Filbert vegan bags // Meet the Maker

Filbert is a high-end vegan bag & accessories label, who craft beautiful pieces from luxurious vegan suede and soft vegan leather. With a mindfully made approach, all bags are made to a high standard so they have a luxurious hand feel and look.

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I purchased Filbert’s Baker cross body bag a couple of years ago, when I was hunting for a bag that would cope with the daily demands of my life as an interior architect. (Meaning I needed a bag that was practical enough to sling over my shoulder when I’m climbing ladders, full of drawings & tape measures - but still beautiful enough to take to client meetings.)

It’s fair to say the Baker goes with me most days, as its simple elegance goes with pretty much any outfit.

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But there’s more to this brand than just good looks - so we asked Bridget Brown, Filbert’s founder, to explain a bit more about what Filbert is all about.



Who is the “we” in Filbert? 

My husband, Nick Brown, and I are the founders. Nick is a professional photographer as well!

What sparked your passion for ethical fashion? And how would you define ethical fashion? Do you think the very notion of what defines luxury is changing? (Or needs to change?)

I don’t think that ethical and luxury are mutually exclusive of each other, and that things can always be made better.

This is an underlying premise of Filbert…let’s make a clean, minimalist handbag that is free from branding and logos, that is cruelty-free and made in a factory where the workers are paid fair wages and work in good conditions.

I think that we are watching a big change unfold right now and people are starting to question why we consider leather and other animal based products (i.e. dead animal skins) luxurious. Just like with anything, change takes time.

But I think that people are now shifting their mindset to think about what really makes a luxury product. Is it the fact that it’s handcrafted by skilled artisans? Is it the thoughtfulness that went into sourcing all of the materials from local and/or eco sources? Is it the fact that the goods are produced in small batches, making it more special and unique?

I think these are things that we’re all going to start thinking about more closely as we become better conscious consumers.
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As the founder of a vegan luxe product brand, I assume you are vegan or vegetarian yourself? If so, can you tell us about your vegan journey? What was the spark - what and when did you decide to become vegan and how easy/difficult has it been?

I moved to a vegan lifestyle 6 and 1/2 years ago. I became vegan for compassionate reasons. My diet didn’t match with my beliefs that animals should be loved, not eaten. But then I found out all of the other positive things that come from a vegan diet: not contributing to factory farming and the suffering of animals, lowering your carbon footprint, the health benefits from consuming a plant-based diet. The list is long!
The spark was watching the documentary “Vegucated”. I moved to a vegan diet the next day. I found the dietary part to be fairly easy, but in all honesty, I know living in San Francisco has a lot to do with that! We have easy access to tons of amazing vegan food, local organic farms and grocery stores with dedicated vegan sections.

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Baker Bag

In Pebble vegan leather

What is your own background professionally? Is it linked to fashion, or something entirely unrelated? Have you always lived in San Francisco? 

I am originally from Mississippi where I attended undergrad at Mississippi University for Women and received a B.A in English and law school where I received a J.D. at Mississippi College School of Law. Upon graduation in 1998, I moved to San Francisco and not long after launched the company Bella Bridesmaid upon seeing a gap in the market for chic, modern and wearable bridesmaid dresses. I franchised the company in 2006, grew it to 43 stores across the U.S. and sold the company in 2012.

After taking some time off and spending a year in England and Europe traveling, Nick and I came up with the idea for Filbert, and launched in March 2017.

Who are your favourite vegan/ethical style icons?

I love that Emma Watson created an Instagram page dedicated to her ethical and sustainable fashion choices.

Leanne Mail-ly of Vaute Couture is a huge inspiration. She was way ahead of the game in the vegan-fashion realm.

Sruti of the blog Love and Blossoms is probably the most glam-chic vegan ever!

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If you could offer one piece of advice to people wanting to make more conscious decisions around their wardrobes, what would it be?

Ask questions and be curious. Find out where your products are made and what they are made from. I think you’ll be surprised to find that a lot of products are made in a way that does harm, whether to animals or humans.
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Lyon drawstring bag

In Indigo vegan suede

What are some of the most positive reactions you’ve got from strangers/people in the street/ interactions in general daily life when explaining what Filbert is all about? 

It’s a thrill when one of my sisters or friends tells me that someone approaches them on the street and asks where their bag is from, and then hear the reaction when they tell them it’s made from vegan leather!

I love it when someone asks “what is vegan leather”? It’s a great opportunity to explain why cruelty-free is the better, kinder way to live.
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henrietta WEArs:

Lyon Indigo drawstring vegan-suede handbag & Baker Pebble cross body bag by Filbert // cruelty-free, made ethically in Mexico.

Gold plated Honeycomb earrings with Amazonite by Mirabelle Jewellery // fair trade, hand made.

Blue linen jumpsuit & scarf by Not Perfect Linen // transparent, sustainable practices and ethical approach. Handsewn in-house with OEKO-TEX certified European linen.

Embroidered cotton skirt (no longer available) by Megan Park // Mary Jane vegan shoes from Vegan Style. (No longer available, similar here.)

All other clothing by R E M U S E // made in Melbourne, fusing artisan techniques, low-impact dye technology & natural, vegan fibres. GOTS certified organic materials, deconstructed and recycled fabrics.