Friends of Má + Lin - Meeting Noa Ben Moshe
Today we’re delighted to introduce you to Noa Ben-Moshe(@style.withasmile), a vegan and sustainable fashion influencer who uses her platform to show that cruelty-free clothing can also be fun and carefree.
A fashion journalist and animal lover, Noa is the creator of the lifestyle blog, Style with a Smile which spotlights ethical brands and encourages mindful consumption. Aside from featuring in high-profile magazines, the blog has been awarded the title of #1 vegan fashion blog by ELUXE Magazine for the past 4 years running.
We chatted with Noa about all things sustainable, finding inspiration and making a positive impact online:
You’re known for your award-winning vegan fashion blog, Style with a Smile. Can you tell us the story behind how it started? How’s it going and what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I’ve always believed that being vegan is not about me; it’s about other beings and the environment, which belongs to no one and to us all. Therefore, changing myself was only the first step. The next step was changing the world.
I started as a social activist for animal rights and put my heart and soul into it. I did everything from demonstrations and marches to conversations and exhibitions. But after 2 years, it was too much for me mentally and I decided to stop.
However, I still felt the urge to do something, so I decided to start a vegan fashion blog, Style with a Smile, back in September 2016. With the blog, I could combine what I love – fashion, writing and animals, plus my ethics and beliefs. At that time, there weren’t that many people talking about vegan fashion.
Soon I found that I could have a significant impact through the blog. I call it "positive activism". While I do address problems, I focus on the solutions, showing that there is always an alternative way forward. I believe both types of activism are essential for change.
The blog has evolved with me. When I started, it had nothing to do with fair trade or sustainable fashion, but that’s since changed. In 2018, I watched the excellent film The True Cost and it changed the way I view fashion. Since then, Style with a Smile isn’t just a vegan fashion blog; it’s also ethical, sustainable and innovative.
I am so grateful for all the wins I’ve had with the blog, having won multiple awards and being featured in world-class publications – but what makes me keep on going is the response I get from my audience. That’s my drive.
But there have been a lot of challenges along the way too. Especially this year, I burnt out many times. Running everything by myself can be very difficult sometimes, especially when things pile up. But I’m slowly learning to not be so hard on myself, allowing myself to take breaks and prioritising my health and well-being.
What achievement are you most proud of so far on this journey?
Getting to positively impact others, without a doubt! Whenever I hear someone who follows me ditched leather, went vegan or started taking steps in the right direction, I feel so happy and motivated!
You mentioned your evolution towards sustainability. What does the term “slow fashion” mean to you?
Well-made items that are made to last, designed with durability and sustainability in mind. Something timeless that’s slowly and ethically made.
As you know, we’re passionate about linen! What do you like the most about the fabric?
I like the look and feel of linen. It’s such a luxurious, durable fabric. It’s sustainable as it requires less water and, when untreated or dyed, it can be fully biodegradable. And since I come from a relatively hot country, linen has always been a go-to fabric as it’s light and breathable – and vegan!
What’s something that’s recently inspired you? It can be anything or anyone – a book, movie or piece of art, for example.
I’ve always loved Earthling Ed and have been following him for years. He’s a wonderful example of how activism should be done respectfully and with a lot of compassion and sensitivity.
If you had to pick, what would be your top 3 sustainable brands?
Last question: What’s your favourite Má + Lin piece and why?
It’s hard to choose! But my favourite piece has to be the top Victorie in flax — the cut and colour are so beautiful!
This Q&A has been edited for clarity.