Aesop is a high-end skin care company based in Melbourne, Australia. Their products range from hydrating cream, to detergent, to animal companion care. The product range is definitively unisex with non-overpowering scents that make an excellent base for colognes/perfumes. It’s an extremely luxurious self-care line with an aesthetic to match.

Aesop products are on PETA’s list of cruelty free companies. In addition, aside from their shaving brush that is made with badger bristles, “No other product in the Aesop range contains animal-derived ingredients (beeswax or honey) at this time”.

“No Aesop product contains colourants, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, silicones, parabens or pearlising agents.”

Some of their body cleansers and shampoos do use Sodium Laureth Sulphate, not to be confused with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but their levels are far less than the normally used safe levels. They also offer formulations without it.

Aesop products are a mix of biodynamic, organic, conventional and synthetic. They look for the best possible ingredients, but organic is not always available, practical, or when importing would cause an environmental concern of its own.

“All Aesop cleansing products use surfactants which comply with the ‘ultimate biodegradability’ status of the EU Detergents Directive and therefore are compatible with septic tank waste systems. Our products are also phosphate-free and are therefore suitable for use in water-recycling systems.”

Their soap slab and Sage and Zinc facial hydrating cream contain Palm Oil for those that are concerned with Palm Oil ingredients. However, their Palm Oil is sourced from RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified suppliers. “RSPO is an internationally recognised, not-for-profit organisation formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable Palm Oil products by creating and monitoring global standards.” They have also purchased GreenPalm Certificates in order to offset the annual usage of any of their products that use Palm Oil. “This includes all ingredients of mixed origin, for example Cetearyl Alcohol, where the fatty acid chain may be obtained from either Coconut or Palm sources. These certificates give money back to growers who are producing sustainable Palm Oil to reward and encourage their efforts.”

More information can be found here.

Check out their kit for a man’s bathroom essentials.

Join the Club, Microsoft for Moonbears & Alva DoRight Bags


• You subscribe to magazines, movie rentals, and memberships – but what about underwear? For about $24 a pair, DaDa offers super comfortable undies made from organic cotton, bamboo and seacell delivered every three months right to your door.

Alva DoRight has some great-looking bags for guys in durable waxed canvas. They are all made in the USA, feature recycled nylon lining and have plenty of pockets for all your gadgets and gizmos.

Jasper's Past

Virtual Jasper

• Microsoft has joined the campaign to end bear bile farming with the development of an interactive website Exploring Moon Bears that explains the plight of China’s moon bears and the work of Animals Asia. The IT giant donated its time and expertise to put together the site which is anticipated to be used by millions of school children across China. In addition, with an English language version now available, the site can be viewed and used throughout the world.


Debate: Don’t Eat Anything with a Face

By D.R. Hildebrand

Photo: Joshua Katcher

Earlier this month, The Discerning Brute covered promotions for the debate event “Don’t Eat Anything with a Face.” It got a lot of press traction. Hosted by the U.S. affiliate of Intelligence Squared, the debate featured two two-member teams arguing each side of the motion. For the motion were Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and George Washington University and his debate partner Gene Baur, founder and co-president of Farm Sanctuary. Against the motion were Chris Masterjohn, author of the blog The Daily Lipid (sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation), and his debate partner Joel Salatin, public speaker and director of Polyface Farms.

The debate was composed of three rounds, including a question-and-answer with the audience, and to my delight it maintained an intelligent, robust, and precise examination of the motion, Don’t Eat Anything with a Face. The facts and concerns the debaters addressed, on both sides, were detailed and numerous, and, at the same time, far from complete. Nevertheless, at the end of the ninety minutes the audience was asked to select a winner. The results are illuminating. editor, Joshua Katcher was in the audience and had this to say:

“The debate was sold-out, jam packed, and the popularity of this debate was such that it crashed the Intelligence Squared website! The energy both in the crowd and on the stage was intense, thought-provoking, and above all, it was nice to her that the place where 99% of meat and dairy products (CAFO’s, more popularly known as factory farms) was not even on the table for debate, being considered indefensible by both sides. At the after party, even moderator John Donvan, author and correspondent for ABC News, admitted he’d be changing his eating habits.”

For anyone passionate about food, the definition of food, the future of food, the state of farming, or our relationship to non-human animals, this is a serious investigation of all of these topics. The only related topic not considered here is that of factory farming. Both sides of the motion agree from the outset that factory farming, and all its outcomes and implications, is egregious. The panelists debate only the motion: Don’t Eat Anything with a Face. It is worth watching:

One of the main points raised by the two who argued against the position was that many animals are killed in growing vegetation. But according to research, more animals are still killed in farming them directly:

Three Leaves, Rapanui and Vivobarefoot
Rapanui is “an Award-Winning Eco-fashion brand from on the Isle of Wight”. They make organic, ethical clothing in factories powered by wind and solar energy. Every piece is rated on its sustainability with a letter grade from A-G: A being organic, ethical and sustainable, and G being none of the aforementioned. Where the award winning comes in however, is through their traceability. For all of their clothing they have both a map and a description of the entire process, what they call “from seed to shop”, showing the journey their clothing takes through the entire supply chain to get to the store. Not only are their products animal friendly, but they also work towards animal welfare.

“At Rapanui we will never use fur and none of the products on our site were made after being tested on animals, nor were they derived from animal products.”

Fairtrade Cotton / FSC Rubber Shoes Wolfpack Sweat

Three Leaves, from Red Hook Brooklyn, is a new eCommerce store entering the foray of ethical menswear. That carry brands using eco-friendly materials, with strict certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), cruelty free shoes like Novacas, and socially responsible brands that would never use sweatshop labor, they strive to offer fashion staples for the uncompromising man. Although not entirely vegan (there is some wool and  leather, e.g. jacket zipper, jean tag) they will make note of it in the item’s description.


Vivobarefoot offers eco barefoot shoes suited for most any lifestyle, from trail running to casual. They are made from recycled, locally sourced materials in ethical factories using sustainable production techniques. Each shoe has an eco matrix, in the form of a numerical rating, to score their environmental impact throughout the lifecycle. If a shoe is vegan, it can be found under the shoe’s “features” labeled “Eco Credentials: 100% Vegan”.

Model And Vegan: An Oxymoron?

I’m excited to welcome The Discerning Brute’s newest contributor, D. R. Hildebrand. David is an author and a model in New York who will be writing about a wide range of topics from food to fashion to the various vegans he meets.  Today he’s starting with some reflections.

– Joshua Katcher, editor


There are a few questions, regarding modeling, that I get asked more than any other.  Is it fun?  Where have I seen you?  Do you get to keep the clothes?  Every now and then, someone comes along and asks exactly what I ask myself almost every day: What is your place in the industry?  To what extent will you compromise your values?  How can you call yourself vegan and represent such un-vegan companies?

When I started modeling, seven years ago, none of these questions had crossed my mind.  Though I was raised vegetarian and had since become vegan, the ethical issues regarding clothes and accessories were only beginning to needle me.  I didn’t know what, if any, alternatives I had to the shoes, belts, wallets, and winter coats made from animals, so I bought them as infrequently as possible, and left it, simply, at that.

Upon signing with my agency I received a form, as all models do, asking a myriad of questions.  They ranged from my abilities in sports and languages to my comfort being photographed naked to whether or not I have tattoos, piercings, or—among dozens more—if I would ever model fur.

Fur is the only product, with respect to animals and ethics, which is questioned at the elite levels of fashion.  While I, specifically, have yet to be confronted with fur (in part because I’m a man, and in part because I model in a mildly enlightened age), I am not exempt from a host of other, equally relevant, ethical issues.

I am what the industry calls “commercial fashion.”  This means my “look” is neither “editorial” (androgynous, quirky, hipster, weird) nor “mainstream” (cheesy, cutesy, spritely, Mid-America).  The former walk runways for coveted designers and model in bizarre spreads intended to shock its viewers; the latter appear in fabric softener ads and bubble gum commercials that warm hearts and encourage smiles.  I fall in the middle.  I model in anything from showrooms and look books to department store ads and travel magazines.  I might be styled in jeans and a t-shirt one day, then work in a wool suit with a silk tie and leather shoes the next.

Often, I’m not advertising clothes.  I’m advertising an image that is associated with certain types of clothes.  Say I’m working for a resort or a computer company, or a high-end department store, it would be completely acceptable if the clothes I’m wearing were made cruelty-free—as long as the impression they give remains the same.

Advertising a Samsung computer to businessmen, it helps to look the part, but the part doesn’t require animal exploitation.

This is both frustrating and inspiring.  The frustration is simple: while my role is rarely to market any one, animal-exploited garment, my image implies that those who do what I’m doing should wear what I’m wearing.  The inspiration is equally simple: the exact same clothes can be made—and are being made—without harm to animals.

Unfortunately, non-clothing products have their own history of violence.  Men don’t often model for cosmetics companies, but cruelty is not limited to makeup.  I decided years ago never to work for a fast food chain or a meat or dairy distributor.  But will I resolve the same when I eventually reach an age where I get castings for high-paying luxury car companies—that make leather seats and use animal-derived products in their tires?  Or not long thereafter when even higher-paying pharmaceutical companies—which test on animals—ask to hire me?  Just taking a photograph with film, which until a few years ago we all did, relies on gelatin, made from bones.  The deeper we delve into almost any product, clothing or otherwise, the more likely we are to find a system of cruelty associated with it.

Running from the industry will solve nothing.  Vegan models are everywhere yet if we all retired in protest tomorrow, nothing would change.  We’re as replaceable as vegan waiters serving meat at a steakhouse.  As much as the industry infuriates me and I want to rage against the status quo, I feel slightly more empowered in it than outside it.  When I model I can talk to makeup artists and stylists and educate them about the various products available.  At castings I can collaborate with other vegan models.  Outside the industry I run into people all the time who want to know what I, as a model, do and do not eat.  And I tell them.

I also recently had the opportunity to work for my first vegan designer, whose clothing is starting to get noticed by mainstream vendors.  Just as I would rather not model for a non-vegan client, most vegan clients would rather not hire a meat-eating model.  Thankfully, there is a move now, among some of us in the industry, aimed at uniting like-minded models, designers, photographers, stylists, and makeup artists in an effort to both promote one another and to incite broader change.  And it is this opportunity for change—more than anything else—that keeps me from quitting.

Modeling a designeresque jacket for Vaute Couture at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.