I admit that I get most-to-all of my belongings at thrift stores. In fact, I’m proud of that. For me, it’s an extension of my worldview — a way for me to vote with my dollars, and not contribute more than is necessary to consumerism and wasting resources. Plus, thrifting is extremely fun, and over the years, I have gotten quite good at it!
But there are exceptions to my thrifty lifestyle. Every now and then, a company comes out whose values of sustainability, veganism, and fair-trade match my own. Admittedly, such companies are frequently outside of my budget — usually way outside. (Another perk of thrifting: it can be ridiculously inexpensive.) Still, I’m thrilled when an ethically-sourced, conscious and conscientious product hits the market. For those who have the means, supporting these companies not only puts your money into a forward-thinking, ethical company, but it also shows the non-vegan, unethical companies that there’s a strong market for the compassionate alternative. Every now and then, even I save my pennies and opt for a fabulous bag, shoes, or other item that I can feel good about owning.
Enter Freedom of Animals, a fabulously-named new company that creates bags that are “sustainably sourced and consciously made. Our products,” the site boasts, “comply with EPA guidelines. No harsh chemicals in any of our products and we are 100% cruelty free.”
Well snap. The lookbook for this new company has me getting out my piggy bank. This is one of those companies I was talking about, the kind you want to support. Just the name itself lets you know what drives Morgan Bogle, the fashionista behind the styles. Notably, Morgan is a lifelong vegan, with a penchant for rescuing pit bulls. I like this woman. Not only does she have style, but she has a huge gigantic heart, and she’s turning her passion into a way to change the world — one beautiful, stylish soul at a time.
Speaking of fashionistas, I was wildly impressed with the interview of Morgan by Dhani Mau of the popular blog Fashionista. Here’s my favorite part:
When and why did you decide you wanted to start your own line?
…I sort of realized that there was a void in the sustainable/faux leather fashion world, and so I developed a line in the past year that catered to that void, but also it was important to me to make an impact on a sustainable and conscious level, because I was raised a vegan and I grew up loving animals. In the past six years, I’ve rescued 10 pit bulls and I’ve volunteered at various wildlife organizations around the world, so it was important to me to do something that was not only eco, but also animal-free, ethical and conscious.
I imagine it would be difficult to find good animal-free materials…
It’s been so difficult. My first priority was to be vegan, and as soon as I found out that vegan material is so harmful for the planet it became this quest to find an alternative so it took me a year and finally I found recycled plastic faux leather that’s 40% biodegradable and it’s all dyed with vegetable-based dyes. Faux leather is generally plastic, so its like oil and the manufacturing of it is really harmful. But mine is all recycled and post-consumer plastic, so there are no chemicals used whatsoever to make it.
Morgan has received a ton of other press, too, and the animal rights reasons behind Freedom of Animals are always at the front and center of her talking points. This is what we at Our Hen House like to call “for-profit activism.”
I was recently having a discussion with a new activist who wanted to transition her career to center around animal rights in some capacity, but she wasn’t quite sure how. Based on everything she was saying, it became evident to both of us that what was really calling her was a vegan business, much like Morgan’s. This person has a background in business, and therefore had the know-how to navigate her way around that scene. She also seemed to be in contact with potential investors. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that she is on her way to doing well by doing good. If that sounds like you, what are you waiting for?
We all want to change the world for animals. As Our Hen House demonstrates, there are a multiplicity of ways to do that. For-profit activism is such a vital piece in finding our way to a new world. If companies like Freedom of Animals continue to pop up — which will happen if we consumers show that there’s a demand — then consumers will no doubt be influenced to buy in a way that is in harmony with their ethical beliefs. Nobody consciously wants to harm animals (well, almost nobody). Provide consumers with a viable option — with chic, gorgeous fashion and other goods — and they will take that alternative.