Los Angeles-based vegan fragrance company Xyrena launched the world’s first unscented perfume “SCAM” (stylized “$CAM”) late last year. Founder Killian Wells created the new “scent”—formulated with odorless coconut oil, alcohol, and stabilizer—as a way to bring awareness to the cruelty behind traditional perfumes. “I originally envisioned SCAM as a piece for an art gallery,” Wells says, “but it evolved into a way to dispel decades’ worth of myths perpetuated by the mainstream fragrance industry.” To accompany the product, Wells created a parody of a classic Calvin Klein fragrance commercial—that features a model in underwear—to point to the use of sex appeal in the industry. Wells says fragrance companies use these tactics to mask the cruelty that exists in the industry—an industry which relies on animal testing, as well as the use of animal products such as ambergris (whale vomit), castoreum (genital secretion from beavers), and civet (cat feces). “Selling animal-tested products with sex appeal makes about as much sense as selling chicken nuggets using a cute cartoon chicken,” Wells tells VegNews. In addition to this novel product—several bottles of which have been purchased for $500 each, according to Wells—Xyrena creates off-kilter, cruelty-free fragrances including “virtual reality” scents that evoke the smell of gas stations, water-park rides, and brand new shoes.
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