic Air Max 1 is my favorite silhouette of all-time. It's timeless. It will always look great with pants, or shorts- and a clean pair can walk the line between casual or business. I think it's perfectly understated.

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+ THE ORIGINAL ZOOM FLY SP BREAKING 2

I was in awe of this sneaker the first time I saw a picture of it, the first time I picked it up, and the first time I tried it on. It's extraordinary... and it's translucent. It was a breakthrough in technology and design, and it introduced microsuede, which is an alternative to sourcing real suede. I bought a pair of the initial run, and since they've been re-issued I'm certain I'll pick up additional pairs over time. It’s a remarkable sneaker. They morphed it into the Zoom Fly SP, and a pair of those carried me to finish line of the NY marathon in 2017

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+FLYKNIT TRAINER OREO (2012/2018)

This sneaker has a lot more history than most people know...it's worth looking up. Long story short, the design was a progression of the Nike Considered initiative and this shoe introduced flyknit. It also proved to be 80% less impactful on the environment than the other sneakers Nike was producing at the time. It's another incredible example of innovation and style. No other brand has done this better than Nike...whether people recognize that or not.

 

7. We know vegan fashion is important for many reasons, but where do you see the market going in terms of public awareness? 

I heard a recent stat recently from a Rensselaer study that concluded if 10% of society holds an unshakeable belief, their belief will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. In my brief flashes of blind optimism, I allow myself to believe this notion. The influential voices in fashion are noticing that we need to be mindful of our practices and consumption. The enterprises that dismiss that, will eventually be ignored. 

 

8. How should we as consumers help the vegan movement?

We can help by consuming less, shipping less, supporting responsibly sourced garments, avoiding fast fashion, buying gently used clothing, and donating clothing. We need to be mindful of landfills, emissions, and unnecessary animal cruelty. 



9. Can you tell us any of your next steps/plans for @TheVeganAir?

We're working on providing an online retail resource that among other things incentivizes store pickup to eliminate additional shipping. We'll also be aggregating our goods from existing online platforms to provide a leading hub for vegan friendly streetwear. 



10. To end on a light note, if you could meet any famous notable vegan who would it be, and why?

I'd like to meet Kyrie Irving, not only so I could shoot hoops with him, but more importantly to have a discussion with him about how he could make a profound impact on the environment if he could get his, and other Nike basketball sneakers to stop using leather. The Kyrie's and Lebrons are both brilliantly designed, top-selling sneakers that do not need to implement leather. Since Kyrie eats a plant based diet, I'd love to encourage him to bring that practice into how his signature sneaker is designed. We don't need leather in our sneakers, trust me... and besides, The FUTURE IS VEGAN.

 

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Follow THE AIR VEGAN on Instagram and let us know who you’d love to hear from next!