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Footloose and fancy free

FORMER teen stars Hillary Duff, Emma Roberts, and Claire Danes have one more thing in common, apart from growing up under the Hollywood spotlight. They’ve all been seen wearing sandals from Freedom Moses (at least according to People magazine). Because the brand just arrived in Philippine shores last July, you too can snag a star-worthy pair, for the price of P2,495.

At a launch on Sept. 8 in Bonifacio Global City, Freedom Moses founder and Creative Director Sarah Gurt talked about the brand, which she founded in 2014 in Tel-Aviv, which she called her adopted home, through a pre-recorded video. She studied fashion design in Paris, and practiced her profession in Los Angeles and New York before moving to Israel. “My life completely changed from (fast)-paced Manhattan to the beachy relaxed vibes of Tel-Aviv,” she said. “The name ‘Moses’ came from a vision I had of Moses walking into the desert wearing colorful slides, leading people to freedom.”

According to her, the sandals (which resemble double-strapped Birkenstocks) are “ageless, genderless,” and vegan, “which is extremely important to me.”

The products are approved by animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Still, just because something does not contain animal-derived materials does not mean it’s completely safe for the environment.  The sandals are made from a plastic alternative, polycarbonate urethane, which according to Freedom Moses Assistant Brand Manager Luigi Wilwayco, has as its ingredients oil and rock salt. “It’s a greener option compared to your typical plastic PVC,” he explained. The sandals are completely recyclable (though the brand’s sandal recycling drives have not arrived to the Philippines yet). In the Philippines, they’ve settled with packaging the sandals a biodegradable material. “We ensure that it’s a sustainable process for the product,” said Mr. Wilwayco.

The brand is available in over 50 countries and has partnerships with brands and stores Shopbop, J.Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue, Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus. In the Philippines, the brand is distributed by Tykes Trading, Inc., which also distributes Melissa shoes.

The brand’s motto is “Just Chill,” and Ms. Gurt says, “What does chill mean to me? The art of feeling relaxed. I think it’s about not taking ourselves too seriously. It doesn’t matter how busy we are. We can always feel more relaxed when we feel comfortable.”

Freedom Moses has a store in Trinoma, and is available in select Shoe Salon and The Playground Store shops located in Shangri-La Plaza, Robinsons Magnolia, and Trinoma Mall. The brand is due to arrive in Rustan’s and an online store is up and running at — JL Garcia

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