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Founder Feature: Annie Chang

The vegan Whopper is just one of the hallmarks of the increasing popularity of a plant-based approach to life. Annie Chang and her clothing company OR/ELSE provide another one - super soft plant-based essentials that promote all-day ease and wellness.

“Becoming vegan in 2013, I discovered lots of exciting foods, but found the change challenging in terms of fashion,” said Annie, who had been working in global merchandising and product development for over ten years when she founded OR/ELSE.

“When I broke out into rashes after wearing a cashmere/wool blend sweater that I had worn for years, I decided to create something I could wear and love with no regrets. I craved a hypoallergenic alternative that was soft and warm like merino using zero synthetic and animal fibers - something I could wear all day from work to sleep,” she recalled.

OR/ELSE was born of that desire. Founded in 2018, the company’s name means the second of alternatives.

“We are small-batch, guilt-free, and use zero synthetics. Our clothing is made entirely from plants and brings a familiar sense of comfort when worn,” Annie explained. “I designed each piece to reflect quality and versatility.”

In addition to ensuring the yum factor of wearing OR/ELSE pieces, Annie is all about making our planet livable for all its inhabitants.

“From biodegradable materials to small-batch production, we are constantly exploring new ways to strengthen our environmental stewardship,” she said.

Although she had always worked in fashion, Annie was usually part of a team of 30+ people preparing a launch for bigger brands.

“I never saw the VERY early days of a brand and I totally underestimated all the effort that goes into getting a company started. There's an entire process and I know that now,” Annie laughed.

Being her own boss has its rewards. “I love the idea that I always have the power to change something I don’t like.”

The F Project spoke to Annie because of her own experience.

“The journey to start your company is hard, but pursuing it alone is harder. I couldn't have done it alone, so I want to share those resources.”

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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