Ethical Fashion Show Paris - Finale


Laughing it up at the Ethical Fashion Show Finale in Les Racines du Ciel. ph: Creceda

S4 Newsletter: Sustainability Trends in Fashion

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The "MOSO" Bamboo issue

Capricho, which means "whim" in Portugese, has done a nice interview-article on my work which I am very grateful for. It is sometimes difficult to get your work out to different national publications because of the language barrier. Writer Emiliano Urbim had approached my publicist a couple months ago and asked for an interview. Capricho is one of Brazil's leading teen magazines and is very progressive in nature. My work hasn't really been opened up to a teen audience, outside of my curriclum and some of my speeches, so I am thrilled that Emiliano has given me that opportunity.

The article, "A incrível história da garota que virou modelo para salvar o planeta, " ("An incredible history of a girl model that is saving the planet") is in Portugese, so if you are bilingual, you can view it here.


This year I had a wonderful opportunity to speak at a variety of different venues, including the Yale Sustainable Design conference, Cornell's Environmental Conservation class, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, F.I.T., Philadelphia's Sustainable Business Network, and a host of others. As I had told Jeff Mcintyre-Strasburg for the Treehugger interview, I love speaking to groups, particularly because you are able to feel the change as it is happening. It is that immediate response from the audience that I crave and it's that same response that I don't normally get from my more "passive" work. In that sense, it feels more "real" to me because you are very present in the moment.

Speaking is something that I am very comfortable with I think largely because my passion and my experience guide my words. I will be making my rounds on a speaker's circuit similar to last year, but I am adding more topics. A sample of my 2007 speech topics can be viewed below, with a description of the topics on my company website. I will be adding speech topics throughout the year, as my experiences and the market research that I am engaged in grows. Additionally, I have already booked a few venues for 2007, particularly around the month of April, so definitley feel free to contact my team if you are interested in having me speak.

Below is a short video that my editor uploaded to give a small taste of my talks, discussions and presentations that I have done this year. It is by no means a full look at what I do, (it's not that easy to always take a camera crew with me), but it is a short video for you to sample just so you have an idea.

  • A Bird's Eye View in Building the Better Brand
  • Blurring the Lines
  • Building on Better Design: An Inside Perspective with Summer Rayne
  • Clothing and Climate Change: Apparel Industry Questions for the 21st Century
  • ECOFASHION 101: a conscious curriculum with style
  • Fair and Balanced: Fashion's Playing Field
  • Google Me This: Mainstreaming Environmentalism Online
  • Green Consumers: What they buy and why
  • Greenfluentials: The Cultural Connoisseur and the Emerging Eco-luxury Market
  • How Shareholder Action Affects the Way the Apparel Industry is Run
  • When Sustainability Slips into Bed With Fashion
Click here for a greater description of topics and for booking information.

silk creations for the holidays from Mint and Nanette Lepore

eUCLID 8 Lingerie


eUCLID 8 lingerie, photo: C. Poole

October/November issue of Behind the Label featuring Bahar Shahpar's debut line, Agricult.

Last month I took on the role as Acting Editor for global fashion magazine, Lucire. I was honored when Jack, the publisher, asked me to take the reigns, at least for a little while, because Lucire represents an idea that I live out every day: we can use commonalities in cultures (i.e. the clothes that we wear) to:

1.) talk and connect with one another on a deeper level, and
2.) report and communicate greater issues, like socio-environmental concepts, to a broader audience.

I do realize that many people are not familiar with the magazine, particularly because it is not readily available in the States (90% of fashion magazines come from NYC). I would like to try to tackle that as I navigate through my everyday life, though that will take some work, no doubt.

new launch of Lucire website in progress

In the meantime, we are revamping the website so that we can communicate more effectively what we are reporting on in the magazine. In the meantime, it is available as
a print publication throughout New Zealand, Australia, Romania, and other nations via subscription...not a small feat for a print magazine that is just over 2 years old - and the first fashion magazine to go from web to print. Because we want it to go global, we are even proposing a no-risk liscensing fee to get it established in different parts of the world.

I always believed, since I
was profiled in the magazine in April 2005, that Lucire should be part of a greater movement. In 2003, when Lucire was still a website, it was named the first fashion industry partner of the United Nations Environment Programme. We were probably early with that accolade. The eco movement is still in its infancy, but it was imperative to lay the groundwork for a larger movement. Since the making of the magazine, we have devoted multiple pages to designers and causes that have connections with greater social and environmental movements. We will continue that reporting in a greater capacity. Each page will become more connected to the greater whole. Our reporters & photographers will ask themselves, "How is what I am writing/shooting adding greater value to the world while still keeping the readers interest?" - "How do these trends connect to our everyday lives and the world around us?" These are just some of the exciting challenges we have identified, and I think we are ready to embrace them.

Lucire for me has always been about community. It is about a global voice. It is about using fashion as a medium to connect cultures and people around the world. My idea, that people from all parts of the globe will be able to contribute their thoughts to the magazine freely, is being realized over the next few months. In this 9th Anniversary Issue alone, we have soulful fashion highlights from Pakistan to the U.S., New Zealand to Nigeria...but we want more of this. The website, prior to the magazine, was well traveled by many throughout the world. We want to build upon that in a big way, especially with the advent of all this consumer-powered content technology.

No doubt Lucire will be taking a new shape, but one that stays true to its initial mission. The team, which looks like a convening of the United Nations (because it is so global), is a blessing, but it undoubtedly gives me a challenge that other editors may not normally face. I pledge over this time to use my own knowledge to help the Lucire brand and vision thrive. I do suppose my role as Acting Editor is particularly fortuituous especially since over the last six months I have had the pleasure of helping consult and work on advertising and editorial platforms for over a half dozen well-known magazines. I plan to use the indirect knowledge that I have acquired from those clients and infuse them into my role. This, I know, will be both an exciting and arduous journey. <It's a good thing I like adventure travel!>.

My own editorial, "Behind the Label," will still be a part of the magazine, as it has been since September 2005, but I have put in some thought on how it will morph to better fit the overall structure. My latest BTL editorial, which follows the past format, can be viewed here, so please stay tuned to newer versions and more articles on my part. So if you are in the areas where Lucire is most accessible, I do hope you enjoy the new look and new additions. For those of you who may be visiting it for the first time or interested in subscribing or advertising, do not hesitate to contact the team. Because we believe strongly in our mission, we are even giving 20% off the regular advertising prices to companies that we rate as socially- and environmentally-responsible. We believe in your mission and we hope to convey that through our pages.

Greatest Regards,
Summer Rayne Oakes

New Century Thinking interview


Will from New Century Thinking did a quick interview on fashion's hidden impact. I was a bit nasaly and sick, so pardon the frog in my throat. View the interviews here.

I hate to even bring up this model's name because it is a shame to use her as an example of what is wrong with the fashion industry, but people really need to see the reality of the pressure the industry puts on many women. Twenty-one year old Brazilian model, Ana Carolina, suffered kidney failure after years of battling anorexia and bulimia. She weighed just 88 pounds, and functioned on a diet of apples and tomatoes. This marks the second death this year, the first being a 22-year old Uruguayan model who suffered heart failure on the catwalk after trying to survive on diet coke and lettuce leaves.

In the eighties and nineties, it was very common to see fit models, generally healthy size sixes and eights walk down the runway. Now the standard size hovers around size zeroes and twos. The pressure to be thin is REAL. Many women entering the industry are in their teens, have no supervision, very little self esteem, and/or face constant criticism on a daily basis. It is these same women that we often see in magazines and ad campaigns that are often revered by other impressionable young women. Industry professionals, advertisers, media, designers, agents, bookers, and models need to take more responsibilty and action in this area. We truly need to begin promoting healthy living and healthy image in every step of the way.

This September, Spanish officials banned models with a body mass index of less than 18. I applaud this move. Ana Carolina had a BMI of 13.4 at the time of her death, and weighed what a 5'0" twelve year old should weigh.
This is very sad and only wish that she had a chance to fight her illness.

Though this issue is not something I speak out about directly, I do hope that young women can take away a healthy lifestyle from my own work. If you do not take care of yourself and do not learn to embrace your body in a healthy manner, then you will not be able to live happily or create the change that you wish to impart on the earth. Beauty is not strictly about physical features. It is about inner confidence, peace with oneself, and a good heart. Don't compromise your health. It's not worth it.

Blood Diamonds: The Movie


In anticipation of The Blood Diamond movie, you can see our interpretation of "Blood Diamonds" on the Plastica Production shoot here. To view the movie trailer, visit the website. Leo and Djimon star in this movie premiering in theatres on December 8th. Some stills shots from the movie (below). I was also just informed that good friend and sustainable design guru, Allan Schwarz (from a.d. schwarz) met Djimon. Though the setting of the movie takes place in Sierra Leone, the filming occured outside of Maputo, Mozambique, a "hop, skip and a jump" from Allan's operation in Mozambique.

(Below) Photos from Mozambique at the a.d. schwarz headquarters. Photos provided by Allan Schwarz and friends.

The National Alpaca Conference and fashion event was held this November in Nevada. Though Reno is not my cup of tea, the event was admittedly a blast. I didn't have a lick of opportunity to do any of the workshops, but had a good opportunity to speak with farmers, designers, and the press.

The national alpaca fiber trade faces the same market challenges as the organic cotton market. There needs to be:

1.)more demand to justify a larger supply;

2.)contracts for the fiber signed in advance to guarantee purchases from farmers in order to ensure a sustainable industry

3.)more interaction through cooperative farms instead of individual suppliers

4.)more communication through the entire supply chain, especially with producers and manufacturers/designers.

5.) stronger marketing tactics that aren't so alpaca-centric and that reach into the mainstream or the nascent sustainable style industry.

The organic and sustainable cotton industries are doing a fine job in these departments. Between the Sustainable Cotton Project tours and Organic Exchange conferences, the sustainable cotton industry is budding. If the national alpaca movement, which produces some of the highest quality fiber in the world, can push into the mainstream in the same way, there will be a small, albeit strong market for the farmers involved.

here are some quick snapshots of the winning alpaca pieces created by students and some alpaca fiber stuffed animals. During my talk, I got to rock out People Tree's Peruvian alpaca knit dress. It is by far one of my favorite alpaca pieces, but can only be worn on special occassions. ;o)

Children's Hope India + Delhi Designer Manish Arora


I participated in the Children's Hope "Passport to India" Benefit at New York City's Chelsea Peir this past October. Over 700 people attended, raising $260,000 for impoverished children in India. CH is unique since it is entirely volunteer-driven. In the past 12 years, it has raised money for child medical care, fresh food and water, and access to education.

About the designer:
Manish Arora's designs are inspired by exotic cultures, but principally show the heavy influence of Indian design. Most of the fabric is handmade in India by local artisans. The fabrics range from raw silks, georgettes, Thai hand-woven silks, satins, knits, velvets, and faux fur in many-hued colours; combining different colors, textures, and embellishments is something Manish Arora is famous for. This was surprisingly a toned-down version of his usual highly theatrical shows.

Read more about the event here.

My Levis Eco Jeans Purchase #1


Thanks to Colleen and her cell phone, this is the first documented, albeit blurry photo of a Levi's Eco Jeans sighting from November 8th. I picked these up for 20% off at their Union Square store party for $54.00! Both women's and men's Eco Jeans should be available at all New York Levi's stores this week.

Summer Rayne Oakes Video Reels


Touring Sustainable Cotton Farms, San Joaquin Valley, CA


This October I went on my second sustainable cotton field trip with SCP. Here I'm giving a softness test to some of the organic cotton. Very nice...Very nice indeed.
Organic cotton farmer talks about his yield.
My favorite topic: integrated pest management techniques in BASIC and Organic cotton crops.
Cotton at the gin


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