Everything we do in life is a reflection of who we are as a person, from our inner self to our outward actions. How we treat ourselves, other people, animals, and the environment paints a vivd portrait of our personality. Our activities, likes and dislikes, and even the clothes we wear make a statement about us as individuals.
As children, we have no control over the situation and culture in which we are raised. Many people fall victim to their circumstances and accept the way of life we are exposed to and taught. Others take control and rebel. Rebellion may manifest for either the bad, which brings harm, or the good, which brings harmony.
Dian Sopranuk grew up in a rural area near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With woods all around, the hunting culture was visibly prevalent. Dead deer roped to the top of a car was a commonplace sight. “I always felt out of place in my hometown,” Dian says, “and was repulsed by the barbarity.”
As a young adolescent exposed to the violence of the pervading hunting culture, Dian instinctively knew hunting was erroneous. By the age of fourteen, Dian took control and became a vegetarian. “My mother didn’t clearly understand my decision, but she supported my dietary decisions.”
When Dian was nineteen, she left rustic Pennsylvania for Los Angeles to embark on a career in the fashion industry. Self-motivated, she immersed herself by working in the fashion industry, hence learning the many aspects of fashion including design and garment manufacturing.
“I realized,” Dian recalls about operating her own design enterprise, “I can do this myself.” Living in Burbank paid off. While maintaining her vegan lifestyle in the midst of all the glamour, Dian designed and manufactured apparel for high profile clients such as Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, NSYNC, and the Will and Grace television show.
What truly gave her life meaning was her volunteer work in animal rescue. “Helping and caring for homeless animals was as natural for me as was veganism.” Having spent years as a 24-hour animal helpline responder, volunteering for local rescue groups, and housing stray dogs and cats with her dear friend, Tom, Dian’s true calling began to take shape.
Six months ago, while dining at a local vegan restaurant with non-vegan friends, the idea of combining her passion for fashion and passion for animals, The Humane Project, was born. “The messages on The Humane Project attire is an effective way to educate the public about veganism, complement the many animal rights campaigns, and help farm, domestic, and zoo animals.”
Dian collaborated with many people to jumpstart The Humane Project. Graphic Artist, Mikey King of Digital Kreationz (DKGFX), assisted Dian in finalizing the drawings and messages on the Humane Project apparel. After the task of finding the right garments, prototypes were made to test in public.
“I wore various Humane Project outfits to events, out to dinner, to work, the dog park, and even to the veterinarian to gauge public reaction.” The variety of dress and casual wear with brief catch phrases worn in public caught attention; people responded positively and engaged in conversation.
At Dian’s workplace and during The Humane Project photo shoot with professional photographer Bryan Ricke of Looking Glass Media, The Humane Project messages have already inspired several non-vegans to begin transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. “Veganism is universal," Dian states. "Many different people of different ages everywhere live a vegan lifestyle. It makes sense because it’s better for the world.”
“The work is not done,” Dian remarks. “It’s just beginning.” Dian plans to expand Humane Project internet sales to in-store sales at various businesses. She’d also like to expand Humane Project clothing design, sizes, and colors. In the future, Dian wants to design the garments and self-manufacture the entire Humane Project clothing line.
“I also want to get out in the trenches, volunteer, and help support animal sanctuaries,” Dian reveals. “Everything we do can make a difference and do more good for animals.”
At the end of August, Dian Sopranuk is leaving her full-time job to focus fully on The Humane Project. Like the young vegan woman who left the Pennsylvania countryside to start a career in fashion design many years ago, Dian and her brainchild The Humane Project will quickly blaze a new trail for animal justice.