Lauren Bush Lauren – beauty and bags fighting against hunger in African countries

Published as: Eco-friendly designer diaper bags: Lauren Bush Lauren's chic activism – The eco-conscious charity founder aims to help those in need — without sacrificing style

 

Lauren Bush

FEED founder Lauren Bush Lauren, shown at the Lucky magazine FABB conference on Sept. 5 in New York, is on a mission to combat world hunger by selling eco-friendly handbags; The FEED/DKNY diaper bag (right) is one of many designer collaborations.

By Rina Raphael

TODAY

Lauren Bush Lauren is far more than just a pretty face.


The eco-conscious designer and entrepreneur, 28, started off as a fashion model for big brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch, but left the camera lens in 2005 to launch FEED, which sells stylish organic cotton bags with proceeds benefiting education for hungry children in third world countries. As the daughter of businessman and philanthropist Neil Bush (and granddaughter of former president George H.W. Bush), the Princeton graduate has an impressive public service pedigree, but even she had reservations about branching out on her own to take on the daunting task of, well, ending world hunger.

“It’s really just taking that first step,” Lauren told TODAY.com at the Lucky FABB conference on Wednesday. “It can often be overwhelming because these issues are so big. That’s what inspired me to start FEED — I thought ‘gosh, world hunger is so massive’ yet when this bag is sold, we can feed one child in school for a full year.”

FEED sponsors children’s education and nutrition programs, ensuring kids in need are both educated and well fed — an incentive for them to stay in school. Currently, the charity’s products ($10-$220) — made with either environmentally-friendly or artisan-made materials — have provided over 60 million meals globally through the UN World Food Programme. It’s an accomplishment due in part to the brand’s determination to inform consumers of how they’re purchasing power can help save lives.

“Consumers know exactly where their money is going,” says Lauren.

Of course, Lauren’s background in fashion and beauty certainly lends something to the buzzed-about accessories. FEED has partnered with premiere brands such as Judith Lieber, Bergdorf Goodman, Clarins and even The GAP and Disney. Most recently, FEED launched a Fall 2012 capsule collection that includes, among other items, a chic black diaper bag — complete with a changing pad — designed in collaboration with DKNY. Featuring washed canvas and nylon, proceeds of the latest parenting tote pay for one year’s worth of vitamin-and mineral-rich micro-nutrient powder for moms in poor regions.

“It’s our first diaper bag — something our customers asked for,” Lauren said, adding that she’s seeing more and more brands offer functional, eco-friendly products that give back. “Obviously we’re producing products and participating in commerce, but it is commerce with a purpose.”

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