Thursday, June 09, 2011

Stylish Professional Series : Amanda Hearst

This week we had the chance to sit down with Marie Claire fashion editor/activist Amanda Hearst. We asked her about everything from her blog to eco friendly summer accessories and what she would do if she was not an editor. What we were most inspired by was her dedication to her charity, Friends of Finn. Upon learning that her beloved puppy Finn had been born at a puppy mill rather than through a breeder, which she had been lead to believe, Hearst founded the organization. Her hope is to bring attention to this cruel mistreatment of animals and encourage dog lovers everywhere to be aware of where their pets truly come from. Interested? Click over to her website and read below for the full interview!

1. What inspired you to start your organization, Friends of Finn?
I grew up surrounded by animals (dogs, cats, horses, even an emu!) but it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I bought my first pet, a puppy I named Finnegan, from a pet store in New York. It was around this time that I was also doing some work with the Humane Society such as visiting animals rescued from puppy mills. Long story short, after seeing all the suffering animals I decided to find out for myself whether Finn was from a puppy mill. The store had guaranteed me that he was from a breeder and even given me his family tree, but I had to be sure. It turned out that Finn was from a horrible puppy mill that at one point had 900 dogs at the same time! It was heartbreaking, but finding that out was also what inspired me to start Friends of Finn.

2. What is Friends of Finn?
I like to call Friends of Finn a “puppy partner” of the Humane society. Basically, we are a group of young New Yorkers who are all dogs owners and who all want to see the end of the puppy mill industry in our lifetime. We raise money and awareness campaigns, and in the short year that we have been active, we helped pass Prop B in Missouri (known as the puppy mill capital of the world) which ensures that animals are provided food, water, daily activity, and rest periods between breeding cycles.

3. How can people get involved?
Go to! We are also working on our facebook page which should be up shortly.

4. Why is important to raise awareness for this cause?
Because I am CERTAIN that if people knew where these cute puppies were actually coming from—horrible facilities where dogs are piled on top of each other in crates and riddled with infections—they would do the right thing and buy from animal shelters.

5. You started a blog last year titled, Amanda’s Eye, what has been the most rewarding story / experience you have encountered while working on the blog?
It’s been great because I feel a lot closer to readers of Marie Claire and followers of my pieces on sustainable fashion for the magazine! They email me and give me feedback, which I think in the end is a lot more productive for me and my work. The blog is a great forum to support fashion that I love, especially sustainable and ethical brands, and I continue to learn by writing it!

6. We notice you write a lot about eco and organic fashion. What eco friendly accessories to recommend for this summer?
My absolute favorite brand is Bodkin (I wore a bodkin dress at the Christie’s Runway to Green event this year). The clothing is very much what a hip new yorker would wear. I’m also loving From Somewhere, a British brand that upcycles materials (like extras from Chanel tweed coats and Dior skirts) to make one of a kind pieces! For accessories, Matt and Nat Bags and Monique Pean jewelry.

7. Where is your favorite place to see street style?
New York!

8. What are your 3 favorite places in NYC?
The Highline, the Washington Square dog run, and Morandi’s.

9. If you weren’t an Editor you would be…
I would work for a contemporary art gallery (although I’m not sure who would hire me!)

10. What’s next for Friends of Finn?
Georgina Bloomberg, Annie Churchill, and myself (three members of Friends of Finn) are chairing the Humane Society Gala on October 5th in NYC!