Eric Mirbach of Vegan Good Life

by Eric Mirbach


Hi, my name is Eric and I founded a magazine. Let me tell you: It’s a wild ride. I wanted to be an activist and from where I stand, activism might come in many shapes and sizes, but can always be measured by the the grade of it’s effectiveness. I had been looking for a way to raise awareness for everything that’s wrong with exploiting animals, and after some soul-searching, I realized it would indeed be effective to simply use the trade in which I was already an expert to help the cause I’m trying to push forward. Rather than trying to learn a new trade, invest time and work to wrap my head around something new, I knew that if I stuck to my guns, I could do something solid and start right away.

I’m a photographer as well as an editor and I have been working for magazines for a pretty long time now. I’m based in Germany, but I’ve been traveling, shooting and writing articles, and have been published hundreds of times – but only when I partnered up with ex-model Julia Koch, who had ended her international career simply because it was impossible for her to match her ethical views with the demands of the job, I started to grasp that I could very well keep doing all that. I just needed to shift focus, pick up another subject for my work.


So combining Julia’s inside knowledge of the high fashion world with my background in magazine making, Vegan Good Life Magazine was founded late 2014. With a background story like that and with our combined knowledge of fashion and lifestyle, photography, word-smithing, art and design, it was obvious that the magazine we would be putting out would have to be outside the box, taking the general idea of veganism one step further – especially when you look at the way vegans are still seen as radical hippies in large parts of Europe.

Vegan Good Life turned out to be a high end publication printed on thick, quality recycled paper, combining a slick design with superb photography, talking about all things nice and shiny, especially things other than food. We both felt that it only made sense to widen the view by leaving the most obvious (and easy) topic out and shift focus from food to all the other aspects of life which are, in the public eye at least, not connected to veganism at all – even if it meant taking a risk. At least at German newsstands, everything’s rather conservative and strictly categorized. This was reason enough for us to go and take another leap of faith by going bilingual. Vegan Good Life is both German and English (in one magazine), so we opened up to an international audience while keeping our roots deeply integrated into the DNA of the magazine.

The second issue of Vegan Good Life (with no other than The Discerning Brute’s Joshua Katcher and Vaute Couture’s Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart on the cover) can still be ordered online on our website:

Issue #03 is in the works right now and will be out November 2015. We work a lot, don’t go out too much, but we make a point of eating healthy, cooking a lot, exercise regularly. There’s always a ton of stuff to do – we struggle with the sheer amount of correspondence we now have to face everyday. Our inboxes are trying to kill us, basically. Oh and did I mention how insanely expensive printing a magazine is? And isn’t it crazy how it all doesn’t matter when you just know you’re onto something? When it all feels so right, there’s no reason good enough to stop doing it.

Feel free to check out Vegan Good Life. We’re making it for you!

Fashion’s Biological Future is Now

safe_image-1by Joshua Katcher (also published on Huffington Post)

In an industry notorious for transience, flux and experimentation, it’s counterintuitive to consider that the fashion system is stuck in a rut when it comes to materials and real sustainability. Year after year, season after season, there’s this feeling of velocity, of working towards something better. Sure, there are a million ways a shirt can look, but if the way that shirt is made never changes, are things actually changing – or is it simply an illusion of progress?

Designers, press and editors alike continue to rationalize what happens to animals caught up in the fashion industrial complex as a necessary evil in achieving the highest quality, performance and most luxurious fibers, as if mother nature herself were meticulously positioning a leopard’s spots, arranging a reptiles scales or softening a goose’s down for the sole purpose of human use. And more often than not, the more rare an animal or cruel a process – from fetal lamb (also known as astrakhan or karakul) and calfskin (from veal calves) to angora and fur, the more heightened the perceived payoff will be. This is a strange psychological equation to say the least, but one that rules in the realm of luxury fashion. While animal agriculture is the single most environmentally problematic aspect of the fashion industrial complex, the choice to actually breed, farm, trap, confine and kill animals in order to attain their fibers will soon be obsolete thanks to a burgeoning sector of biofabrication startup businesses.


Leather without cows? Shearling without sheep, silk without spiders and furs without foxes? At first glance, something sounds wrong about this. The word “unnatural” gets thrown around when criticizing the cellular farming, synthesizing or culturing of animal materials. We think of frightening laboratories, test tubes, and scientists crouched over bubbling chemicals who are ‘playing god’ or at least Dr. Frankenstein! Our food and clothing should be coming from those bucolic images we see in ads of the quintessential farm with a red barn and two or three happy sheep lazing in a field, right? We cling to the marketed myths of where animal products come from because the images of factory farms, fur farms, leather tanneries or commercial shearing operations are not likely to stir up nostalgia, legacy and heritage. Outrage would be a more accurate reaction, which is why the reality of these industries are kept hidden – and now with AgGag laws, its illegal in many states to even document what’s happening inside these operations.

Image: Joshua Katcher at IndieBio with the BioLoom team, holding cellulose used in production.

Enter Bolt Threads, BioLoom, Modern Meadow, Biocouture, Pembient, and BioFur. They are among the existing and emerging synthethic biology companies who are redefining agriculture, textile manufacturing and the fashion industry in general through innovation on a systems level. Bolt Threads has already developed an exact replica of spider silk without spiders, as Bloomberg recently reported. Modern Meadow is developing lab-grown leather and Icelandic designer Ingvar Helgason is developing BioFur, which is lab-grown pelts. Pembient has grown Rhino Horn in the lab, and will soon take on elephant ivory, while Biocouture developed a leather-like cellulose and now is a biofabrication and design-application consultancy. BioLoom has taken on the water and pesticide-intensive conventional-cotton industry with lab-grown cotton. The exciting thing about all of these companies is that they are just scratching the surface. This is a field of development and production that will be endlessly customizable, increasingly efficient and high-performance, and inherently more sustainable and less cruel than raising animals to kill them.

This is why the fashion community must stop kowtowing to the most sluggish and démodé symbols of luxury: fur, leather and wool that are still grown on an animals’ back.

It seems that if you have an idea for creating sustainable animal products without actual animals, you’ll be in luck because a huge trend in the field of synthetic biology is taking the greatest causes of the worst environmental problems, like animal agriculture, and finding visionary solutions. IndieBio, the San Francisco-based synthetic biology accelerator, recently announced that it’s offering $250,000 in seed funding for people with ideas for these types of startups.

Mock-up of a Muufri synthetic milk carton - the company is aiming for a marketable product by summer of 2015It’s also happening with food. New Harvest, a nonprofit that describes itself as “advancing technologies to feed a growing global population”, has helped launch companies like Clara Foods. Clara foods makes real eggs without hens. New Harvest also led Muufri, a company engineering yeast to produce cows milk without cows, to a similar accelerator. Modern Meadow, in addition to leather, has developed cultured meat, as has Impossible Foods.

The Biofabricate conference, heading into its second year, is a fantastic way to place your finger on the pulse of this movement.

We are on the brink of an industrial revolution and cellular agriculture is at the center of it. Companies like Ouro Botics are figuring out ways to take these developments into our homes and places of work by combining 3D printing technology with Bioprinting, so we’ll soon be able to print three-dimensional objects with organic and biological materials. Electroloom is mastering the technology of spray-on clothing, so clothing could be made of healthy, organic substances that are recyclable or biodegradable and always fit. We have only scratched the surface of what is possible.

the ultimaker 1... great fun repairing... ;-) www.our-botics.comanother ear because we realised we needed two...

Outerknown Evolution Menswear


Outerknown has released a new range of outerwear and board shorts made from recycled nylon sourced from reclaimed fishing nets. According to the UN FAO there are over 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets clogging up the oceans. Designer Kelly Slater says:

“By collecting the fishing nets that are regenerated into ECONYL® products, we lessen our environmental impact while also cleaning up the oceans that we love so much – and that unique commitment to sustainability is central to who we are as a company”



British model and fitness entrepreneur Roger Frampton has just celebrated ten years at Milan Fashion Week. He’s appeared on top runways and in international fashion and editorial campaigns for years. His newly-launched and highly sought-after training method inspired by Olympic gymnastics, utilizes the body’s own weight and is surprisingly accessible. From growing up on a small farm, ushering animals to the slaughter to becoming someone who advocates for animals and is at the forefront of fashion, health and fitness, Frampton is in an especially influential position to create desire around a more evolved definition of masculinity. Roger and I had a conversation where he shared some insights, highlights and ideas:

Joshua Katcher: What led you to modeling and what are some of the most widely-seen campaigns for which you’ve modeled?
Roger Frampon: I was first spotted working at my brothers bar in London. The campaigns which I am most known for are; Ralph Lauren, Aquascutum, Thomas Pink, Jean Paul Gaultier & Topman.

JK: What few things do you always have with you when you travel?
RF: Passport, sunnies, laptop.

JK: You’re also a fitness expert. Tell us about your business and your approach.
RF: I am indeed. The Frampton Method is a practise on working with your own body, nothing else is needed. It’s unique to you and you only. I will be revealing lots this year on my YouTube channel. People will need to follow any one of my social channels to be in the know. [see below for links]

JK: What is it like to be vegan in an industry notorious for fur, leather, and wool?
RF: Well I live in a ‘world’ notorious for fur, leather, and wool so do not blame the industry, sadly a case of supply and demand. The only plausible reason I had for consuming animals was taste. Taste is habit. Habits are in the mind. I am not my mind. Tick!

JK: What is your relationship with animals like?
Growing up on a farm I was surrounded by animals for most of my younger life, they were our friends but I still loved to help out driving them to the slaughter house whilst enjoying a bacon sandwich after. Looking back it’s quite remarkable what you can teach a young brain on the rights and wrongs of life. My relationship with animals is now a very different one having made an adult moral decision that they are not here for me to eat.

JK: Is the era of spokesmodels and supermodels over? What power do models still have to influence fashion?
RF: With social media, definitely not. Models are more accessible than ever. The power of the smize!

JK: What’s your best advice for someone who wants to get in shape?
RF: To remember it was not your bodies fault that you are currently out of shape. It is your fault. Your social choices, your greed, your lack of education and understanding. Take responsibility. Forgive yourself, move forth and make some lifestyle changes.

JK: What are you favorite cruelty-free grooming and fashion products?
RF: Favourites are… Bulldog and Dr. Bronners Soaps. I would like to know more fashion brands!

JK: What’s your most vivid childhood memory?
RF: Walking the mile long walk home from school with my sister with the smells and sounds of the country.

JK: What’s on your playlist, reading list and bucket-list?
RF: Afraid of this generation – Dagavaq, The War of Art, The moon.

Follow Roger:



Monday Basics

Dirt Taupe Raglan Sweatshirt - Mens