Imitation is the...

April 27, 2017

Imitation is the...

...sincerest form of flattery? The vegan world is full of plant-based products trying to be something they're not naturally. Coconut/carrot/eggplant/tempeh bacon. Cashew Cheese. Cheeze? All sorts of nut and soy "milk". An endless selection of imitation meat products. Beyond Meat has even gone so far as to create a vegan burger that bleeds with beet juice.

I'll admit it. Once in a while, the meaty texture of a veggie burger or chick'n fingers is satisfying. But I also wonder whether the better option is to just "own it". Let the vegetable breathe. Don't dress it up, airbrush it, make it unrecognizable and force it to be something it's not! 

This applies to footwear too. At SOULiers Studio, many styles of the vegan shoes we carry look like leather and suede but of course they're not. In many ways, I think it's good that it's hard to tell the difference because our aim at SOULiers Studio is to offer beautiful shoes that you'd wear whether you're vegan or not - they just happen to be vegan and ethically-sourced. And if you're not vegan, then the fact that they are is just an added bonus! I'm ok with people not being able to tell that they're not leather because there shouldn't be a style trade-off.

Does opting for imitation products that try to emulate the flavor and texture of meat do a disservice to the vegan movement? And by that, I mean that meat-eaters might think that vegans miss meat and that we secretly wish we could eat meat or wear leather. I don't think so! I think the point is to tread more lightly on this earth and to do so in a kind and gentle manner. So whatever way you get there is great! 

And I swear this isn't a soap box but I watched a movie last night (Maudie, about folk artist Maud Lewis, what a beautiful movie). There's a scene where a chicken is being chased and, um, ultimately gets the ax. There was a collective, long-lasting gasp in the audience. No one could handle the thought of this chicken perishing. And of course it led me to thoughts about how detached we all are from what ends up on our plate. 

I think we can all do a better job of connecting the dots between what we buy, what we consume, and what (or who) it took to get on our plates, in our hands, or on our feet. 

What do you think about vegan imitation of animal products? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send us a note or a comment in the comment box below.


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