The bags are named after baby elephants, so the line must be good. Morgan Bogle, co-founder of Freedom of Animals, has dedicated her life to create accessories that are not only totally chic but environmentally responsible. Bogle’s dedication to her beliefs means that all of her pieces are both EPA approved and made in the USA. Not only are all of the bags sustainable and local, Bogle has recently announced that 5% of all sales will now be going to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya to care the elephants she names her pieces after. I got to talk to her about freebies, ice cream and roller coasters, oh, and her line.
What inspired you to make a sustainable and cruelty-free luxury bag line?
I was inspired to launch a sustainable and cruelty-free luxury bag line after years of being in the fashion world and feeling creatively motivated yet burdened by the lack of ethical options on the market. I launched the brand to fill what I felt was--and still do feel--a void in the market. I was also raised a vegetarian and have been volunteering with animal sanctuaries and pet rescue programs for years now, so it felt like the right move to make. My love for animals married my love for fashion and creativity.
How much research went into making sure everything was sustainable? How much were you involved in the research process?
I researched for a year before launching and am still researching every week! It isn't easy to find materials that are as strict as our guidelines are but we do not compromise in our ethical and sustainable decisions so the research is all apart of the process. I am and have been involved in the research from the very beginning 100%. It's the most important piece of our company and once it passes our sustainability codes we have to make sure it is durable and will take to a bag shape. So there are a number of tests our materials go through to make the cut!
Can you pick one of your favorite designs and tell me why you love it?
My favorite design is the Melia Lia and our new bag Sharky. I love them both because they feel classic and sophisticated but unique in little features that make them stand out. The Melia Lia is a classic box bag but the chain runs through two strap holders on the top and has a different feel than most box bags. By removing the strap it can be worn as a clutch with a chain handle, which I love.
The Sharky is pretty amazing too because it is classic at first glance but it is shaped like a triangle and is super unique! All our names come from either orphaned elephants (to pay tribute to them), dear friends that have contributed to our company, or (in the case of Sharky) representations of a cause we support.
Your partner built roller coasters. Please speak to that, because it is awesome.
Ha! He IS awesome. Scott studied mechanical engineering in California and his first job once out of college was with a company that relocated him to Taiwan where he helped build roller coasters. He worked with them for almost a year and then became an art director at a surfboard company in Southern California. He is now a fashion photographer in NYC and co-founder of our bag line.
How do you deal with people who ask for freebies?
We actually donate a lot to charities that we feel are working with great causes (Cancer charities, school food programs, animal charities) and are appropriately aligned with our mission. We are a small company so it's just not possible to gift too many bags at this point. When it comes to personal gifting we stick our PR or sales girls on them!
What is your favorite Ice Cream?
Van Leeuwen vegan chocolate or banana walnut.
Where in the world would you live if you didn't live where you live now and why?
It's between two places. An animal sanctuary on a giant piece of land in southern California or an animal sanctuary in Nicaragua. So I can work with and help animals!
Red Bull or Coffee?
Definitely not Red Bull! I like coffee but LOVE coconut milk with E3 live algae in it.
I'd like to live in the future. I would be totally happy to be cryogenically frozen for the next 60 years and wake up to flying cars, Jetsons dresses, and tote bags that display video art, and all that.
Oh, wait. We already have totes that display video art? This is already a THING? So, I'm living in the future?
THANK GOD, FINALLY.
The Sydney Rogers SYRO Tote brings fashion and technology that much closer together. I think we can all admit that fashion and tech have been stretching to reach each other, but aren't quite there yet. Google Glass? Keep up the strong work. But really keep it up. Don't stop. You're kind of not major, yet.
The SYRO Tote, on the other hand, is cute! How it's cute: it's a small portable art piece displaying a custom iPad app through an ipad sized hole on the front of the tote. When the iPad app is opened, it displays your choice of 4 looped videos. The jellyfish is my favorite. But, as you can see in the video, you can change to whichever video you like according to your mood. I have a ton of moods so that makes everything tres difficile, but instead of changing bags according to my moods, I can just change apps! The great news is a tote with apps is more eco-friendly and sustainable than your regular one type of use tote: what was once one item, can now function as five different items. This really is the future.