Sascha Camilli is the Founding Editor of Vilda magazine, an international fashion journalist and European Media Coordinator for PETA with a passion for yoga and travel.
Born in Russia, raised in Sweden and married to an Italian guitarist, she has also lived in California, Milan, Florence and London before landing in her current hometown of Brighton.
Here Sascha talks to us about the work she does to promote animal rights, launching her online vegan fashion magazine and which cruelty free products she’s currently loving…
NTDF: You do some really inspiring work to promote animal rights and veganism. When did you first decide to adopt a cruelty free lifestyle?
SC: I stopped eating meat at nine years old – safe to say my family thought it was just a phase! I didn’t go vegan until much later, at 29 to be exact. I had thought about it, but was under the impression that being vegan was difficult and that I’d never be able to indulge in one of my favourite pleasures, going out to restaurants, ever again! How wrong I was. In my four and a half years of being vegan, I’ve had more delicious meals – at home and out – than ever before.
NTDF: Did you notice any significant health benefits after becoming vegan?
SC: Yes, several. While I was never an acne sufferer, I’ve never had perfect skin while I was eating dairy either – there was always a blemish or two on my face. But after I went vegan, all of those problems completely disappeared and these days, my skin is always clear. I also used to suffer from horrific stomach aches – I’d wake up at night feeling like someone was stabbing me in the stomach. I went to several doctors about it and no one advised quitting dairy, but after I did so for ethical reasons, the stomach aches vanished.
NTDF: Can you tell us a bit about the work you do at PETA and the successful changes you’ve seen as a result of your campaigns?
SC: I first came to PETA nearly two years ago in a PR role. My job was creating tailored, targeted PR projects and building relationships with the press. Some of the most successful projects I worked on was taking an InStyle writer shopping for vegan fashion on the London high street, persuading an ELLE writer to only wear vegan-friendly clothing for a week and generate press attention for our Vegan Fashion Awards as well as our Sexiest Vegan competition. I subsequently moved into my current role of European Media Coordinator, where I use my media experience and my language skills – I speak four languages fluently – to identify opportunities to spread our campaigns in the European press. It’s amazing to see change as a result of our work around the world – orders of our Vegan Starter Kits have doubled in Italy this year, meaning that more people are adopting a cruelty-free lifestyle. It’s also fantastic to see companies such as Benetton drop angora, Whistles dropping down and luxury designers like Giorgio Armani banning fur. Change is constantly happening, and it’s such an exciting time to be advocating cruelty-free living.
NTDF: You’re the Founding Editor of a really informative and stylish digital vegan magazine, Vilda Magazine. How did it all come about?
SC: When I first moved to London, I worked as a freelance journalist and magazines were my obsession. That was around the same time that I started transitioning to a fully vegan lifestyle and I noticed a gap in the market: while I was able to find ample food inspiration online, there was no space dedicated to animal-free fashion. There were “sustainable fashion” outlets but sometimes they would champion oxymorons like “ethical leather” and I missed a stylish, beautiful outlet aimed at those who didn’t want to wear animals. In 2013 I was selected for the Marie Claire Inspire & Mentor Scheme and paired with a mentor who coached me through the process of launching Vilda Magazine (the name is Swedish for “the wild one”) – the first digital magazine in the world focusing entirely on vegan fashion.
NTDF: Who is Vilda aimed at and what is the magazine’s mission?
SC: Our mission is, above all, to portray vegan fashion as luxurious, beautiful and on-trend. Vilda interacts with two target groups: the first is our readers, who are international – with a team based around the globe, we’re able to reach readers in territories as diverse as the UK, US, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, and Germany, just to name a few of our biggest markets – vegan or veg-curious, and mindful about what and where they shop. The second group we engage with are brands – fashion designers, beauty entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and other exciting, interesting change-makers in the vegan arena. One of our aims is to support them through custom editorials as our most recent one with NYC-based brand Veggani or last year’s with Raw Apparel, but also through reviews, social media campaigns, dedicated email newsletters and by featuring them on our online shop.