Freedom Of Animals gives handbags a green future

Freedom of Animals – Melia Seraa

Are you a vegan, or an eco-warrior? It’s not an easy question to answer. Yet many of us are finding ourselves faced with a dilemma, especially when it comes to handbags. Do you favour the time-honoured vegan PVC options, while winking at the implications of PVC production for the planet, or do you prefer to think holistically, accepting leather as a natural product and trying not to get hung up on the implications of supporting the meat industry?

Well, thanks to New Yorker Morgan Bogle, there’s also a third way, and it’s called Freedom Of Animals. Bogle’s ethical label uses post-consumer polyurethane to mimic the gorgeous softness and texture of real leather. Polyurethane is safer than PVC to produce because it doesn’t involve the same range of harsh chemicals, nor release harmful, non-degradable dioxins, and careful research has led the company to a finishing process that uses 70% less energy than most consumer fabrics. Yet not only are Freedom Of Animals faux leathers both EPA and PETA approved (a feat in itself), they’re water-resistant, easy to clean and pass rigorous American durability testing.

They’re also, crucially to lifelong vegetarian Bogle, convincingly luxurious. She told Elle: “This was an area that we could not compromise, and we have been highly critical of the texture and touch of each element.”

Bogle’s distinctive, stylish bags are made locally and lined with organic cotton and recycled plastic water bottles. While zips are made by a luxury Italian manufacturer using organic cotton and recycled metal, most other components are sourced from ethical US companies to allow careful scrutiny of supply chains and manufacturing processes. The fabulous range of sophisticated colours in this year’s Autumn/Winter collection [], which range from subtle blue greys to sassy red and white, are created using recycled vegetable dyes.

Freedom of Animals – Sonje Clutch

Since the company launched in 2012, the bags have been embraced by stars like Kerry Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway, for their sleek designs and luxurious production. Bogle sees her mission as allowing people to bring about real change through fashion. “What you purchase and consume is the biggest voice you have in the world,” she says.

Categories: Fashion

5 replies »

  1. Thank you highlighting an important way to make the handbags industry more sustainable by leveraging circular economy ideas.

    Women and men all like luxury brand products and a few weeks ago a group of my students at IE Business School decided to develop scenarios on ‘How could luxury brands continue to attract and satisfy customers by 2035?’ Several of them had worked in the luxury brand industry and they all shared a concern: how to remain a legitimate business over time and throughout the entire value chain?

    The team developed 2 divergent, internally consistent, yet plausible views of the luxury brand sector. Some of the ideas that emerged are not dissimilar from the ‘Freedom of animals’ concept mentioned in your blog. With advances in technology it is currently possible to make high quality handbags from renewable sources, such as bioplastics. Bioplastics derived from ligno-cellulose do not compete with food production and when properly cultivated are ultimately sustainable.

    What I find inspiring is that young dynamic professionals increasingly start questioning the way businesses operate, and that the focus on just shareholder value is not a sufficient condition to maintain legitimacy. Most Business Schools do not focus on sustainability as part of the core curriculum. Very often it is not even an elective. The fact that former luxury brand employees start questioning current practices is a big positive. In fact they love their industry and they want to return after graduation. But they also want to have a material influence on changing the existing business model. As middle level managers, they have access to top management and access to the rest of the organization – they are the ‘real’ change leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m soooo guilty of horrendous crimes against planet earth as I’m a passionate lover of hand bags! So it’s comforting to know that there exists an alternative 🙂 Thank you DeepLuxuryBlog for sharing your insightful findings.

    ProfSasha it’s interesting to see how the market place is changing, by which you find students, as you have in your IE Business School, who have begun to contemplate what the luxury market will look like in the future – and that future is heavily reliant on the concept of developing a ‘sustainable’ based product, which is also of the highest standards.

    In the past, the idea of having a sustainable product typically meant using recycled material, and the word recycled was very synonymous with bland, rough, and unrefined. Here is where the innovative component of ‘Sustainability’ comes to play. When business start considering their externalities, and begin defining a holistic sustainability strategy for their business, they have the potential to unlock new doors and expand their business through innovative products.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this market grows and expands!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe we are all guilty. This summer (and before the start of the MSt Programme), I bought a beautiful Italian leather sports jacket. Expensive, but real nice quality. My wife and daughters told me that it makes me look younger 🙂

      What could make this industry more sustainable is for luxury brands to (start) adopting Integrated Reporting, but also create a sustainable brand image, like the Body Shop did in the UK. We may or may not like their products, but everybody knows what the Body Shop stands for. I am not sure what this entails in terms of luxury product’s industry, but it is worth exploring. Consumers have the right to understand what they are buying.

      I am going to hold on to my leather jacket and properly take care of it, this to ensure that it will last a lifetime and to reduce my environmental footprint.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am also guilty of buying designer handbags and shoes, but most of all not informing myself of the consequences of my actions on the world, animals and our planet. Cherishing those possessions is now important but learning and doing things differently even more important.
        Transparency of what you are buying, where it came from and the manufacturing technique seem to be not much too ask for from our favorite brands. I believe this will create a competitive advantage that will help out perform competitors. My Blog will aim to seek out the brand’s that does this and I hope to inform others of their success.
        I agree with you that integrated reporting could support luxury brands accelerate their sustainability journey. As the old cliché suggests ‘what gets measured gets done’. This certainly seems to have paid off for the business that have adopted this. During an interview I conducted with Goldfields ( a leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index) this week, they echoed the importance of integrated reporting in their successful delivery of their sustainability performance.

        Thank you for your comments, please keep reading !

        Liked by 1 person

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