Panzarella is the owner of the innovative clothing company, For the Love of Animals Apparel (FTLA Apparel), which is a cruelty-free and eco-friendly clothing line for animal lovers.
“I’ve always loved animals. It’s just in my blood,” Panzarella says. “A few years back, before FTLA, I became active in local rescues. Helping people find lost or missing pets, volunteering at local shelters. … It’s just a huge part of me.”
She even started a Massachusetts-based group called Help Locate Lost and Missing Pets, a network that works together to return missing pets to their pet-parents.
“As time went on I became more and more involved. I’ve always been an advocate for animals,” Panzarella says.
In addition to writing letters to legislators regarding bills about animal rights, Panzarella has worked with several animal rescues, shelters, and animal control officers in Massachusetts. At one point she wanted to be a humane law enforcement officer.
She notes that as she learned more about animal cruelty prevention and conservancy, “Some of the things I came across were inconceivable. … So my interests started to expand. Every day I learn more and more about a different issue that’s destroying or hurting animals.”
“I believe everything has a lot to do with educating people on the various atrocities happening—whether it be fur farms or the dairy industry or slaughterhouses or animal testing,” Panzarella says. “There are so many different areas of abuse and horror and things you could never dream of being possible. … It seems like it’s a fight that will keep on going, but we can’t give up. We are their voices.”
And so, Panzarella launched FTLA Apparel. Many customers are vegan athletes looking to strike up a conversation with animal advocate-inspired apparel. Panzarella notes that her designs are customer-driven, never sacrificing the integrity of the brand to make a quick buck.
“It’s about making a difference in creating these unique designs that speak for themselves really,” she explains.
Panzarella donates a portion of sales each month to a different nonprofit animal rescue organization. She even collaborates with nonprofit groups to design special collections that will benefit the organization associated with it.
The first nonprofit she collaborated with was Beagle Freedom Project, whose goal is to save the 65,000+ beagles, 20,000+ cats, and thousands of other animals in the U.S. from being used as test subjects in labs.
“I create custom designs based on each cause. … Every purchase someone makes I donate 15 percent back to that group,” Panzarella says.
Currently, Panzarella has custom collections benefiting the following nonprofits:
— Hounds and Heroes, founded by Bonnie-Jill Laflin, is dedicated to lifting the spirits and morale of active, wounded, and veteran military troops worldwide while increasing awareness about cruelty to animals.
— The Fur-Bearer Defenders, a group committed to ending the commercial fur trade, banning the use of traps, leg holds and snares, and working to help introduce humane ways to coexist with wildlife.
— Ahimsa Haven Animal Rescue, a rescue organization that believes in finding the best match between animals and their adoptive families.
Every garment is designed by Panzarella and hand screen-printed with eco-friendly, nontoxic ink. Right now she’s working on a collection with Katie Cleary, animal advocate and executive producer of the film Give Me Shelter.
“I make that top for you right when you order it. I don’t outsource it,” Panzarella says. “Sometimes it can be overwhelming but I love it. I love what I do. It’s amazing! The things I’ve done in the past have all lead me to where I’m really happy. It’s all about the animals. That’s how I named [FTLA].”
Some of her upcoming custom collections to look for include one aimed to expose the cruel dog and cat meat trades, as well as new designs to benefit ARME, the parent organization for Beagle Freedom Project.
There have been some harsher design requests from fans, but Panzarella has remained true to creating a product that offers an open dialogue. She believes it’s all about “educating people in a non-confrontational manner.”
Panzarella has three rescue dogs of her own, cares for five stray cats, and has been known to save the life of a mouse that wanders indoors.
“I rescued a little mouse the other day,” she explains. “I had to put together a box, flip it over and bring him outside.”
As for the future of FTLA Apparel, Panzarella plans to continue spreading the word against animal cruelty while supporting as many animal organizations as possible.
“If I could, I’d have a millions animals,” Panzarella says. “Maybe one day I’ll have my own little animal sanctuary.”
Some of her favorite animal-related films include Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Ghosts in Our Machines, Earthlings, An Apology to Elephants, and of course, Give Me Shelter.
As an animal advocate, Panzarella encourages the ‘adopt don’t shop’ movement.
“When you adopt one life you’re saving another life too, by creating an opportunity for another animal to find a home,” Panzarella explains.
Her final advice for those aspiring to make a difference? “Go vegan! Love all animals. Be compassionate and be kind. Just be the change! It’s going to take an army of compassionate animal lovers. … There are so many aspects of being an animal lover and advocate, at the end of the day it’s all for the love of animals.”
Visit FTLAApparel.com for Kimberly Fawn Panzarella’s latest designs and collections.
Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!