Adriane Marie is an ethical consumerism advocate. She is the founder of HEALabel, a website and app that educates consumers about how our purchases — mainly food and fashion — affect our health, environment, animals, and the laborers that produce consumer goods. She's been vegan for six years, enjoys plant-based cooking, getting outdoors, and learning about sustainable, innovative fashion. Adriane is originally from Kentucky, but she began HEALabel in Los Angeles and currently lives in Berlin. Her favorite Jill Milan piece is the SoMa Bucket Bag in Pewter.
Could you tell me about your background? You’ve had some rather fascinating experiences in your travels.
I am from Kentucky but I have traveled to many places — Turkey, Germany, Croatia, Italy, England and other countries.
From 2013 to 2017, I lived in Los Angeles, and I became intrigued with conscious consumerism — sustainability, veganism, health issues and fair trade. California has a chronic water shortage and yet most of America’s food is grown in that state. I became interested in the impact our consumption had on the environment.
When I moved to Berlin, I found the city extremely vibrant. The city is innovative and people are interested in sustainability. This move furthered my interest in conscious consumerism.
How did you start HEALabel?
I started it toward the end of my time in Los Angeles. HEALabel was born of my own frustrations. I could find vegan food but it might contain palm oil, which is bad for the environment. In other instances, I might find apparel but not understand how it is made. For instance, had the garment been made with child labor or using unfair labor practices? I wanted answers to these questions.
During the Covid lockdowns, I could finally devote myself fulltime to HEALabel.
What are some products that often use unfair labor practices?
Coffee, tea, bananas frequently use child labor. They are often sourced from areas that aren’t regulated well.
In general, refugees and immigrants are often in very vulnerable situations. Sometimes they are forced to work off debts they have incurred. In California, undocumented immigrants can’t turn to traditional channels if they have disputes.
Are you seeing any developments in newer, more sustainable fabrics?
Cactus leather is very innovative, very sustainable. The fabric doesn’t require strong chemicals to tan it. It also doesn’t need much water to grow and regenerates very quickly. You don’t have to kill the plant itself.
Pineapple leather is another interesting fabric. Pineapple is a by-product of the food industry. Fruit leather still has to be treated with a chemical so it doesn’t decompose but is still much more sustainable than using cow leather.
What is next for HEALabel?
Right now, a product might be labeled as cruelty-free, vegan, organic or fair trade, but there’s no packaging label that encompasses all of these issues. I wanted to create a label that would address all these facets of the problem.
In 2022, we will debut the "HEALabel Approved" label, so that shoppers can tell that an entire brand is non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free, sustainable (including the packaging), and is fair to laborers.
HEALabel plans to approve not only food brands but cosmetic, personal care, and fashion brands as well.
Recently I’ve also become very active in helping brands become greener, in working with them to be sure their products and packaging are more sustainable.
When will you be finished with HEALabel?
Never! Fabrics and products are constantly evolving.