Charlotte Harding talks to a Brighton designer keen to spread the word on ethical and cruelty-free interiors.
Veganism is something that many of us think about in relation to food, clothing and beauty products, but what about interiors?
As an interior designer Chloe Bullock decided to complete an online vegan design course as she felt that it would be a good thing to add to her CV.
Even though she worked for The Body Shop in Littlehampton for ten years what she saw on the course truly shocked her.
“I was always pescatarian but I’m becoming more and more vegan as when you start to educate yourself on things it is really eye opening,” she explains.
“I was always brought up to think that leather was a by product and that buying wool was good as it was good quality and would last but this course really opened my eyes. They used footage from charity Peta and some of the things I saw were horrifying.
“I know not everyone does it that way but it can be hard to go through the chain and make sure everyone is ethical.
“I was really shocked about wool and down, as with down the feathers can be pulled when the animal is still alive which was awful to watch.”
Chloe set up Materialise Interiors in 2006 and says that going vegan with your interiors doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality.
“Faux suede looks amazing and is really easy to clean,” she reveals.
“There are so many products out there now and faux leather and suede are long lasting.
“That is what is important to me is doing something that is long lasting.
“I don’t want them to have to replace something after a year as it is just waste.
“I always thought that leather was the by product of meat but in fact it is the other way around and it isn’t just the animal aspect but you see people in leather works wading through chemical baths so you have to think about those ethics as well.”
For this reason this is why the business is billed as healthy, ethical and cruelty free.
The health element applies to using items that don’t emit gases that can impact on a person’s wellbeing.
“I felt pretty clued up as I had worked for the Body Shop I thought I was as we had a checklist for things that we had to work against,” she reveals.
“I worked with the team to create concepts for stores and then tested them out across the world.
“I loved my job there and they were very supportive but I got a bit bored so decided to set up my own business.
“I worked there when founder Anita Roddick was still involved so it was very exciting and she was very hands on.
“Everyone there was so inspirational and it was at The Body Shop that I fell into interior design and went on to do a national diploma in it.”
Chloe takes on private jobs as well as commercial properties like cafes and shops, and offices.
“I can also provide a two hour consultation if someone is stuck and needs some advice,” she explains.
“I can work with design teams on bits or do it all from start to finish and you will see my unpacking furniture in the room at the end.
“People think interior design is expensive but I am there to do what I can and work with their budget and time frames.”
Another area that was eye opening was about animal testing.
“With some products the end product is not tested on animals but the ingredients are,” she reveals.
“When I was at the The Body Shop both ingredients and end of product isn’t tested on animals at all but sometimes it can be misleading."
For those are conscious about what they eat and wear you can now also be conscious of what you have in your home.
For more details and to see other projects, visit materialiseinteriors.com
Chloe will be exhibiting at the Lewes Vegan Festival tomorrow (Thursday, November 1) as part of world vegan day.