Nikki Reed: Sustainable. Ethical. Luxury. Actor, Musician, Activist, and Our Favorite Handbag Designer Creates Beauty with Recycled, Cruelty-Free Bags, Supporting Animals.

<br/ >Freedom of Animals

Inteview: Maranda Pleasant

Animals don’t have a voice, so I think it is our job to give them one. But what I find the most interesting about this conversation is how easy it is to forget that what we do to animals, we do to ourselves.

Maranda Pleasant: I’ve known you for a while now. You do so many amazing things. What are your passions? What drives you?

Nikki Reed: First of all, that’s very kind of you to say, so thank you. I have always been a very passionate person. Some people are born with this fire burning inside to “do,” or create, with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and experience, and I am no exception. If I ever find myself overwhelmed, it’s only because I am overwhelmed by how much more I want to learn. That is what drives me. My love for animals started before I can remember. I have a mother who allowed me to take in anything and everything that needed food, a bath, or a forever home, which resulted in a home that was always filled with warmth and love regardless of any other struggles we were presented with. That is why I am so passionate about Freedom of Animals, my bag line created by my partner Morgan Bogle. Together he and I have tried to find a way to marry fashion with a cruelty-free and pro-sustainability type of mentality, as all of our bags are made from post-consumer polyurethane from the ocean and landfills. It’s
all about creating options for people in a market where there aren’t very many.

MP: What is something that you’ve struggled with personally? How did you get through transforming it?

NR: I think we are all overcoming tiny obstacles every second of every day even if that means just a small shift in perspective. I think the greatest lesson I have just recently learned is how powerful the mind is, informing our decision making unknowingly. Once I realized that the only thing I can actually control in this life is my own mind, how I choose to react, feel, and perceive, I felt immediately liberated.

I think the best way to invite people into the conversation is to just create something beautiful out of love, and people naturally gravitate towards a new way of looking at fashion.

MP: Why do you do so much to help animals?

NR: Animals don’t have a voice, so I think it is our job to give them one. I think we learn some of the greatest lessons in life from animals, whether it’s love, suffering, or the value of silence. But what I find the most interesting about this conversation is how easy it is to forget that what we do to animals, we do to ourselves. So yes, it is about helping animals, but it’s a much larger conversation. What we do to animals directly impacts everything, because we are all connected. It disrupts the food chain, it funds terrorism (ivory), it changes our climate, our oceans, it starts wars. I think it’s time we take a step back and recognize that while we are hurting our animals, we are hurting each other, and we are hurting our planet.

MP: Tell me about your new projects and the challenges they bring.

NR: I’ve definitely recognized the challenges that come with trying to create a sustainable line with a strong cruelty-free message behind it. I partnered with Morgan in such an organic way, and we immediately decided to create a more concrete role for me within the company because it just made sense on so many levels. And because I have lived dairy/meat-free for so long, embracing the wonderful community of people in California who love to talk about new discoveries in the world of animal-free products, I was sort of oblivious to the fact that other challenges would present themselves once the company started to grow beyond what I was familiar with. So as the company expands, so does my knowledge of the fashion industry, and how destructive it is to our planet. What I have experienced on this journey is invaluable. Reusing and recycling our materials is the most important thing we can do. And despite the initial hesitation I sense from people when they first hear that the bags are cruelty-free/recycled plastic, there is an overwhelming sense of love and support that follows. It took me a second to remember that most people are guided by love or fear, whether it’s fear of something new or fear of the unknown. So rather than shoving it down anyone’s throat, I think the best way to invite people into the conversation is to just create something beautiful out of love, and people naturally gravitate towards a new way of looking at fashion.

What we do to animals directly impacts everything, because we are all connected. It disrupts the food chain, it funds terrorism (ivory), it changes our climate, our oceans, it starts wars. I think it’s time we take a step back and recognize that while we are hurting our animals, we are hurting each other, and we are hurting our planet. | @Iamnikkireed



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