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In Conversation with Tara Swennen

Introducing our ‘In Conversation’ series with AERA Co-Founder and CEO, Tina Bhojwani. We’re speaking with the movers and makers working to pave a path and shift the effects of climate change. 


Read about what inspires LA-based celebrity stylist Tara Swennen and what she sees for the future of sustainable fashion. 


  1. Share a little bit about your background. As a celebrity stylist, how do you source vegan and sustainable options? What’s your approach?

I studied fashion design at Cornell University and began my styling career  with Andrea Lieberman and Rachel Zoe. I rely heavily on referrals and the Internet to source vegan and sustainable options. Luckily many brands reach out to me, but my team and I are constantly doing research to find new up-and-coming brands, as well as brands that are pivoting their approach in design and production.


  1. What are the challenges you face today when sourcing vegan options? Can you share an example; how did you overcome it?

The challenges I face when sourcing vegan options for my clients tend to be similar to most other options. It’s always a case of time and money when trying to get things sent in or produced fast enough to keep up with the speed of the industry. One of the ways that we overcome this is to try and create staple kits for my studio where brands like AERA send options for either me or my clients to hold on to for their use in the future. That way we know we have vegan options on hand when we need them.


  1. I saw that you were awarded Best Vegan Stylist for Vegan Fashion Week. Can you tell us a little bit more about Vegan Fashion Week? Do you believe that Vegan Fashion Week could become a part of a mainstream future?

Vegan Fashion Week is a leading ethical fashion platform based in Los Angeles that bridges the gap between sustainability and ethics. They curate innovative and creative talents both locally and globally that inspire better practices in the fashion industry. It was a true honor to be the first stylist ever to be awarded this award in 2019. I do believe that Vegan Fashion Week will become a part of our mainstream future. I have very high hopes for them and the fashion industry in general.


  1. Living mindfully, with a more sustainable outlook, and changing up your personal habits - it can be a lot easier said than done. What would you say to someone who’s curious, or looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Where to start?

I always suggest starting with taking a look at what you put on your plate and how you use the power of your dollar. I find Internet research to be a very powerful tool. When I became a vegan much of it came from doing research on Instagram and the visuals and information was what changed me.

Sometimes it’s about diving deep into the things you know you don’t want to see, but that you know you need to, in order to change your path. 

Know where your clothing and food comes from and also know that every little step counts!


  1. We believe that your platform as a stylist can be so educational. How might you explain the correlation of using vegan and sustainable options in regards to our climate crisis?

As far as being an image maker, I know that my platform and art come with responsibility as well. We, as stylists, create a trickle down effect from the top. People look to me and my clients for direction. 

I feel it is very important to pass along knowledge, inspiration, as well as showcase designers and companies that are putting their best foot forward to champion this movement.

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