Archive for: March, 2010

Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture, the first and only vegan winter coat line on the market sat down with the Sparrow Project this fall for an interview where she detailed her 8 months of fabric research for a vegan alternative to wool that was slim & pretty but ready for a Chicago winter. Leanne is the first to use a fabric that is wind/snow resistant, designed to retain heat, and completely recyclable and vegan, lined in a windproof 100% recycled closed loop zero waste ripstop. The line is limited run and only 25 of each color and style have been produced for her launch.

One style in Leanne’s line, the Vaute, has been named one of 22 best new coats by Chicago Magazine, and donates all net profits to the Farm Sanctuary. Leanne has a laundry list of celebrity fans including Alicia Silverstone, Emily Deschanel, and Ginnifer Goodwin.

Leanne has been vegan since she was 17 and vegetarian since age 10, her background is not in fashion but in activism and start-ups, as she has been advocating for animals since she was 8 years old and helped push a bill into law at 17, for dissection alternatives in IL schools. She has been named 20 under 30 by VegNews Magazine and featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and the LA Times who had this to say about Vaute Couture, “Vegan fashion takes a turn for the stylish.”

Speak With It Too

The following video has been circulating around activist communities in the past few weeks, it’s a brilliantly animated typographic depiction of a poem by Taylor Mali.  The artist, Ronnie Bruce, made it as a class project over a year ago and  later posted on his vimeo page.  Without over analyzing, this video is a prime example of packaging & moving a complicated message in a way that feels good & resonates long after in the viewers mind.

The poem too is spot-on.  How often are we told to not be too political, or too affirmative in our tenor because we may potentially alienate a section of a (potential) audience.  Inarticulate melancholy is too oft celebrated.

When you care about something it’s ok to be adamant about it, especially if you feel it inside.  You don’t need to use big words, just strong ones.  There is a lot to be zealous about, war, animal abuse, environmental degradation, commoditization of everything, capitalism, you name it.  Watch, listen & feel then get out there and speak with conviction.

Muzzling A Movement 3/23/2010 NYU

The NYU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund presents “Muzzling A Movement” a speaking engagement with former SHAC 7 prisoner Andy Stepanian, and Dara Lovitz whose book, Muzzling A Movement, on the suppression of speech & first amendment protected protest within the animal protection movement, is due out this summer from Lantern Books.

Activist & former SHAC 7 prisoner Andy Stepanian tells his personal story of standing up to one of the worlds largest contract animal testing labs, being charged with “terrorism” for his efforts, and serving 3 years in a federal prison. To learn more about the SHAC 7 please visit

Attorney and animal law professor Dara Lovitz describes the money, power, and politics behind animal enterprise terrorism laws in support of her claim that animal activists are being silenced, as set forth in her upcoming book, Muzzling A Movement.

You can RSVP this event on Facebook here.  You can download a flyer for he event here.Please support Lauren Gazzola & Kevin Kjonas two of Andy’s SHAC 7 codefendants who are still incarcerated write them a letter or send them a book today

50%50 Solidarity Shirts

For those visiting from Please be sure to check out our new online store here.

It’s exciting news to say that after a lot of saving up money, designing, and signing contracts the Sparrow Project is proud to announce that this Spring 2010 we will be launching a line of benefit shirts, that are sweatshop-free, printed with love in Long Island with soy & water based inks & color discharge elements.  They are full-bleed, seam-to-seam, art prints that benefit the projects we love most.  The Spring 2010 line will benefit Farm Sanctuary, Hope International for Tikar People, The Uganda Skateboard Union, Clean Ocean Action, The Icarus Project, & the Sparrow Media Project.


Each design is a partnership between Sparrow & an artist or activist who works with one of the organizations that will be benefiting from the sales.  We are calling the project 50%50 because even though we offer art direction we want to empower the people involved in the causes to have their struggle reflected in the art.  This is just a sneak peak at what will be coming.  Tee’s will be available online soon for $25.  They look good & feel good.


Many thanks to Brooke, Alex, Beck & Jason at MerchDirect for bringing this all together.