Remember when “vegan fashion” used to be synonymous with the idea of anti-fashion and burlap sack-like garments? Good thing it’s 2017, when stylish shoppers enjoy a plethora of mindful brands to choose from. Enter Sausalito, Calif.-based label Filbert, a recently-launched accessories label offering luxe vegan carryalls at a wallet-friendly price.
Founded by designer Bridget Brown earlier this year, the PETA-approved line currently features four versatile silhouettes and hues that blend seamlessly with any wardrobe and occasion. Styles include the convertible Pixley crossbody-turned-clutch ($325) to the roomy-yet-organized Riley tote ($475) and more.
Here, we chat with Brown to learn more about what led her to create Filbert, what we can expect from the brand in the future, some of her favorite LA vegan restos, and more. Read on below, then shop the full collection here.
What were you doing before launching Filbert, and what led you to creating a vegan bag brand?
My husband Nick and I founded Bella Bridesmaid in 2000, [it’s a chain of] by-appointment boutiques offering a chic and modern selection of bridesmaid dresses. We grew to 43 stores across the U.S. and sold the company in 2012.
When we started brainstorming our next business venture, Nick was the one who noted that I was constantly struggling with trying to find a luxe vegan handbag in the $250 to $500 price range that was made in the U.S. and simple and minimalist in style. We loved the idea of seeing an idea fulfilled into an actual product and being a part of the process from sketch to prototype, and supporting local manufacturing. We feel that luxe and ethical don’t have to be mutually exclusive of each other, and that things can always be made better. So we started Filbert to see if we could create a vegan handbag that fit these ideals.
What’s the story behind the brand’s name?
We lived in two different apartments on Filbert Street in San Francisco, so it was always near and dear to us, but was surprised to learn that a Filbert is a hazelnut. Who knew?
Who or what inspired the designs?
I had an idea of the basic styles that I wanted in a curated collection of bags: an elevated hobo bag, the perfect functional tote, a crossbody bag that could convert to a clutch, and an open-top toss-it-in bag, whether it’s library books or your farmers market haul. I loved the idea of a neutral color palette: the perfect neutral beige, a true saddle brown, basic black.
We also want to bring awareness of why using vegan leather is a better way forward, and why it’s also the kinder option. So we were inspired to combine all of these elements together in one curated collection.
What can we expect from Filbert in the future?
We want to expand the cotton canvas collection into a few clean, functional styles in the $225 to $250 range, and also play around with mixing the canvas and vegan leather. And our rescue dog Presley has been begging for a chic vegan leather collar, so maybe luxe cruelty-free pet products?
What are some of your favorite vegan or cruelty-free places to shop and eat in Los Angeles?
Crossroads Kitchen (8284 Melrose Ave.) is probably my all-time favorite upscale vegan restaurant. Everything about dining here is such a special experience. We always have a night at Gracias Madre (8905 Melrose Ave.) in West Hollywood when we visit. It’s such a visually gorgeous space and has a great bar scene.
And I can’t wait to try Moby’s Little Pine (2870 Rowena Ave.) in Silver Lake!