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Lucky Magazine Hosts FABB: Fashion And Beauty Blog Conference Presented By P&G Beauty & Grooming
Theo Wargo  /  WireImage for Lucky Magazine, FE
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
TODAY
updated 9/7/2012 8:57:07 AM ET 2012-09-07T12:57:07

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.”

A few of Lauren’s favorite do-good companies include TOMS (she counts founder Blake Mycoskie as a “good friend”), which sells canvas shoes and simultaneously gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need; Falling Whistles, selling whistes in support of child soldiers in the Congo; and Krochet Kids, employing women in Africa and Latin America to handknit cute and colorful caps. “It’s such a growing field compared to when we started (in 2005),” Lauren said.

Norman Jean Roy  /  VOGUE
Lauren Bush Lauren and David Lauren posed for this formal wedding portrait for Vogue a month after their Sept. 2011 nuptials.

Lauren, who married into fashion royalty (she wed David Lauren, the son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren last year, an event covered by nearly every style outlet) is kept grounded and humbled by her rigorous travel schedule, which takes the New Yorker all over the world to scout and manage her organization’s projects.

One experience especially stands out: In 2009, she visited a remote village in Rwanda, where a group of uniform-clad children gathered around her. There was one “precocious girl” who kept trailing after Lauren, who stopped to ask her young fan what she wanted to be when she grows up.

“I was thinking the answer would be a teacher or seamstress or a hairdresser or some other figure present in her life,” Lauren recounts.  “But she said 'I want to be the president of Rwanda.' That meant a lot to me. The fact that this little girl was getting an education, primarily because of this free meal, and because of that has very big ambitions for her life, was really touching.”

While not all of us will accomplish what Lauren has managed in the last few years, the activist hopes her work can inspire everyone — no matter their occupation or location — to get involved.

“It can be something as simple as making it a point to volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food panty, or whatever company you're at — trying to get them to be more involved in giving back in some way, whether its on a local or global scale,” she said, adding “there’s so much to be done.”

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Video: FEED raises awareness about global nutrition

Photos: Celebs at the Fashion Week tents

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  1. Celebs at the Fashion Week tents

    Which stars put style first? Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and many more celebrities took in Fashion’s Night Out and sat front row at Spring/Summer 2013 New York Fashion Week.

    Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Olivia Munn, Marisa Tomei, Camilla Belle, Katharine McPhee and Nina Arianda attend the Micharl Kors Spring 2013 show.

    (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Julianne Moore

    Actress Julianne Moore attends the Reed Krakoff Spring 2013 fashion show. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West

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  4. Sarah Hyland

    "Modern Family" actress Sarah Hyland attends the Marchesa Spring 2013 fashion show. (Chelsea Lauren / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Edie Falco, Sami Gayle, Christian Serratos, India de Beaufort, Abigail Breslin

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  6. Kate Gosselin

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  7. Katie Holmes, Jeanne Yang

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  8. Adrien Brody

    Actor Adrien Brody attends the Diesel Black Gold Runway Show during the Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Sept. 11, 2012 in New York City. (Angela Weiss / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Edward Norton

    Actor Edward Norton (center) attends the Osklen Spring 2013 fashion show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cyndi Lauper

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  11. Lauren Conrad, Madisen Beaty

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  12. Kirsten Dunst

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  13. Adam Lambert

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  14. Kevin Jonas, Danielle Deleasa

    Danielle Deleasa and musician Kevin Jonas attend the Badgley Mischka Runway Show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Lisa Rinna

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  16. Elisabeth Moss

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  17. Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb

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  18. Susan Sarandon

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  19. Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola

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  20. Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne

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  21. Ricky Martin

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  22. Ashley Greene, Rachael Taylor

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  23. Mark Ruffalo

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  24. Avril Lavigne

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  25. Lauren Conrad, Mandy Moore

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  30. Mariska Hargitay, Louise Roe

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  33. Jared Leto

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  34. Paula Abdul, Jay Manuel

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  35. Martha Stewart

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  36. Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Kirstie Alley, Nick Hissom, Abigail Spencer

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  37. Paris and Nicky Hilton

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  38. Victoria Beckham

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  40. Alicia Keys

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  41. Kate Bosworth, Michael Polish

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  42. Cheryl Tiegs, Daisy Fuentes

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  43. Michael Stipe

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  44. Katherine McPhee, Sami Gayle

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  45. Miss Piggy

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  47. Justin Theroux

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  49. Heidi Klum

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  50. Darren Criss, Anna Wintour

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  51. Whitney Port

    Designer and reality televesion star Whitney Port attends the BCBGMAXAZRIA Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 6. She is also showing a collection from her own line, Whitney Eve, at Fashion Week. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Nick Cannon

    Entertainer Nick Cannon attends the Richard Chai Spring 2013 show at New York Fashion Week. (Diane Bondareff / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Bryan Adams, Gabrielle Union

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  54. Carol Alt

    Model Carol Alt smiles at a Fashion's Night Out event hosted by Stuart Weitzman in New York City. (Vivien Killilea / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Kellan Lutz

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  56. Aziz Ansari

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  57. Jennifer Hudson

    Singer Jennifer Hudson poses at the QVC broadcast for Fashion' s Night Out. (Donald Traill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Aaron Carter

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  59. Alessandra Ambrosio

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  60. Nicole Richie

    Designer and reality television star Nicole Richie attends the Fashion's Night Out QVC broadcast. (Donald Traill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. Bethenny Frankel

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  62. Scott Disick

    "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" personality Scott Disick greets fans and promotes his restaurant RYU at Macy's Herald Square in New York City. (Taylor Hill / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Victoria Beckham

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  64. Miss USA Olivia Culpo

    Miss Usa Olivia Culpo attends the Supima Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. (Fernando Leon / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Kim Kardashian

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  66. Rachel Zoe

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  67. Daisy Fuentes, Tadashi Shoji

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  68. Josh Radnor, Julia Jones

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  69. Brad Richards, Kellan Lutz, Ryan Lochte

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