What topics and information do you cover in Bright Zine?
Laura: We have interviews with people doing interesting and innovative things in veganism. We’ve spoken to King who runs the hugely popular restaurant CookDaily in Boxpark, Tim Shieff who runs clothing brand Ethcs and we have planned exciting interviews for the next issue too. We write articles and essays about issues that affect people in the vegan community, but not every article is about veganism itself. There’s plenty of silly stuff in it too; we try not to take ourselves too seriously; hopefully, people find it as funny as we do.
Tell us about what makes this content different than other zines out there?
Laura: As far as we know, there aren’t any other UK-based zines run by vegans and talking about vegan issues. Someone described Bright as being effortless at the same time as having no chill, which was the best feedback ever. We want to be openly honest about stuff and call out bullshit where we see it, but we also want to have fun and show the amazing and positive things about life and veganism.
How was the process of actually launching the zine? Where did you look to for guidance?
Laura: We spent last summer working on it, building contacts, finding printers and manufacturers ourselves. It was a lot of heavy research and hours spent sat on my living room floor and in Paradise Unbakery on our laptops. It was just us, but the work paid off in the end.
What has been the response since launching the zine?
Laura: It has honestly been amazing. That’s the great thing about the community, people are so supportive and want to build up other vegan businesses. We’ve had great feedback on our content and Roxane’s illustration work, and we’ve made great friends with other people working to spread the vegan message and positivity through this whole process.
Tamsin: I think I’m still really blown away by the support and love we’ve received since we launched, watching everyone unapologetically embracing their inner #veganqueen, it’s been a dream.
Roxane: The response we’ve had is amazing. It’s so reassuring to see so many people coming together from all ages and all walks of life. It just emphasises that the vegan community isn’t this stereotype of angry people with extremist views. How can it be when it’s based on the loving, caring and respect for life?
Tell us about the collaborations you have had with the zine?
Laura: Vevolution brought us on board to do a zine workshop at their day festival last November which was awesome. We also collaborated with LUSH to hold a ‘Christmas Without Cruelty’ workshop at their flagship Oxford Circus store. We held a creative workshop where people made cute animal Christmas decorations while learning about more ethical choices they could make in their lives, not just at Christmas. We held a Vegusto vegan cheese tasting and Vida Bakery gave out beautiful mini cupcakes and cookies.
Have you seen any progress in industries that are particularly cruel or exploitative in the time that you have been vegan, or since launching the zine?
Laura: Everything seems to be improving and opening up to veganism. You can get vegan options almost everywhere and I feel like people are more concerned about where their products come from. We’re really happy that The Body Shop has been sold to a non-animal testing company, though we’ll be happier when they stop using honey, shellac and lanolin in their products and go full vegan. They’re making good steps on their way though.
Which industries are progressing (ie retail, cosmetics) and which are not?
Laura: I think all industries are progressing in a good direction except for animal agriculture industries. But even dairy companies now are seeing a drop in demand for dairy and trying to expand and offer non-dairy milks, which is amazing. If we as consumers change the demand, they have to change to keep up with us. And this is happening now, the demand is changing the industry.
Something that has sadly stunted the ethical growth in cosmetics recently is China changing their laws and forcing all cosmetics to be tested on animals. If a company wants to sell in China, their products have to be tested on animals, which is outrageous. Unfortunately, companies like Mac and NARS have decided to give up their ethical standing and test their products on animals so that they can sell in China. And that sucks for the animals. Not for us as consumers, but for the animals being tested on.
We have plenty of cruelty-free cosmetics to choose from including LUSH, The Body Shop (now they’re not owned by L’Oreal), Elf Cosmetics, Superdrug’s own range, online store Makeup Without Malice and the Birchbox alternative Cruelty Free Beauty Box.
Vegans often get bad press for being preachy about their lifestyle choices. Do you ever feel intimated by that stereotype? Does Bright Zine try to counteract this negative image in any way?
Laura: Vegans do have this outdated OTT stereotype, but that’s what stereotypes are right? We’re trying to show that the vegan community is huge, growing and extremely diverse. People are vegan for different reasons and live very different lives.
I wouldn’t say we’re preachy vegans because anyone that’s reading our content has come to us, but we don’t shy away from anything, we’re upfront and honest. Ultimately Bright Zine is about lifestyle, and making choices that align with yourself, your beliefs and your ethics. We want to show that there’s so much more to veganism than the stereotype, and spread a positive and optimistic message.
Tamsin: Personally, if someone asks me about being vegan, I’ll tell them because they’ve asked, and I’ll be honest about what happens, it does nobody any good to lie, hide or sugar coat anything.
For those who are on the opposite end of the scale in terms of having a vegan lifestyle, what are the small steps they can take to getting there?
Laura: I think the first step is awareness and education. Find out what you’re paying for, watch videos, read articles. I’m not saying you have to watch a ton of gory, sad and violent videos, but do what you can to find out what your money is going towards. Money is power and your buying choices matter. Find out about health (What The Health is on Netflix now and is great) and the better choices you can make to support yourself and your vitality. Then you can start to make small steps.
Tamsin: You can start with your comfort meals, your favourite foods. Find ways to make them vegan, there is always a way. Plus, Mint Oreos are vegan, what else do you need?
Lastly, what do you hope for the future of Bright Zine?
Laura: We want to keep growing, keep collaborating and pulling the community together. We also want to help, we want to open up discussions and talk about issues within the community and society more generally. We want to give a platform and a voice to the many people in this amazing, diverse community.
Tamsin: We’ve just launched Issue Three, but I’m excited for Issue Ten and what we’ll be up to then!
For more info on Bright Zine, follow the Instagram page.
Issue Three of Bright Zine is out now and available to purchase here.