“The creative process behind both food and fashion involves inspiration, an appreciation of history, a willingness to experiment, the selection of tools—whether it be fabric or ingredients—and endless revisions. As Americans have become more interested in what they’re eating, food, like fashion, plays a growing role as a signifier of style.” Bridget Shirvell
Here at SFF there’s definitely an intersection between fashion and food. If we care about the clothes we put on our body we should, in theory, also care about what we put in our bodies and vice versa.
Last April at the 2nd Annual Sustainable Fashion Summit, we combined fashion and food with a private plant-based lunch for our panelists, VIP guests and friends curated by Chef Tara Thomas sponsored by Cherry Sprout Produce, Amylk Milk, Roots and Crown and Hey Babe Vegan Cheese.
Tara’s commitment to sustainability both in the kitchen and in her closet made our partnership a no brainer. Last month Tara moved to NYC to pursue her culinary career and although we were sad to see her leave we’re thrilled to introduce you to Tara as our NYC Ambassador!
Keep reading to get to know the newest member of our team!
Tell us a little bit about you?
TARA THOMAS: Hey, I’m Tara! I’m a model, entrepreneur and creative but more specifically, I’m a plant-based chef from Portland, Oregon now located in NYC.
What was your journey to becoming a chef and why was it important for you to be a plant-based chef specifically?
TARA: I've been a full time chef for a little over a year now. It was really about wanting to take charge in my life. I was studying civil engineering and spent my days day dreaming about what I was going to cook when I got home. I decided to take a year off from school and realized shortly after that I was filling all my time with cooking. I decided to try my hand at being a chef and it worked! I’m vegan so specializing in plant-based food only made sense. I went vegan initially because I wanted to create a healthy diet and lifestyle for myself but I’ve stayed committed to veganism for those same reasons but especially for the cruelty and sustainability aspects. I've found that there are sustainable, healthy and cruelty free options for EVERYTHING which makes it so much more meaningful to do what I do. Being a chef has allowed me to pursue my other creative passions which in turn refuels my passion to create curated events where people can enjoy my food.
How does fashion tie into your career as a chef?
TARA: As a plant-based chef sustainability, food and fashion go hand and hand. It’s a lifestyle. I've always been keen to fashion but saw the ugly side of fast-fashion. In order for me to live the most ethical lifestyle I can it required me to be mindful of the food I put in my body but also about the clothing I was put on my body — where my clothes come from and who makes them.
What are some of your favorite ethical fashion brands right now?
TARA: I’m really loving Everlane right now! I went to the launch of their new ReNew collection and fell in love. They currently have the only vegan puffer on the market that's made with recycled plastic! I know some people are weary of plastic in clothing but I see the value to utilizing it in outerwear. I also love Everlane’s initiative to turn waste into something beautiful. Mara Hoffman has also been on my radar lately. I have my eye on her letterman jacket! The color scheme is everything to me and I just adore her clean yet warm classic styles.
You recently moved from Portland to NYC. What made you move to the east coast?
TARA: There are so many reasons to move to NYC! One of the main reasons I moved here was to focus on being a chef in one of the best cities to do this kind of work. The energy here is vibrant. I usually work from home or a cafe and on my breaks I adventure around Brooklyn, taste food at a new restaurant, or go to a museum! There's so much to do and the potential of it all is amazing! I'm excited to represent The Sustainable Fashion Forum here in NYC and to be the New York City Ambassador! I’m looking forward to taking you with me as I attend events, venture around the city and explore new brands.