The New Luxury: Conscious Fashion

They say how you do one thing is how you do everything. Ever since discovering how many harmful ingredients were hiding in my skincare (and starting a company to do something about it), I have been slowly waking up to conscious consumption in other areas in my life. My most recent focus: my closet.  I have so much to learn about conscious fashion, but what I know today is that traditional fashion has a dark side, and once I awaken to the facts, it’s impossible to unknow them. I recently bought shoes made from recycled water bottles, GOTS certified lounge and underwear and a fully compostable cell phone case. It feels good – and looks good – to be a part of this movement. I never felt that luxury was about labels. It has always been about quality. For me, true quality is in the intention and sustainable practices of a company, not just in its name. Happily, I’m not the only one who feels this way. We’re living in a zeitgeist of conscious consumerism, and we see businesses in all industries steering towards better, cleaner and eco-friendlier practices.

One such business is Filbert vegan fashion, a darling luxury vegan accessory line. I met its founder, Bridget, last year and fell in love with the exquisite quality of her wares, featuring soft cone denim hand-stitched in the U.S. and finishings made in Switzerland. Bridget created Filbert vegan fashion from her own frustration with not being able to find luxury accessories that were truly animal (and people) friendly. I loved Filbert so much that, over the holidays, we launched her line of classic clutches. I asked Bridget to share her journey to launching a luxury vegan fashion line, and while I was at it, I got some winter-to-spring style tips.

Here’s a little about conscious fashion from the style-setter herself. Meet Bridget.

“I came up with the concept of Filbert vegan fashion after moving to a vegan lifestyle 5 years ago immediately (literally the next day!) after watching the documentary “Vegucated”. The movie opened my eyes to the cruelty behind factory farming and the horrific conditions that animals live in and the abuse they are subjected to. I became vegan for compassionate reasons: my diet didn’t match with my beliefs that animals should be loved, not eaten. I found the dietary change was much easier than the fashion aspect of trying to find luxe, beautifully crafted, made in the USA handbags. After my husband and business partner Nick pointed out that I was constantly searching for the perfect handbag with my long list of requirements, we decided to try and create one ourselves.We spent the last 2 years sourcing the fabric (vegan leather, cotton canvas, a luxe microsuede), the hardware (solid brass, made in Connecticut), the lining (organic cotton grown in Texas), and finding a domestic factory to produce the goods. We think that ethical and luxury shouldn’t be mutually exclusive of each other and than things can always be made better. We launched Filbert in March of 2017 with a curated 4-piece collection of luxe cruelty-free bags available for sale at www.shopfilbert.com. Ultimately we want to bring awareness of why using cruelty-free fabrics is a kinder option!We set out to create a line of handbags that are not only cruelty-free, but also made domestically and mindfully…meaning, we want to know every component that goes into making the bags and where it’s from. We were shocked to find the sneaky ways that animal products or by-products made their way into most handbags, such as glue! I also believe that we’re different from other vegan companies because our products are made in small-batch and are curated. So we don’t carry a ton of inventory and a ton of styles. Just a handful of classic, well-made styles.There’s an age-old perception that leather = luxury. It’s odd that we associate dead animal skin with luxury, isn’t it? I think there’s a newer, better way to look at luxury. Luxury to me is knowing that my products are made in a factory with good, safe conditions and where the workers are treated well and paid fairly. Luxury to me is knowing that a product was made without causing harm or suffering to anyone…human or animal.

 

Filbert’s guide to the perfect pieces to transition from winter to spring.

  • A pair of chic vegan Bhava Studio “Lena” lace up booties are on my Spring shopping list. They’re made in an ethical factory by artisans in Spain from luxe cruelty-free materials. The soft latte color is the perfect neutral to transition from Winter to Spring!
  • I’d pair with my favorite GOTS-certified organic cotton socks from Pact in a cute stripe.
  • Sweaters are one of the most challenging items for a vegan because most are made from wool, angora or cashmere. I love this lightweight sweater-like top (from local Bay Area company Amour Vert) for moving into Spring, and the bonus is that it’s made in the USA from Modal, a sustainably harvested beechwood in a carbon neutral process.
  • I adore the vegan leather watches from UK based Votch. The founder started the company after realizing her decades-old leather watch band needed to be replaced and she couldn’t find a cruelty-free alternative.
  • Our Filbert Stanyan bag in Camel is our everyday throw-and-go tote bag. Made from a vegan suede and machine washable, it’s crafted in small batches in our Portland Oregon factory.
  • Top it off with a (cruelty-free) glossy lip. My current fave is Gressa’s Lip Boost in Bare.

 

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