Amber Valletta is more than your average supermodel-actress-environmentalist. In a bid to get people to “buy better,” the multihyphenate talent partnered with with Yooxygen to curate a collection of clothing and accessories from brands that are as innovative as they are environmentally responsible. “Master & Muse” includes sustainable jeans by Goodsociety, organic knits from M.Patmos, recycled-leather moto jackets from The Sway, handmade shoes from Guava, and zero-waste jumpsuits by Daniel Silverstein’s 100% NY label.
“I have discovered artisans, brands, and designers who are courageously pushing the envelope in how fashion is designed, sourced, constructed, and sold,” Valletta said when the site debuted. “I am thrilled to offer you these stylish clothes and accessories that are made responsibly and thoughtfully. Join me and together we’ll make it fashionable to buy better.”
Angela Lindvall proved her green cred in 2001 when she founded The Collage Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes environmental awareness and positive change. Five years later, she co-hosted Planet Green’s Alter Eco series with actor Adrian Grenier. Not long after, Lindvall became one of the founding board members of the “Clean by Design,” a Natural Resource Defense Council initiative to sustainably revolutionize the textile industry in China.
Coco Rocha certainly isn’t twiddling her thumbs between runway appearances and photo shoots. In 2012, the Canadian clotheshorse teamed up with Senhoa, a California-based nonprofit that supports victims of human trafficking, to develop a collection of seven jewelry pieces. Handcrafted by the same women Senhoa is seeking to rehabilitate and empower, the baubles contributed to their shelter, education, vocational training, and renewed sense of self-worth.
“Our slogan with the ‘Coco Rocha for Senhoa’ line is ‘accessorize your conscience’ because unlike many of the purchases you might make for yourself, you don’t need to feel guilty about this one,” Rocha said during the launch. “Once the older girls are paid for their time as jewelry-makers, all the profit goes to fund the food, medicine, shelter, and education of the younger ones. It’s a cycle of girls helping girls and I’m so proud to be a part of it all.”
The first supermodel of color, Somalia-born Iman is as much known for her statuesque figure as her charitable work. Besides serving as the ambassador-cum-spokeswoman for Keep a Child Alive and Save the Children, and the Children’s Defense Fund, Iman also works with the Enough Project to help end the global trade in “blood diamonds” and conflict minerals.
Lily Cole is a force of nature. She also carries out a multitude of roles with the greatest of ease, whether it’s designing a line of Amazonian wild-rubber jewelry, protesting the use of shark-liver oil in cosmetics, promoting cruelty-free skincare for The Body Shop, or spinning like a whirling dervish on behalf of climate change.
Cole is also a co-founder of The North Circular, an ethical knitwear company that makes garments from the wool of rescued Wensleydale sheep. Hand-crafted by a local network of knitters, the pieces boast the tagline: “Knitted by grannies, supported by supermodels.”
Josie Maran hung up her runway shoes when she founded Josie Maran Cosmetics, a line of eco-friendly cosmetics that offer “luxury with a conscience.” As the company’s CEO—that is, “chief eco officer”—Maran promotes the use of such sustainable ingredients as argan oil, which is grown and harvested responsibly by women in Morocco who receive a living wage.
“We partner with earth-loving, women-empowering organizations, use eco-friendly packaging, and we never stop striving to improve our products and our impact on the world,” notes Maran on her website.
Better known in her homeland of England, Laura Bailey is a model, writer, cultural ambassador for the British Fashion Council and contributing editor at British Vogue. A major player in London’s sustainable-fashion scene, Bailey has lent her name to Oxfam U.K. and the Fairtrade Foundation, designed a fair-trade jewelry collection for Made, and championed Greenpeace’s “Detox” campaign.
Despite appearing three times on the cover of Vogue, Liya Kebede has never forgotten her roots. To inspire economic independence in her homeland of Ethiopia, the supermodel-philanthropist—and former World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador—founded Lemlem, a collection of tunics, dresses, scarves, and bags that promote the centuries-old art of hand-weaving. (Fittingly, Lemlem is Amharic for “flourish” or “bloom.”)
Five years after its inception, Lemlem has gone from strength to strength, evolving from a children’s-only line to a lifestyle brand that spans womenswear and home accents
Miranda Kerr, who was until recently married to actor-environmentalist Orlando Bloom, isn’t just green by association. The former Victoria’s Secret angel is also the founder of Kora Organics, a line of skincare products that promotes a healthy mien sans synthetics.
“I grew up in a small country town in rural Australia, with a family which embraces and understands the importance of living close to the land and in balance with nature,” Kerr writes on her website. “For the last seven years, I’ve lived in some of the busiest cities in the world and have managed to maintain my organic lifestyle by purchasing certified-organic food, healthy cleaning products, growing my own herbs and by using the most natural and healthy skincare I could find. In the past I could not find a certified-organic skincare line that I was happy with, so by the end of 2007 I decided to create my own.”
One of the world’s most recognized faces, Gisele Bündchen champions environmental issues among her raft of causes. For her efforts to protect the Brazilian rainforest, she was named Harvard’s 2011 Global Environmental Citizen. That same year, Bündchen won “Greenest Celebrity” at the International Green Awards at the National History Museum of London.
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES
No list of eco-minded models would be complete without Summer Rayne Oakes, a multitasking superstar who wrote the book—literally!—on green living. In 2010, Oakes co-founded Source4Style, an online marketplace that makes it easy for designers to find, compare, and buy sustainable textiles from a network of global suppliers.
Oakes has also played designer on several occasions. In 2011, she collaborated with MODO Eyewear on a line of glasses made of at least 95 percent recycled materials. She also spearheaded Payless ShoeSource’s sustainable “Zoe & Zac” collection. More recently, Oakes produced an award-winning environmental art short, titled eXtinction, played muse to Toyota’s Prius C, and served on the board of of the Mezimbite Forest Centre in Mozambique.