Bust-Waist-Hip: Weighty Issues for the Fashion Industry


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Summer Rayne writes about fashion's "skinny debate," her personal story, other models' struggles, and the inertia and progress on the global front.

See what she initially wrote about it on the News Blog in November 2006

same model, different year. From glamour.com.

Summer Rayne Oakes and Lucire Magazine launch an updated version of Behind the Label, the eco-conscious editorial that was released in September 2005. The editorial will still feature the sustainable style brands in Summer's closet, but will include a feature article that connects the fashion to popular global or societal topics in support of the magazine's new direction. In the February/March issue, Oakes addresses a woman's inner beauty and the power of seduction. Behind the Label will also be accompanied by a page of ethical and eco-conscious products + ideas associated with the theme of the editorial.

Lucire Magazine has print distribution throughout New Zealand, Australia and Romania. It is available via subscription through many other countries. Lucire and Behind the Label are syndicated through the Persuader blog and found online at behindthelabel.net and lucire.com.

Behind the Label (behind-the-scenes):

Soul's Retreat to California


I took a little getaway to California, which provided a lot of "firsts" for me. I stopped at a local hot spring in Ukiah and later found myself sweaty-palmed in a VW hugging tight switchbacks down towards California's Redwoods. It is there where I happened upon Montgomery Woods, which is one of the most remote old growth forests in California. The trees were massive and it was my first time that I set foot into the West Coast's old growth forests. The ecosystem was beyond breathtaking. It is the scene where children's fairy tales and prehistoric musings are borne.

After my day hike in Montogomery, I took the road back down to San Francisco only to catch a next-day flight to Los Angeles. I hubbed from there to Joshua Tree. A photographer notified me to keep a lookout for the acres of windmills on the road to the park. I dozed off for much of the trip, only to be awakened just in time to see the windmills reveal their graceful and magnificent stilt-like frames over the horizon. Pretty soon they surrounded the car on all sides and I snapped a few quick photos with my cell phone cam.
Joshua Tree was grand. The alienesque landscape provided a stellar background for our shoot. I cannot take credit for the first photo below. I absconded it from the web and give Ovidiu Predescu credit. (I took the two less impressive photos below with my handy cell phone). To really experience Joshua Tree, however, you must go. If I were brave enough, perhaps I'd try scaling the rocks like so many of the rock climbers that passed through the area. I'm sure they have the dual pleasure of the finest views and adrenaline highs the park has to offer.

Joshua Trees are a member of the yucca family. The name Joshua tree was given by a band of Mormons who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky.

By far one of the coolest experiences was my drive in the all-electric Tango Car. President Rick Woodbury brought it down and Norman (the photographer) and I took it for a spin [and at way too high of speeds for my blood]. I would like to confirm to everyone that it does indeed go from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds. More importantly, however, its a great zero-emission, all electric vehicle.

I took a shot of Ranger Don Roberts and friend next to the car. And yes, everyone thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Back in San Francisco, I headed to a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit I was made aware by through a few friends. It's goal is to bring 30 million bicycles to Africa by 2010 ($109 per bike factored in around a 2.8 billion dollar cost to implement). Since diseases, such as AIDS, have ravaged the African nations, bicycles allow more native volunteers to tend to the sick and distribute medicine, as well as give people ways to build more efficient businesses. WBR gives a 2-year "work to ride" contract for Africans - giving them a bike so that they can help lift themselves and their families out of extreme poverty. President F.K. Day spoke in the private gathering. Highly support this non-profit.

Biking in Zambia with World Bicycle Relief (above) and the Critical Mass Ride which happens every [last] Friday of every month in San Francisco - here again, shot with my handy cell phone (below). Quite a spectacle to see and participate in!

While in San Francisco, much needed trips to the Farmer's Market, Amoeba Records and then a grand finale at the Commonwealth Club. On February 22nd, the Commonwealth Club hosted its 19th annual Distinguished Citizens Awards at the Fairmont Hotel. The focus of the awards was on sustainable energy production.

It was a way-to-long but very stimulating night of practical and progressive thinking on the future of sustainable energy. Award recipients and participants in the panel included: The Energy Foundation, a San Francisco partnership of six foundations involved in research and production; Timothy Draper, founder of a $30 million fund that invests in clean energy technology; Denis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day and director of the Bullitt Foundation, which funds environmentally friendly projects in the Pacific Northwest; Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission; and Daniel M. Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley. Arthur Rosenfeld, a California Energy Commission commissioner who led a Nobel Prize-winning group in particle physics at UC Berkeley, recieved the club's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ed Begley was there too, giving a bit more star-power to the mix. Denis Hayes, however, was by far the most entertaining of the mix. Peter Darbee, the Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation had some very progressive views on how to pressure our government towards energy efficiency...Draper blathered way too much about the Tesla.

snapped some fuzzy friends at the Commonwealth Club

A Sleepwalking Land's Awakening*


We've posted here a couple times regarding Allan Schwarz's operation in Mozambique, including my April 2006 feature article for Lucire Magazine's Behind the Label. Allan runs multiple operations on the ground in Mozambique to combat deforestation and extreme poverty in the local communities. His signature products are beyond supreme: he and his team create handcrafted wooden jewelry, furniture, kitchenware and other products from sustainably-harvested wood as an alternative to burning trees for charcoal. Schwarz also maintains tree inventories and replanting plans to maintain forest integrity.

This time we're looking to hire an Operations Manager who wants to get their hands dirty in Mozambique to help us on the ground with the "Songololo Project."
The job is based in the Cabo Delgado province of northern Mozambique and offers an alternative to destructive forest practices by developing local knowledge and skills around sustainable tree harvesting and value addition. This is obviously for adventurous spirits who have intense passion in this area. If you are curious about the position, we can discuss in more detail.

* Title in reference to Mia Couto's acclaimed book on Mozambique, A Sleepwalking Land.

members of the Kanimambo Cooperative

I had the good pleasure of interviewing leading SRI consultant, Thomas Van Dyck for Grist Magazine.

In the interview, Van Dyck (RBC Dain Rauscher) discusses climate change and clean energy technologies; the controversial investments of the Gates Foundation; and how we can create change through socially-responsible investing (SRI) and shareholder action. I hope I was able to capture at least part of his strength of vision and boundless energy for environmental and social justice issues.

Read the full interview here.

Behind-the-Scenes of Lucire's April/May "Behind the Label"


Aveda "Purefessional," Dennis unleashes the tresses. Dennis flew in from Houston, TX for NY Fashion Week and worked with me on the April/May issue of "Behind the Label" prior to heading back home.

Aveda only did 11 shows this year because so many designers chose to use fur in their Fall 2007 collections. There was a push from the socio-eco fringe movement, however, as seen in the SANS Collection, Linda Loudermilk, Edun and even Calvin Klein. We'll be seeing more push across the ocean over at London Fashion Week with Wildlife Works, Noir, Manish Arora and the Esethica market.

Fresh updated look from make-up extraordinare, Lottie,
who was also the sweetie who took all the images.

Wearing bright green shoes was a requirement on this "green" shoot. From left to right: Jon (photographer); Branden (assistant); Dennis (hairstylist). Seriously, it wasn't planned.

One of the final looks....coming in April/May!

If you missed the 2006: Green Trends in Review on Sirius Satellite Radio + what to expect in 2007, click HERE to listen to the mp3s.

Summer Rayne Oakes talks to host Josh Dorfman about the latest trends in sustainable style and her new initiatives (Segment 1-2), while David Bergman recaps the area of sustainable architecture.

2006 Green Trends in Review.

The China Blues: What your $20 pair of jeans really gets you


Li Ping (14) and Jasmine (16) put clothespins on their eyes to stay awake.

A few days ago, I headed to the Anthology in NYC to see indie documentary, "China Blue." Director Micha X. Peled goes behind-the-scenes in this poignant documentary highlighting the lives of three young girls as they work up to 20 hours a day in the Lifeng Factory in Shaxi, otherwise known as, "China's Famous Clothing Town." Jasmine (girl on right), a 16 year-old threadcutter, is the main focus of the documentary. To cope with the monotony and daily drudgery, Jasmine intermittently takes the viewers on a creative escape with her imaginative stories of a girl samuri. The tales are innocent and childlike, which really brings the viewers to a realization of how young these girls really are.

This was an unbelievable film. China Blue gives you a chilling view of the injustices that happen in the apparel market - and shows us that we cannot promote "sustainability" and "eco-consciousness" without consideration of fair labor.

I highly, highly recommend this film, and I truly look forward to promoting Micha's work.

Summer Rayne Oakes

Find out more about labor abuses in China here.