Style Destino: Vegan Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle


Kat Von D Lipstick Review | Vegan Lipstick

Kat Von D Lipstick - Vegan lipstick - kat von d vegan - best vegan lipstick - Cruelty Free Makeup

Finding the perfect lipstick is somewhat like dating. You have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince.

No one can deny the power of a good lipstick. The perfect lipstick can immediately transform your look and boost your confidence. But just like a bad relationship the wrong lipstick can do havoc not only to your looks but your health as well. So when you got to spend your bucks on one, it better be good.

Did you know most lipsticks, including the big names, include harmful chemicals (like lead and parabens) and animal ingredients (carmine,lanolin and beeswax to name a few)? Fortunately after a lot of frog kissing episodes, I've finally found the perfect one {I mean the lipstick}!

The Tattoo queen turned Sephora best-seller makes one of the best vegan lipsticks that I have come across and there's a reason why her lipsticks are flying off the shelves - they're absolutely amazing. Yes I am talking about Kat Von D (sold exclusively at Sephora and her own online store).

The Everlasting Liquid Lipstick and Studded Kiss Lipstick from her range are all vegan and cruelty-free and boy I tell you they're super amazing. The Studded Kiss comes in a beautiful black packaging and is super-creamy and richly pigmented, an otherwise rare quality in most vegan lipsticks. Plus it smells amazing (a nice sweet powdery fragrance) and lasts long. The Bachelorette is one of my favorite colors from Kat Von D - a nice reddish fuchsia  - perfect for day-to-night look.

Kat Von D Lipstick - Vegan lipstick - kat von d vegan - best vegan lipstick

Everlasting liquid lipstick is equally amazing - its cool formula gives the opaque rich color of a lipstick yet glides on with the ease of a gloss. It turns matte on drying. In fact their best-selling Lolita (one of my fav colors too), which always runs out in Dubai, is perfect shade to break out from your nude lip territory but without going too far. It's a nice muted chestnut rose shade which is very versatile, you can wear it for any occasion and it complements nearly all skin tones.

Did you know The Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lolita was Sephora's number-one selling lipstick of 2015? Imagine a new brand competing with all the biggies and making it to the top-seller list at Sephora - while being vegan and cruelty-free. Plus they are paraben and phthalate-free. Now that's one heck of a lipstick we say.....

P.S.: I slather lip balm generously few minutes before applying the lipstick to ensure the lips don't dry or crack.

Also check out 5 Vegan Lipstick Must Haves


Fashion Forward Brings Ethical Fashion In Middle East Map

Despite the most unexpected pouring in the dessert and the inconvenient location (yes reaching Design District was really a task) the enthusiasm of the Fashion Week took the winning among the Dubai fashionistas as they showed up at the Dubai Design District braving the rains strutting in their stilettos, showing off their meticulously contoured face and layers of waterproof mascara. Nothing could stop the middle eastern divas from their most anticipated event - Fashion Forward Dubai!

It wasn't just the catwalks, but this season had some really interesting talks too - one particularly close to my heart {and also what my blog is about} ethical fashion. It was the first time I actually heard the term "Ethical fashion" echoed in the fashion circles of Dubai, as there aren't many brands here and those which are, are also not really marketed as "Ethical" (did you know Stella Jean is ethical?).

On day 2 of the fashion forward the rain Gods decided to bless the dessert with rains. The moment I entered the hall, and found a spot for myself I suddenly realised droplets falling on my carefully styled hair - the water was dripping from the tent. But that couldn't take my attention from the talk that was about to commence on "Why ethical fashion matters" {of course I adjusted my chair to avoid being drenched}.

Ethical fashion - sustainable fashion - vegan fashion - Fashion Forward Dubai

"Fashion can make a difference" said Sarah Beydoun, founder and designer of her eponymous label that makes vibrant handbags and accessories, which are all ethically produced by female prisoners and troubled women in Lebanon.  I couldn't agree more.

I've always loved Sarah's bag, which I often see in S*uce stores and also online. They're fun, quirky and have a personality. Unfortunately, Sarah has very few vegan friendly designs, as most of them have leather, but you wouldn't be absolutely disappointed as few of her bags are indeed leather-free.
"Fast fashion isn't free. Someone, somewhere is paying" (Lucy Siegle). 
The same voice was echoed by the second panelist in the discussion - Catherine Occhio, founder of Middle East's first (and currently the only) registered Fair Trade fashion brand SeeMe. Catherine quit her 15 years career after working with organisations like European Commission and SEED Foundation to start her jewelry label SeeMe with heart as its iconic symbol.

Ethical fashion - sustainable - vegan fashion - Fashion Forward Dubai

When asked about does being an "ethical brand" becomes a USP, both Sarah and Catherine unanimously agreed that just being an ethical brand is not enough. Quality and design of the product has to stand up to the same level as the mainstream non-ethical brands, otherwise people will not buy. "The ethical brands have to upgrade their product to a level that fashionable women would want to wear them", said Catherine. For Sarah having bags that stand-out, which are handcrafted using great attention to fine details and having a story behind it were the key reasons for success.

Behind all the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry there is really a dark side. From an environment perspective the waste and pollution generated by the fashion industry is creating irreparable damage to the environment and the cycle of consumption is churning faster than ever before, making things worse (imagine the waste permeating the planet with change of every season). On a humanitarian level, manufacturers are exploiting the workers; clothes are often produced in developing countries like Bangladesh, India and China under unsafe working conditions where the wages are far from fair, sometimes as low as $25 a month. Then there is also the problem of child labour.

Although there have been many incidences of factory fires and expose of exploitation of labour, it was only after the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh that the world had a wake up call about the dark side of fashion industry. People actually saw the dark side of fashion industry and the cost to human life.

It is no brainer that with consumers getting more aware about the how and where their clothes and accessories and this trend is only going to grow. It is only a matter of time that the brands and companies will have to adopt ethical practices in some way or the other to ensure they don't lose out on their customers.

As Catherine said, "producing ethically is a win-win situation - people are paid well, the companies can still get a good profit margin and the products are good - which means a happy customer". Despite producing ethically using fair wages, Catherine's line of ethical jewelry is competitively priced, which means ethical fashion need not always be expensive.

Another good thing about ethical way of doing business is the high you get from the difference you make in people's lives. Sarah's Bags gives female prisoners an opportunity to reintegrate with the society once they are freed fro the prison. There are many stories of such women who worked with her brand inside the prison and could build a life when they were out. Seeing the difference Sarah could make in their lives gives her a real thrill and content. Even SeeMe, Catherine's brand, works with women who are victim of violence, and getting an opportunity to earn a livelihood, and a decent one at that, makes a real difference in these women's lives.

About making ethical choices...

We vote once every couple of years, but when it comes to making the right choice about spending our money we fail terribly as we pay heed to only one aspect of the product - beauty but fail to see where it comes from. Like it or not consumption is a powerful act, and by making the right consumption choices we all can make a real difference - to the lives of people, to the environment and to the animals and other inhabitants living on it. This is what sustainable fashion and ethical fashion is all about - BEING HUMAN (no I am not endorsing Salman Khan here).

The best thing you can wear is a clean conscience. By buying from ethical brands like Sarah's Bag and SeeMe, you could look good and feel good about what you buy.

Kudos to Fashion Forward for waking up the Middle East on the ethical side of fashion. We need more platforms like these and more awareness not only among the local customers but also the local designers to adopt "ethical practices" in their fashion business.

Next time we'll also want to see topics on "buying less", "gluttonous consumer attitude" and how to make the existing pieces new again. Choosing the right product to spend on is important, but equally important is how well you use that product!

Here's a peak at my ethical fashion piece - my Stella McCartney bag


When in Doubt Wear a Jacket

Vegan Fashion - Dubai Fashion Blog - Style Tip Jacket Style - Style Destino

Vegan Fashion - Dubai Fashion Blog - Style Tip Jacket Style - Style Destino

Zara Jacket & Boots, Topshop Jeans and Stella McCartney Bag

Sometimes finding the right 'outfit' to wear becomes challenging. Nearly every girl has to face the situation of having a closet full of clothes yet nothing to wear. Fret not, when you can't find anything to wear follow the motto - "when it doubt wear a jacket" - it can be a sharp blazer, a moto jacket or a bomber. 

Jackets are life savers - not only it puts together an outfit but they also glam it up instantly. When you add a sharp blazer to a simple white tee and blue jeans combo and throw in a pair of pumps you are all set to take over the world in style in an instant. When you want something cool a moto or a Bomber does the trick.

I for one love my jackets, this is one thing I never skimp on. While my black and white blazers are my go-to all time-favourites, but I also love other styles like this moto jacket with a twist.

What is your go-to piece in your closet?


Quick & Easy Quinoa Salad Recipe | Vegan Quinoa

Red Quinoa Salad - Vegan Quinoa Recipe - Vegan Recipes - Easy Quinoa Style Destino

If you follow my Instagram you'd know I am sucker for healthy meals. But what you may not be aware of is I loathe cooking - its never been my forte. The dilemma is I don't even prefer ready-to-eat meals or eating out that much. I feel horrible and guilty if I eat too much processed or unhealthy meals. So sometimes I have no option but to fix myself a meal when I don't have help.

A salad is an easy fix and if you add the right ingredients it can be quite filling and delicious too. A red quinoa salad is a great option as it is wonderfully versatile. It's perfect for lunches, it can make a really good starter or can be a great healthy and filling dinner.

Here's my quick quinoa fix for lunch made from organic quinoa, fresh tomatoes, cucumber and sesame - flax seed - ginger - olive oil dressing. The secret ingredient that instantly makes this vegan quinoa salad super yummy is a generous portion of toasted nuts. Since I wanted a more filling meal I also prepared some moong (soaked it for an hour and then boiled it) and spinach stir fried with olive oil and ginger.

It's a savoury healthy guilt-free indulgence that everyone will love! 

Red Quinoa Salad - Vegan Quinoa Recipe - Vegan Recipes - Organic Quinoa - Style Destino

Red Quinoa Salad - Vegan Quinoa Recipe - Vegan Recipes Style Destino

I N G R E D I E N T S 
1 cup red quinoa (I use organic quinoa)
1 large tomato diced
2 diced cucumbers (organic is always better)
1 small bowl of nuts - mix of pine nuts, almonds and walnuts
2-inch sized ginger finely chopped
3 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and flax seeds each
Half orange and half lemon
Rock salt and black pepper as per taste

D I R E C T I O N S 

How to prepare quinoa

After a few trials and errors and disasters i finally got the hang of cooking the perfect quinoa. The key to cooking quinoa is to soak it for about 15 minutes, drain the water and then put it in a pan for boiling. Soaking it in warm water not only washes off the dirt from the quinoa seeds but also preps it well for boiling. Add some olive oil so it doesn't stick. Typically the water quinoa ratio required is 2:1 - for one cup of quinoa 2 cups of water


- Add a few drops of olive oil and once hot add finely chopped ginger. Saute until it turns golden brown. Add flax seeds and sesame seeds and stir for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl squeeze half of fresh orange and fresh lemon, add extra virgin olive oil and the toasted seeds and mix it well.

- Dry roast pine nuts, almonds and walnuts separately until they turn golden brown.


Toss together all ingredients for the salad. Add the seed and olive oil dressing, salt and black pepper and mix well. Top it with the toasted nuts.


Why do all Fashion Bloggers Look Alike? #NoToCLONING

"To be different you must first be yourself"

How many times did you scroll down your Instagram feed to find the same Moschino* belt, same Celine* bag, same trendy shoes, same Kenzo* jumper, same contoured face popping up on every blogger's feed? It will not be an exaggeration if I say that they are all starting to look the same. Or let's put it this way most bloggers seem clones of each other. Such an irony.

But where has their individual style disappeared? Why are the fashion bloggers falling prey to mediocrity? Why does everyone in the fashion blogosphere need to dress alike?

Back in early blogging days fashion bloggers had some real style - fun, accessible, classy, quirky, weird glam, street chic, feminine burst - everyone had something new to bring on table. Each blogger had a distinct voice  and blogging involved doing your own thing.

Fast forward 2016 and today everyone is trying to fit in the cool crowd wearing the same trends that everyone else is spotted in. I am not against taking inspiration but there is a difference between herd mentality and drawing inspiration.

Some trends definitely excite every fashionista, but each person will have their own take on styling it. When you run through blogs, you'd see no individuality to trends. This is what is wrong with today's blogging business - it has fallen prey to CC; no silly not carbon copy although that sounds apt too, but my version of CC is cloning and commercialisation.

Don't get me wrong; I am not trying to lash out at anyone but I see a problem - the very essence of blogging has lost its meaning. Blogging was not about creating desire for the unattainable or selling products under the pretense of genuinely liking them (aka not being transparent about sponsored posts) - the main problem that plagued the glossy fashion magazines.

Being a part of blogging world, it is easy to fall under the cloning trap and many bloggers are plagued by it. Of course there still are many channeling their own style, but the duplicates are fast growing in numbers and popularity.

No matter what I had always stayed true to my ethical take on fashion - no leather, no fur, no wool and no silk. Thanks to the rising awareness of ethical fashion, I am even more conscious about where my wardrobe pieces come. I would try to incorporate the eco and fair trade side of fashion going forward.

My style has evolved as a blogger and while I think in the world of fashion you never reach the final stage and become “perfect”, since there is only evolution, I love the change in my personal style over the years.


*P.S.: The brand names are just figuratively used, it could mean any trendy style or brand.


What is the problem with the Valentine's Day and why I refuse to celebrate it?

Problem with Valentine's Day | Valentines Is Hyped and Is A Commercial Fanfare

Before I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day {or not} I have a question - is it just me or do you also think Valentine's day is less about romance and more a commercial fanfare that 'forces' you to believe that it's a day of love and you're required to make it special.

Before you think here comes the ranting of another single, who probably doesn't have anyone to go out with or lives under a rock, and dismiss me let me clear the facts. I am not singleWe don't live under a rock; we actually live in one of the most happening cities of the world (Dubai to be precise). We are very happy together. And no we are not one of those sad or boring dated couples, but exactly the opposite (I'd like to believe so).

My whole point is shouldn't we celebrate each other every day - isn't that what love is all about? Besides you don't need a commercial industry to prove your love for each other and substantiate your status.

There are some serious problems with the V-Day, let's give this day some real thought and decide if Valentine's day is worth our time?

Problem #1

The pressure of the Valentine's Day does more harm than good. I'd be honest, its often the poor man who suffers it the most. Let's be honest, we ladies can be tricky. Even though we may dismiss Valentine's day and say we don't care about it, deep down we'd still expect something special for the day. God forbid if the guy actually takes you on face value and play cool, he'll have to pay for it one way or the other.

This doesn't mean it is easy for those who go all mushy mushy and romantic on Valentine's. Promoted by the likes of Hallmark and reinforced by Hollywood the bar for Valentine's is always set high. Fine dining dinner, flowers, exuberant gifts, box of chocolates, couples spa, luxury hotel reservation - sky is the limit. Then there are those Instagram and Snapchat posts from the cool girls sharing their special Valentine's deliveries starting February and of course your woman wants to have one of her own. If those expectations are not met, the consequences can be, let's say, not pleasant.
Even if he does meet his woman's expectation the whole process can be annoying or a displeasure for him as he may feel forced to express his love in unmanly ways or in a manner that's not 'him'.
Either way, he loses.

Problem #2

Another problem with the Valentine's is that it is one of those events that forces you into the 'wrong' relationship because you are so focused on your loneliness or desire to be in a relationship that come February the whole idea of being single seems daunting. This leads to the more obvious and less desirable outcome - you jump into the wrong relationship just to be sure you don't look or feel like a loser - as if getting a man (or a woman - hey I'm not a sexist) will make you a winner.

Let's fact it, every bloke knows playing the charming act during the Valentine's week is his success mantra to scoring a woman on bed - as these lonely chicks are the most vulnerable and easy to play come Valentine's.

Problem #3

Yes I know not all single women are dying to get a man and are very happy and comfortable with their single status. I was one of them too.

So let's say you are not in love and are not looking out for someone either. Regardless, knowingly or unknowingly the whole inescapable Valentine's fanfare ends up evoking that feeling of absolute loneliness - you agree or not.

To escape that loneliness you'd be compelled to go out of your way and do something to cheer yourself up - making the unrequired effort that could end up in self-loathing later. You could decide to go out on a date with your bestie {of course the V-day bestie will not be your actual one, unless of course she is single}, or book yourself a pampering session - spa appointment, running a long bath and watching a movie or perhaps go out shopping {isn't that the medicine for most of the problems} - whatever you decide to do it's consequence of the whole social pressure of Valentine's Day.


Not just 14th February but every day should be a Valentine's Day. Why is it that on most days we can't take out time for each other and on a day that's decided by some random person we need to shower our love {which may even be a drag for most of us, yet we put up the facade and  play the act}.

Bottomline? I refuse to acknowledge Valentine's Day no matter how much redness is thrown my way. I don't need a card, a box of chocolates or anything for that matter on a arbitrary day in Feb to express or get love - it has to be every day. So for this Valentine's and every year to come - it will be business as usual. 


Fringe It On with Black on Black

Stradivarius Fringe Jacket, Zara Culottes, Stella McCartney Bag, Charles and Keith Heels

Initially skeptic about fringe, I finally got a fringe jacket and I'm so glad I did. It adds a refreshing element of surprise to the look and the flippery flappery thing can be fun when it moves on walking.

Pairing it with an all-black look that includes lace, culottes and caged heels, makes it such a easy breezy day-to-night look.

I parired it my Stella McCartney Cavendish Tote. I have to say, among all Stella McCartney bags I have, including most falabella styles, this tote is my absolute favorite. I can easily stow all my essentials, its not too big or small and also not heavy like the Falabellas. Absolutely in love!

Stella McCartney Cavendish Tote - Vegan luxury - Vegan fashion | Dubai Fashion Blogger

Vegan Heels - Vegan luxury - Vegan fashion | Dubai Fashion Blogger

No matter how many shoes we have in your wardrobe, more often than not we pick shoes depending on the current crush of the moment, and somehow we think those crush goes with everything we wear. For example these vegan heels that I recently bought somehow manages to go with all my outfits, and I am wearing them nearly everyday. Before this it was my tan caged heel and prior to that there were those peep-toe slingbacks. And then when the excitement dies down, those shoes land in the back to be replaced by some new love. I don't know why, but this happens with me all the time.

Do you face the same conundrum?

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