We have become more aware of what we eat, where it comes from, and why that matters, than ever before. But if that is how we treat our food, isn’t that how we should treat everything? If you care what you put in your body, shouldn’t you care what you put on your body?
That’s the idea behind PLNT BSD, the brainchild of local designer Caroline Yares. The company produces clothes; T-shirts, hoodies, hats, tote bags, and more, made from vegan and plant-based materials. But it’s more than just vegan, more than just the latest trend. It’s a movement that seeks to bring awareness about what plant-based actually means for the world, for the community, and for you.
We chatted with Yares to learn a little bit more about the company, her goals and mission, and the plant-based philosophy behind it all.
A plant-based mission
Big ideas often come from humble beginnings. Apple started in a two-car garage. Starbucks began by just selling beans. And PLNT BSD started with… day drinking?
“To be honest, my husband and I were out in the backyard with our chickens, Gretta and Bessie, having a weekend margarita.” Yares laughs. “I told him I wanted a license plate that said PLNT BSD. We talked back and forth about different ideas. I said what about a T-shirt? So we made one about a week later.”
“We attended a few events around town and were shocked to see the response from the community. People wanted PLNT BSD shirts. So we gave the people what that wanted and started PLNT BSD as LLC and brand. And here we are today.”
It was a right time, right place situation.
“The Twin Cities is a booming hub for plant-based; vegetarians and vegans alike,” Yares explains. “After all we are the only city in the country with a vegan butcher shop. We hope that PLNT BSD will help to spread the word, and start a conversation about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Not only is a plant-based diet and lifestyle good for you, it’s also beneficial to the environment and animals.”
And it’s not just the company in and of itself that is important. An increasing number of local businesses have discovered their influence in enacting change in the community. PLNT BSD joins other apparel companies, like Minnesota-based Love Your Melon, in trying to make a visible (literally) difference in the world.
“We donate a portion of our proceeds to Compassion Action for Animals in Minnesota,” Yares tells us. “CAA exists to build a truly animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities region. Through outreach, education, and community building, CAA educates the public about farmed animal suffering and help people move towards a vegan diet.”
A plant-based company
“I used to think that the word vegan sounded too extreme,” Yares says. “Within my surroundings growing up, it was looked at and mocked as a silly group of people pushing their beliefs on others. Now I know that could not be further from the truth. I have never met more compassionate, and caring people in my 27 years of life.”
She describes going plant-based as a “light going on.”
Of course there is a certain pride in seeing people buy and wear your clothes, the personification of your passion. Yares’ enthusiasm shines bright when she talks about her line of clothing that not only raises awareness, but lets people feel comfortable and fashionable while doing so.
“PLNT BSD is a unique apparel line that lets you express your plant-based lifestyle, while looking great at the same time. Our apparel is aesthetically pleasing, while avoiding the in-your-face type of approach. Plant-based or not, our extra soft apparel and clean designs will have you feeling comfortable and looking amazing… We want people to see our signature colors and fonts on the street, and recognize the compassion within each other towards our own health and all living beings. We want the light to come on, as I put it, for everyone.”
It’s also about practicing what you preach. PLNT BSD apparel is PETA-approved vegan, and, as Yares says, that isn’t going to change. “We will continue to keep it that way. While we don’t use organic 100% cotton (yet), we will always choose only vegan materials when purchasing our apparel and use ink that is not tested on animals. That’s our promise to you.”
She can’t stress enough the larger idea behind the fashion.
“PLNT BSD to me isn’t just a clothing brand or a little T-shirt company, as a close family member put it once. It’s a passion. It’s about spreading the word about a plant-based diet and starting a conversation with friends/family/strangers… In some way we are all trying to benefit the world and the community by working together in our efforts. PLNT BSD hopes to bridge the gap between omnivores and herbivores in the Twin Cites, and make it easier to spark up a conversation about the lifestyle.”
A plant-based future
The company’s plan is to “raise awareness about a plant-based lifestyle and diet” through their clothing, but it doesn’t stop there. As PLNT BSD grows, so do their goals.
“Our goal is to have PLNT BSD be a recognizable brand in the Twin Cites. We want more and more people to ask, Hey what does PLNT BSD mean? or, What is plant-based? so that we, and others, can open that door for a conversation about this lifestyle involving health and compassion.”
This means much more than just producing fashion, though that is the quickest and most efficient way to add to the discussion. But it’s also about being visible beyond the clothing.
“We want to be apart of community gatherings, protests, as well as all of the Veg Fests in the US. A future goal would be to branch out to more global and worldwide recognition within the plant-based community, online and close to home.”
There is a fulfillment that comes from actually achieving goals; seeing tangible results. As Yares says, “Its about spreading a message and expressing who you are, and what you live by.”
We’re learning more and more about what it means to be healthy, what factory farms and production facilities do to both our bodies and our planet, and that there is a better way.
This is the future.
For those interested in purchasing clothing, meeting the team, or simply chatting about the plant-based lifestyle, a pop-up is planned for this Saturday (12/3/16) at Reverie, a plant-based cafe and bar in Minneapolis. And there are many more to come, so make sure to keep an eye out. “[We] plan on doing many pop-ups this year and next all across the Twin Cities,” Yares says.
PLNT BSD products are currently for sale online at www.plnt-bsd.myshopify.com. Apparel can also be found at The Herbivorous Butcher in Northeast Minneapolis (where she and husband/agent Tony Yares make weekly trips for vegan “meats” and “cheeses” ), and Truce in Uptown. More retail collaborations are in the works; you can expect to see plenty of PLNT BSD wear around the Twin Cities and beyond in the very near future.