Mogli can’t—and does not want to be—saved from her curious spirit. Years after her hit Netflix travel documentary, Expedition Happiness, the singer-songwriter has allowed herself to take her need for exploration in a new direction. Leaving the quaint German countryside life—and an ex-boyfriend behind—Mogli has gone through a spiritual rebirth in the urban jungle that is Berlin. Now finally on her own, she’s begun to spread her fiery limbs into untouched territories of music, and fashion.
Scarred by the discrepancies that hinder the ethics of our modern fashion industry, the conscious singer took it upon herself to purge her lifestyle—and her wardrobe—of any remnants of its evils. It sparked her need to develop her own sustainable capsule clothing line with MADEKIND as a rebuttal to fashion’s downfalls, while staying elevated through a touch of bohemian minimalism.
With an EP—fittingly titled “Patience’—set to release March 22, plus a full-length album and her first North American tour all in the works for 2019, it’s clear that Mogli is nowhere near slowing down. The artist has already proven her chops as a multi-hyphenate powerhouse, but has so far only graced the surface of her true power and charisma. Below, we talk to Mogli about her latest ventures, her post-breakup transformation, and more.
How has your music evolved from the beginning of your career to now?
“My music has definitely evolved a lot. I wrote my last album on a trip I did. I converted an old American school bus into a tiny house and I drove all over North America in it. I wrote my whole last album on that trip, so it was very inspired by my surroundings. There is one song on it called “Alaska,” and I wrote it in the middle of nowhere far away from most civilization. When I came back, I wanted to do things differently because I was so inspired by the trip that I didn’t want to follow it up with more inspiration around that trip. I went from using my surroundings as inspiration, to a more introspective take on writing my songs. I’m just really trying to make myself as vulnerable as possible and really let out everything inside of me. The whole topic of the EP is change, or rather, transition, because my life has completely changed. I used to live in the countryside with my ex-boyfriend, but I split up with him and moved to Berlin. I’m on my own for the first time in the capital of Germany, and it’s such a completely different vibe. You can hear that transition in the music: the sound is definitely more urban, more electronic, and definitely more bold. I didn’t want to take a major step for my fans, I want to take them along with me throughout my journey. So, that’s why the theme of the EP is transition, and you can hear that from start to finish. It’s a bit of a lead-up to the album that will follow.”
Why did you decide to document your trip in the Netflix film, Expedition Happiness?
“It was a bold move to just jump from day-to-day life and do something crazy like that. I felt like people would be inspired by my trip, and I wanted to share everything I learned on my journey. It’s not the norm to pack up a school bus and ride around the country, so I thought people would be happy to see our journey. And when we edited the movie and showed it in the cinemas in Germany, we noticed that a lot of people were interested and felt connected to it, so we let it out on Netflix for the whole world to see.”
“…Being on my own made me love myself a lot more, because I had more time to be reflective of my own character.”
It’s so intriguing, because people are afraid to diverge from their conventional life. What drove you to go on the trip in the first place?
“I’m very curious with what we’re all able to do with our lives, and it was a way for me to do something new. It was a way to find something for inspiration, I really wanted to write music so I knew I needed a new environment to inspire me. I couldn’t do my day-to-day, I wanted to explore and see the Grand Canyon and Alaska. As a musician, it’s so beautiful that I can show my fans what visually inspired me to write a song. They get to see the visual landscape that sparked my songs, and they can also see what happened to me on the trip to see what points in my life lead to a certain song. It’s beautiful to get to see the visual side of it all.”
How did your perspective on self-love evolve, in and out of your trip?
“I think what happened after the trip really changed me. I’m more alone now; I used to have my family and a boyfriend around me, so I was never on my own. Loneliness was something I was afraid of, and I think a lot of people are afraid of it, too. What do you do with yourself when you’re literally on your own? But being on my own made me love myself a lot more, because I had more time to be reflective of my own character. Overcoming that fear made me really strong, because I believe that you will always be rewarded by the universe when you’re being bold. I was trying to conquer my own fears, and whenever that happens it makes me feel more powerful. I am able to live my life on my own, which is a really beautiful thing.”
Why is sustainable fashion so important to your lifestyle?
“The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, but people don’t really know about that. When we’re shopping, most of us don’t take into account the production of the clothes. We don’t really know about what goes on behind the scenes, we just buy what we buy because we think it’s nice. What it does to our planet is evil, because there are a lot of kids working on the clothes that we buy. Plus, there are so many chemicals in these clothes. The fashion industry, in a way, is destroying our world and I don’t think a lot of people are realizing that. So, I want to show the people who are following my life that it’s possible to be fashionable and sustainable. There are a lot of people who just point their fingers and say what’s wrong with the world, but my mission is to go in a more positive route. If I have really great outfits for the stage and during my day-to-day life, then I hope people get inspired to start shopping more sustainably and follow along. There are so many cool brands that produce sustainable fashion, and then you can also shop vintage. I also really like to express myself through clothes, it’s really important to me. I wanted to show people that you can be fashionable without harming the planet.”
How do you use fashion as a means of self-expression?
“I just really love clothes. It sounds so superficial, but I just really like acting as someone else every day if I want to. I just like getting up in the morning and picking things that make me feel good about myself. Clothing is actually an act of self love, if you think about it. I’m choosing things that make me feel comfortable, and I’m able to be a better person when I’m comfortable.”
How would you describe the aesthetic of your clothing line?
“Well, the most recent collection is a year old, so it’s very connected to my last album and my older songs. I try to connect everything under an umbrella of my entire life. I used a lot of linens and earthy colors to visually connect with the trip I did, and a landscape around travel and freedom. Very natural, I would say.”
Where do you think the fashion industry is thriving, and where does it need more work?
“I think the problem isn’t the industry itself, but rather the lack of awareness. The industry knows that they’re fucking up the world, but the problem is that people don’t know about it. No one would knowingly support the things the fashion industry does, but because they don’t know about it they feed into it. I think we should educate the public to create more awareness and create an open space to talk about the topic. But, we’re thriving in the fact that more sustainable brands are on the come-up, and even major fashion brands are coming around and making an effort to me more eco-conscious. Look at H&M; they’re very unsustainable but they created a conscious mind and starting dialogue by starting their recycling campaign. Once we as consumers act on these opportunities to be better, and push for the industry to be better, the brands will budge and change for the good of society. I think it’s totally possible to make cute clothes that don’t hurt the planet, or the people living on it.”
How about your beauty routine?
“I use only natural cosmetics, and I try to use only vegan skincare and cruelty-free products. I really like to use only natural ingredients, because I don’t want any chemicals on me. I don’t talk about beauty that much at the moment, but I will be soon. I’m planning on working with a natural skincare brand very soon, and I do want to talk about beauty more often. I think makeup is not needed, and I think an act of self love is also t be able to go out of the house without makeup. With that being said, I also really enjoy makeup because it’s similar to clothing. It’s so much fun to be able to look different on stage. I think it does go together with fashion, because it’s another vein you can use to express yourself, but on the other hand I feel like people should just be happy with their natural beauty.”
What are your go-to beauty products?
“I’m using a natural brand called Hej Organic. They’re German, and I’ve been using their whole line lately. They have a cleanser, a tonic, and a face cream. I use the whole routine every morning and night. I also really enjoy masks because it’s not just about the mask itself, but the self care behind it. You take time for yourself to do something good for you. I really like taking baths, and I know it’s not very sustainable because baths use so much water, but it’s so important for me to take one if I had a really long day. It’s so helpful for me to relax after some stress. Even if it’s not sustainable, I let myself do it for my emotional wellbeing. So, from time to time I let myself soak in the tub with a face mask, maybe put on some candles and read a good book. But in my day to day routine, I like to keep it simple. I’m not spending a lot of time on my beauty routine, I just wash my face and put some cream on.”
Who are a few of your inspirations?
“In the celebrity world, there are not that many people that I feel like are doing things right. But, Emma Watson started really early on with her advocacy in changing the fashion industry, and usually wear sustainable brands and outfits on red carpets. Some brands that I’m really into are Everlane and Reformation, they both have beautiful clothes. Florence Welch from ‘Florence + the Machine’ doesn’t necessarily shop from sustainable brands, but wears mainly vintage items which is cool because that’s the most sustainable way to do fashion. It’s always fun to dig through a vintage store and find something that no one else has.”
You’re also a vocal female empowerment advocate. Why is this topic so important to you?
“I grew up with two moms. I had a dad, but I mainly grew up with my two moms, and exploring my femininity was very natural. It wasn’t put on me to behave like a ‘woman,’ I grew up believing that I could achieve everything that a boy can. I think that had a really big part in my success throughout the years, and my persona on stage, because I never doubted myself. I think there are a lot of girls out there who don’t believe they can achieve as much as a boy can, which is why I talk about female empowerment so much. I’m trying to empower women and show them that I’m able to live my life in a bold way, and they can too. I’m always trying to be brave, and I think conquering fear is a general topic of mine because when I do it I feel like the universe rewards me. And if people watch me take risks, then maybe it will inspire them to take risks as well.”
“Women are overall so underestimated, and it makes us second guess ourselves. Every woman knows the feeling of being underestimated solely because of her gender, and I just want to show in a positive way that we need to change the perspective.”
What advice do you have for young women?
“Just take the time to think about who you are, and try to remember the moments when you were brave and appreciate them. Think about how those moments rewarded you, it’s so empowering to remember the next time you’re afraid. Don’t let fear take over, and always remember to choose love over fear. That’s such a motto of mine, because so many terrible things that happen in the world root from fear. Every war, every battle, every problem stemmed from someone being scared. Just choose love and bravery, you’ll always be rewarded for it. If you’re scared, it’s okay, just don’t act on your fear.”
Check out Mogli’s latest music video for her single “Another Life,” plus a few of our favorites from her clothing line, below.