This Is The Swim You'll Want To Be Wearing All Summer

I came across Vitamin A swim when I was browsing for the perfect non-fussy bikini that was simple, stylish, but most importantly, sustainable. I kept hearing about Vitamin A, a company that similarly believes sustainability can be sexy. They too, felt strongly that bathing suits should be effortless and that they shouldn’t harm the environment. It seems crazy to wear a bathing suit in the ocean that would add to the destruction of it, so Vitamin A ensures the suits they create leave a positive impact on this Earth. They’ve become a favorite swimwear brand of mine that openly share their sustainable practices with all of their customers and followers, not to mention the swimsuits fit beautifully. I had the pleasure of chatting with Enya, a member of the Vitamin A tribe, on all the ins and outs of this company so you too can see what goes into making this sexy, sustainable swimwear! Enjoy!

1. How do you think you tapped into markets beyond the sustainable world? How do you maintain the “cool” factor while being eco-friendly?  

We believe that sustainability and style really go hand in hand! Our eco-conscious production practices are part of what make Vitamin A sexy and cool. This is the essence of the Vitamin A brand, and something that doesn’t change for us. 

 We were one of the first brands nearly 20 years ago, to come up with a new concept of sexy and bring about a new direction for color palettes. Prior to Vitamin A, we were only seeing bright colors - fuchsia, purple, turquoise, jade, and black - in the swim industry. Neutral palettes didn’t exist yet, so Vitamin A was one of the first to really introduce a softer and more simple aesthetic.  So later, when we integrated the sustainability aspect into Vitamin A, it was another platform, but the aesthetic was already there - it became another point of association for our customers and others in the swim industry! 

2. What criteria does the company have for choosing factories to work with?

All Vitamin A bikinis and bodysuits are produced locally in California, which dramatically reduces our emissions for transporting and delivering raw materials! And by keeping the vast majority of our work local, we’re able to closely monitor any of the processes we can’t do ourselves to ensure our sustainable standards are being met. We're able to take the time to get to know the people who make our goods, and we’re proud knowing that our manufacturing team maintains a high standard of ethics and environmental responsibility.

For some of our products that cannot be made here in California, we partner globally with fair trade artisans to produce our materials ethically, meaning Vitamin A production outside of the US is providing women with fair-wage jobs in safe working conditions! We also visit their factories and remain in constant contact with our partners to ensure that they are meeting our same high standards.

3. What can we do as consumers to prolong the life of our swimwear and is Vitamin A working on a way to close the loop on waste after use?

Our first fabric was actually created out of industry waste! Vitamin A’s EcoLux fabrication was the first in our industry and the model for all of our sustainable fabrics. So we‘re constantly working to close the loop on waste – this means keeping that waste out of landfills and recycling it within the industry, innovating with plant-based fabrics, and also looking for ways to recycle worn garments (we’re not quite there yet, but trust us, we’re working on it!).

Prolonging swimwear:

Wear More, Wash Less
When cared for properly, Vitamin A swimwear will last for years. We recommend a gentle, low-impact approach. Unfortunately, when you wash anything made from synthetics (even if its recycled) it sheds microfibers that can be pollutants if they wind up in the ocean. Here are some environmentally-conscious tips on how to care for your swimwear:

Swim Cycle
Rinse in cold water to shed fewer microfibers. We love hand washing with Bikinis Over Everything, an eco-friendly bikini cleanser. 

Use an all-natural biodegradable soap, such as Dr. Bronners, to spot-clean only necessary areas (it’s much better for your bikini and the environment than chemical-packed detergents or bleach).

Slip your bikini into an eco-friendly bag (like GUPPYFRIEND) designed to keep any loose microfibers from entering the water in your washing machine. It keeps our ocean water clean and will help your suit receive more delicate care.

Make sure to cold rinse your swimsuit after each wear, even if you don’t go in the water.

Stay Dry
Skip the dryer (and the green house gas emissions) and hang dry your bikinis. Avoid direct sunlight and lay your suits flat in a cool, dry place for a drying method that requires zero energy. 

Take Turns
We know you have a favorite bikini, but the key to making it last longer is to wait until it’s completely dry to wear it again. If you’re planning to spend a few days in a row dressed in a bikini (lucky!) plan on bringing a couple different suits to wear.

4. In your opinion, what is the most unsustainable part of the fashion industry? What is Vitamin A doing to combat this? What about ethically?

The least sustainable part of the fashion industry is the pure fact that it’s based on petroleum products, which are materials derived from fossil fuels. At Vitamin A, we’re working on utilizing plant-based swim fibers to create our designs, while also shifting all of our beachwear to biodegradable products, recycled cotton, organic cotton, tinsel, linen, and silks.

5. For someone new to the sustainable world, what are some key small steps they can look out for when shopping to ensure they’re investing in a good company?

Consumers should look out for certain environmental endorsements, partnerships, or support of certifiable organizations that will indicate if any certain company is dedicated to eco-causes. For example, Vitamin A is a member of 1% - meaning we pledge to donate one percent of our annual sales to environmental non-profits. 

 We should also be sure to read our labels! Keep an eye out for where products are being made and what kind of materials are being used. Swimwear that’s made domestically will have less of a carbon footprint.

6. What are the next steps for Vitamin A?  How do you see yourselves evolving in the next five to ten years?    

We recently launched our newest BioRib fabric this season, which is made from organic plant-based fibers – meaning there’s zero impact on the food chain, 20% less CO2 emissions, and lower water consumption! We’re currently working on expanding on this concept with more biodegradable fabrics and continuing to innovate with new sustainable options. We’re also excited to be launching exclusive product collaborations with some of favorite retailers with the concept of “sustainability is sexy", to further share our mission with other brands in the industry! 

Our Third Calm Before the Storm!

Fashion week is an incredible time in our industry to show off your best looks, book your most exciting shows, head to the coolest parties and essentially skip all ideas of sleep. It’s what keeps our industry alive, fun an innovative but naturally with such pressure it’s hard to stay afloat. Collectively, my friend Dani and I have been modeling for over twenty years and believe us when we say we have first-hand experience of how difficult this time of the year can be, especially as a new model. That’s why we created our pre-fashion week event; Calm Before the Storm.


We want to create a community of models to lean on when the going gets tough so you can have a friend to wait at a casting with or to relax over a bottle of wine post shows. For us, what gets us through this industry and has enabled us to continue to model is how we’ve built each other up when we’re down and surrounded ourselves with likeminded girlbosses who inspire us to build side hustles and know how to brand our best selves. Because nowadays, it’s so much more than being a pretty face and we want to create a positive community, for the young new faces especially, to celebrate our friendships, accomplishments and to know we can stick together!

It’s been a beautiful evolution throughout the past year and was especially exciting to see even more new faces this time around. We’re so happy to have this event grow and it means a lot for us to have the support as well. In addition to our models, we love building up our community and showcasing our friends who are doing incredible side projects/hustles/jobs/foundations, you name it!! Our model hosts, Sinead Bovell from WAYE talks and Grace Mahary from Project Tsehigh opened up the evening with a beautiful talk on how they build their side hustles, how they found balance between that and modeling and how incredibly important it is to be active in your community and with your friends. Because as Grace mentioned, when you’re on your death bed you won’t remember what you made for this job or that show but you’ll remember all the incredible faces you met and experiences you created together. Amen!

Afterwards, our attendees got to check out the “vendors” (our amazing girlboss/guybosses who have super cool companies they run or work for). We love profiling them and showing off what they’re up to, from health coaches to trainers and eco-friendly laundromat enthusiasts. The idea is that we try to relate it to fashion week with healthy recipes for castings, best workouts for small hotel rooms or what to do if your flight gets delayed.

We also had AMAZING gift bags this year from the most amount of sponsors to date…Without this community, we wouldn't have been able to throw together such a fun night! Check out the sponsors and vendors below and scroll down for all our pictures.


Sponsors:

Sustainability was a big topic at our event today. Check out one of our favorite clothing brand’s Aday! From materials used to new-tech innovations that eliminate textile waste, this company is ahead of the curve in terms of sustainability and is a company Dani and I are both proud to say we have shot with! Tag your ADAY pics with @thisisaday, #thisisaday and enjoy $20 off your next order with their coupon.

Those beautiful oils and face masques you received are from Amberlight Beauty, a company started by Dominyka Gajauskaite. Dominyka ensures the best materials go into all of her products from rose to open your heart to chamomile for calming your senses. Find out more at @amberlightbeauty.

Our very own model mafia member Anastasija Titko gave us pamphlets on an organization that’s near and dear to her heart, The Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences. The foundation offers yoga and meditation programs and are always happy to host new members. A nice way to keep calm before fashion week. Check them out!

Those awesome flower pouches with the mineral eye shadows were given to us by Boho Chic Cosmetics. They are all about clean, fun beauty that is made in small batches, vegan and cruelty-free!

The CUTEST toothbrush packages were provided to you all from BOKA. They’re a mindful oral care company that stresses the importance of working with our bodies, not against them. See all their fun pics and share yours @boka!

Did we not have the coolest hosts and event space?? We have Celsious to thank for that! This eco-friendly laundromat in Williamsburg gives you the low-down on how to wash your clothes in the ‘cleanest’ (pun intended) way, all whilst being better for the environment. They also have a café you can hang out at while you wait for your load to finish, and honestly even though Dani and I both have laundry in our buildings we’ve come for a hang out at this space because it is simply so cute and so well-done! Congrats to the founders Theresa and Corinna on such a successful space!

EcoEnclose provides sustainable solutions for packaging and sent us all those beautiful recycled paper bags for your goodie bags! (Britt uses them for all her ODM/ODC shipping!) and they’re incredibly easy to work with. Check out their Instagram @ecoenclose.

For Days provided us with those awesome pouches with gift cards inside to use for their zero-waste shop that closes the loop on fashion waste. Pick a tee, wear it endlessly, return when done and you’ll receive a fresh new tee while they recycle and reuse your old one! Fashion waste problem solved!

You know that face spa Dani and I are always posting from?? That’s Glo Spa and they graciously donated us coupons for 20% off your next facial! They’re located in the financial district. Enjoy;)

Our favorite kombucha drinks were provided by Health Ade! We’re absolutely addicted! If you are too, check out more information or share your pics @healthade.

Herbivore Botanicals provided us with one of our favorite face products, their popular rose hibiscus hydrating face mist. Dani and I both love spraying our face with this product every morning to wake up and it’s the perfect thing to keep your skin hydrated on a long flight. Their products are made in U.S.A. and never tested on animals!

High Brew donated all those incredible cans of coffee that are protein-packed and will be perfect to sip on between all your crazy castings and shows. This should help keep your energy up!

INTO app helped us so much by promoting the event on their app. We were able to reach out to even more models which is what this event is all about, building our model community! For model-events and products to use that are often free or heavily discounted, check out their app which you can download here.

Jaw x Jawshop by Tim Jaw has always been one of our biggest supporters! His awesome line of locally made basics and fun socks and scrunchies, an ode to the 80s, are the perfect thing you need for brunch on the weekend with your crew. 

Joya Studio has given us awesome roll-on samples of their fragrances to keep you smelling fresh and clean during the fashion week season. Their ingredients are simple, locally-sourced and to top it off they have sustainable packaging which we’re such big fans of! They’re a personal favorite of mine to use while traveling!

Lighthouse BK is one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Brooklyn and gave us those awesome bites for us to eat at our event. They are on their way to being completely zero-waste and they don’t let that sacrifice on taste or presentation. They employ a number of organizations in their community from composting to cork recycling and the Billion Oyster Project where they donate all their used oyster shells each week.

Magic Mix Juicery offered us samples of their aloe shots. Super tasty, good for digestion, and anti-inflammatory! Have them on their own or pop them into a smoothie or glass of water. You can find those aloe shots and many more treats at their location in Financial District!

You got some awesome samples and drinks made at the event by Mr. Maks Ginbao Tea! I can personally attest to the fact that this alkalized beverage with ingredients like ginger, ginseng, honey and lemongrass are the perfect combination to thirst your quench and help calm your stomach if you have a little ache. Enjoy warm or cold. And no, there aren’t crazy amounts of added sugars to worry about. We’re huge fans!

Parcelle Wine is a curated wine shop and the first retail concept from Delicious Hospitality Group, the team behind NYC restaurants Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records. Parcelle’s offerings reflect the best of the wine programs for which DHG’s restaurants are known. Hopefully their wine helped you relax as you headed into your fashion week shenanigans!

RYU is an incredible clothing line created for the urban athlete that moves with you. They stand for respect, and they are #BeautifulTough. Check them out @ryu_apparel and enjoy your new, sleek water bottles!

Seaweed Bath Co. provided us with awesome goodies form their detox cream and scrub to their fabulous serums. They’re one of our favorite skin/body/haircare products that are clean for the environment, nutrient-rich and performance-optimized. All seaweed in their products are sourced and certified organic from the coast of Maine!

The ladies of Shiffon Co. donated one special ring to the winner of our raffle (congrats Kaye-Li!!!). The founders are two badass entrepreneurial babes who balance finishing their degree at their Ivy league schools and managing this business. Michelle Obama, Christy Turlington and Serena Williams have been seen wearing their famous pinky promise rings that support women entrepreneurs with the sale of each ring.

Silk Philosophy gave us each a silk accessory to spice up each of our black on black fashion week uniforms. The silk accessories sell primarily as bracelets, but they could be worn as mini scarves/chokers, hair ribbons, or handbag charms. All silk bracelets are made of high quality silks in limited quantities and the patterns never repeat. 

Simply Suzette has graciously provided you all with a coupon for her site that sells eco-friendly and ethical jean brands. Denim is one of the dirtiest industries out there so this is her way of trying to help promote the companies doing it right! And I’m telling you they’re my personal favorite pair of jeans I own. And I don’t have to feel guilty about wearing them because I know they’re made with integrity and better for the environment than the traditional jean.

We got the perfect fashion week treat for your all from Snow Monkey! Now you can enjoy your fashion week cravings without the guilt attached. All Snow Monkey ice creams are plant-based, paleo, and high protein!

Tulerie gifted us with those awesome reusable straws!! Make sure and sign up for their clothes-sharing app, especially useful during your fashion week antics!! ;)

Here’s some takeaway info about the lovely vendors we had set up around the room.

Vendors:

Daniel Gottlieb was there to help us with all our sore, achy muscles. Dan is a brand ambassador for RYU and Hyperice, He has weekly workouts at Bandier's Studio B that are great for relaxing your muscles and stretching you out! We all need more of that! Check out his Instagram to learn more and DM his for more info on his classes!

Dawn Gallagher  was there to share her story about using your voice in this industry and how powerful it is to share your story. What an incredible example for all of us! She’s been there, she’s done that and she’s here to pave the way for us as change makers in this industry! She also is passionate about Drawdown, an event that is all about sustainable green living and teaching us all we need to know about drawing down carbon in our atmosphere, something incredibly important as we head into fashion week, often with a lot of travel and flying.

Dominyka Gajauskaite started her own skin care line as a result of being sick of the unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Stay in the know about all her products @amberlightbeauty! In addition to all her incredible samples that she gives us for each and every event, Dominyka was especially helpful in organizing this event for us. From new sponsorships to organization in general, Dominyka was a HUGE help for this event and we’re especially helpful for all she has done for us.

Grace Mahary was our top model speaker who couldn’t have given us better advice. Remember, it’s all about the experiences you make and the relationships you form, not about the superficial things in life! In addition to killing it as one of Canada’s top models, Grace started her very own foundation, Project Tsehigh which provides clean energy to impoverished communities around the world.

Our favorite relaxing facials were provided to you by Face Love! They made our event that much more special and have been collaborating with us on events for the past three years, something we’re so thankful for! Check them out in at their new flagship in the Flatiron. Dani and I will be there next week;)

Jonathan Glass from Mr. Maks was our awesome bartender for the night, creating mixed drinks using their Ginbao Teas. Healthy, low sugar, and super settling for the stomach with calming ingredients like ginger and lemon.

KW Travel  was our awesome travel agent who answered all your questions about flying, how to attain status, some awesome trip itinerary ideas for you and your girlfriends and so much more. I’m personally someone who loves to create my own itineraries but after seeing the attention to detail, I handed over all my honeymoon plans and will be working with Katherine for our upcoming trip to Italy.

You heard all about the Model Mafia from one of our members, Kaye-Li Taylor. It is our incredible social impact and activism focused group and together we take collective action and share causes we care about with each other. The group marched in the DC Climate March demanding a cleaner fashion industry and world, raised $12,000 for the Standing Rock community, and has been tackling sexual harassment in the fashion industry. If you would like are to join, please send an email and agency link to modelmafialistoversight@gmail.com and follow the tribe @modelactivist.

Shivani Persad and Samantha Bolger have their very own podcast, More Than Model Radio where they interview models about what they’re passionate about beyond modeling! If you want a chance to be interviewed, hit them up on Instagram! Listen HERE for previous episodes.

Sinead Bovell of WAYE was our incredible host this evening who interviewed Grace Mahary on how she’s balanced modeling with her side business, Project Tsehigh. For inspiration on how to create your own business and brand, check our Sinead’s side hustle, WAYE (weekly advice for the young entrepreneur) and make sure to come to one of her upcoming WAYE talks. I can’t say more than they’re on of the few events that I actually look forward to attending. She’s inspiring and a complete go-getter and will give you all the inside knowledge on tech, business and the future. Check her out!

Tulerie  was in attendance, one of the coolest new platforms of digital “shopping”. I without a doubt think this will be the way of the future; a concept that lets you lend and borrow from your friends without braking your bank or contributing to the fabric waste created by fast fashion and consumerism. And if you do want to shop, invest in that piece that will last you a lifetime and put it on the app so you can make some money off your purchase from your friends who want to borrow the piece as well! We’re all about a brand that works on closing the loop on waste.

Our event photos were taken by Ryan J. Ulsh. He’s been a dear friend to Dani and I and we’ve also collaborated a ton on test shoots together. I’ll often organize shoots with him and my agents have used A TON of our shots, many of them still in my book to this day. Follow his photography adventures on J. Ryan Ulsh or Jryanulsh.Studio

Your Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us which means spending time with family, cozying up to some hot apple cider by the fire, ice skating until your cheeks go red and Elf on in the background. While it is a time of a lot of joy and happiness, it can bring on stress with the pressure of getting the right gift. As we get older, material gifts seem more of a nuisance than a pleasure, however we love the feeling of sharing with others things we know they need and things you know they’d love. Here is the our edit of the official ODM/ODC gift guide… from cozy sweaters to experience getaways and reusable cutlery, we’ve got everyone on your list covered and you can ensure everything we recommend is timeless and ethical. And if you're going to skip the presents this year (good idea!), we've got a little something to recommend for the person who seems to have everything too!

For your parents

The Cocktail Experience Gift

The perfect gift for your best friend

Darling Magazine Subscription

Someone who loves adventure

Patagonia Backpack

Someone Always On The Go

Joseph Joseph Travel Cutlery Set

Someone fashion forward

A Used Stella McCartney Purse

For the Homebody

West Elm Artisanal Throw

For the Conscious Traveler

Samsonite Eco-Glide

For the man in your life

The Cashmere Crew

A Little Something Extra For Your Mum

Soko Jewelry

For the hygge obsessed

Cedar Scented Candle

For you and your partner

Responsible Travel

Your bosses will love you

WINC Eco-Friendly Wine Club

For the person who has everything

A Donation in Someone’s Name

A Sustainable Sunday

Too much stuff!

That's how my friends and I felt about the amount of clothes we own. Our New York closets were always bursting at the seams and we felt it was time for a little spring cleaning.

We realized, especially having careers in fashion, that we easily get caught up in the amount of stuff we're made to think we have to have. At one point in time, New York closets were made for the few outfits you had, the type you would mend if anything needed repairing and would last you a lifetime. Buying clothing (or even buying the fabric to make your own clothes) was an investment that took a long time to save up for.  However, as we modernized, our perceptions of the amount of clothing we had to have drastically changed. Fast-fashion, when companies sell as much as they can for as cheap as they can, was introduced and the average amount of clothing people owned exploded. The small-sized closets that were once sufficient for many people to share are now the biggest draw back of finding an apartment in New York; is there ever enough closet space? 

When I read Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" I began to realize the importance of loving absolutely everything you owned. When I looked at my closet I didn't see things that brought me joy, instead I saw an overwhelming amount of clothes that were bought on a whim, clothes that were bought because they were on sale and clothes that were bought because they were in style. The few things I had that brought me absolute happiness were things that made me feel good when I wore them, something a $5 shirt with no story attached could provide. 

With Marie Kondo's book as my new inspiration, I began going through my closet with the changing of each season and re-assessing what I had and what could get more love from another home. This year, instead of a solo spring clean I decided to pitch to my friends a sustainable Sunday where we could go through each of our closets and choose things we wanted to swap and things that would be put in a pile for donations. We decided to start at my place with coffees. What followed was thought-provoking conversations of sustainability in fashion, a good amount of laughs and a huge pile of clothes we no longer loved (or unfortunately never really loved) that we hoped would find more use in another home. 

I realized a lot of the things that were getting swapped out of my closet were bright colors that didn't match much else and had only been worn once at most, some things still had tags on them. Having that extra set of eyes helped when deciding if something would stay or go; if there was any hesitation and I had to ask Dani and Zoe if I should let something go, it had to go. What was left was a closet that could breath, things that provided me with absolute joy and most of which all matched. Success!

After my place we visited Dani's apartment in Bushwick. Another fun part of this afternoon was that we got to walk through neighborhoods we didn't usually frequent. Dani had some amazing staples, some fun things that she loved and continued to bring her joy and after trying on some pieces she was unsure of we added to the pile of donations. Zoe got a nice new crop top she felt she could give a bit more love to and we continued on to her place after.

After our walk to Zoe's apartment in Williamsburg, and some much needed refreshers, we sifted through Zoe's closet and added to our growing pile. What amazed us was how much stuff we had and how little use a lot of these items got. 

A key takeaway we all learned was the importance of differentiating between needs and wants. We so often get caught up with idea that because something is on sale we must buy it or that because something is in style we have to have it, whether we really love it or not (guilty!).  There is incredible power in removing yourself  from the instant gratification of a shopping experience and thinking about the thing you are about to purchase as something you will actually love and wear for many years  or another item you'll be bagging up for donations the following season. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed with a daunting closet and the urge is always present to buy more, try and avoid mindless shopping altogether. If you need something, do some research into sustainable companies that are transparent with their practices and how they make and sell their clothing. Invest in items you truly love and need and they will be worth the extra money, especially given how long these items will last compared to any fast-fashion version. Second-hand shopping is also an amazing option to find hidden gems that add a bit of pizzaz to your closet of stylish basics. These items definitely have a story to tell and it's fun thinking about the life they've lived. 

For a curated selection  of stylish staples made sustainably, check out our SHOP section.  You can trust that we've done the research. The looks we recommend are wardrobe staples that will have a long life and have come from a company whose values align with those of ours at ODMODC.

I hope someone else can find love and joy in the bag of items the three of us put together. The three of us are now much more cognizant of the amount of waste we were aimlessly collecting and are going to be much more thoughtful about our investments with our clothing in the future. 

 

A successful sustainable Sunday with the ladies!

Here are a few of the easiest ways to donate clothes in NYC:

  • Beacons Closet
    • They pay 35% cash or 55% store credit of the price tags that they apply to your items
    • All items not selected for resale can be donated to charity as a service to our customers
    • The items that are collected are sold as not-profit items and the money is donated to a host of selected charities found here
  • Reformation
    • When you buy something from Reformation online, they’ll include a free RefRecycling shipping label in your box. You can put that label on the box your stuff came in (or any other box), fill it up with whatever you want to recycle, have the box picked up at your door, and theyll 'do the rest.
    • You can even track where your clothes ended up!
  • Greenmarket Clothing Collection
    • Textiles are collected by Wearable Collections and taken to a sorting facility where they are sorted into different grades, with an effort to recover as much usable clothing as possible for distribution to second-hand markets.  Material that is not suitable for reuse will go to recycling markets to be used as wiping rags or shredded for low grade fiber products such as insulation.
    • Check out grownyc.org for a list of all the places you can drop off your clothing in NYC
  • Salvation Army
    • At Salvation Army you can donate furniture, automobiles, household goods and appliances in addition to clothing
    • Everything you donate will be sold at their Family Stores and the proceeds are used to fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers.
    • Salvation Army accepts drop-off donations or will even pick your stuff up for free!

How to Make Every Day Earth Day!

What an incredible past month we’ve had in taking strides towards becoming more transparent and cognizant with sustainability and our environment. I’ve become more inspired than I knew was possible with events ranging from discussion panels at Fashion Revolution week to the People’s Climate March in Washington, and of course, Earth Day [which I celebrated a few weeks ago with SoRipe]. In light of this important month, I thought I’d share a bit of information on Earth day, some takeaway points and how you can make simple changes to contribute to the movement.

Earth Day was formed in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin as a way to spread awareness nationally about the environment. He was inspired by the anti-war movement and saw Earth Day as a way to teach others about air and water pollution, which was especially important after a massive oil spill that occurred in Santa Barbara in 1969. [1]

In just one year Earth Day was so popular that it led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency which subsequently led to the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. By 1990, Earth Day had become a global event. 

Present day, there are unfortunately still many people refuting the idea of climate change; well-funded oil lobbyists, the disinterested public and our newly appointed President Donald Trump. The sense of urgency to spread awareness and fight for a clean environment is still strong and perhaps it’s even more crucial as our President shares his negative views of climate change, especially as he looks to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement.  Fortunately, there are still over a billion people celebrating Earth Day each year and who continue to make it their mission to do good for our planet. [2] 

Mia Yamaguchi, coordinator at the CoolClimate Network at University of California, Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, brings up a good point about the importance of an individual’s impact on climate change in an article on Life Science. We have the power to significantly improve and manage our own environmental impacts by making small changes; taking mass transit instead of driving, recycling, and ditching the plastic utensils are a few that first come to mind. With other things like foreign relations, or national debt, it takes a lot more political involvement to make a small change with a lot less participation from the individual. [3] 

Having lived in New York for the past five years, I have become extremely aware of my carbon footprint and how I can make a change. From the amount of taxis I was taking to castings to the waste as a result of the fashion industry I work in, I began to realize that I was a lot more part of the problem than I thought I was and have made small adjustments in the way I live to ensure I’m a bigger part of the solution. 

On that note, for Earth Day this year I teamed up with SoRipe, an organic health food catering company to go to New Hampshire for a retreat where all 25 of us would get out of the city and surround ourselves with nature. My friend and fellow model Dani Seitz helped organize the event with activities ranging from a hike up Mount Sunapee to candlelit yoga to an organic spa night. We not only wanted this retreat to be a celebration of our Earth but to also raise awareness about the impact we all have on the environment. 

The hike we did on Earth Day, April 22, proved to be the medication we all needed, whether we knew it or not. It didn’t matter how hungry we were, how tired we were, or if our broken toe was hurting or not (sorry Doc, the hike was definitely not flat and I definitely made it worse than it was) but it was worth every minute of the four-five hours we were there. Everyone couldn’t get over how full of life they felt taking in the fresh air as we made our way to the misty mountain top. 

In addition to our hike, we reached out to a few environmentally conscious companies to provide some samples to test out and use. These companies take environmental protection to heart and are fully transparent with all of their practices.

Health-Ade Kombucha
Health-Ade ensures high-quality and good taste for their fermented teas, also known as kombucha. Everything is certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, raw, vegan, and kosher. They look to inspire people to look good and feel good; something that they believe comes from having a healthy gut. 

Herbivore Botanicals
Herbivore values safe, non-toxic products that are good for you and made with natural ingredients from our environment. Every ingredient they use are there for a specific therapeutic reason with no fillers of any kind used. They’re not tested on animals and are made with an emphasis on high quality food-grade ingredients. Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put on it into our bloodstream. Herbivore ensures everything you use is just as good as the organic food you feed yourself. 

Justin’s
Justin’s is a nut butter company that values innovation and corporate consciousness. Integrity and transparency with their staff and consumers is of up-most importance to Justin’s every step of the way. They take care of the earth by sourcing local, high-quality ingredients, simplifying the supply chain and by mitigating their environmental impact. 

Keap Candles
Keap was created to provide consumers with a middle ground; a candle that was neither full of harsh chemicals nor overly priced. In addition to making candles that are better for our health and our pockets, Keap started as a Public Benefit Corporation to provide better access of affordable, sustainable living to people outside of the electrical grid. They’ve partnered with SolarAid to provide solar light to communities in need through their Buy a Candle, Light a Home program. 

Prana
Prana considers every type of person when they make their clothes with sustainability, style and versatility always to heart. They go out of their way to ensure every part of their supply chain is sustainable from the materials they use to the suppliers and factories they work with. The doers, makers and shakers that wear their clothes not only value style and design but are also environmental enthusiasts that need their clothes to last more than a few washes. 

 

It’s important for us to remain conscious of our habits whether it’s Earth Day or not. We have made significant victories since Earth Day’s began 47 years ago [6], and should continue holding ourselves and our policy makers accountable to our environmental footprint so we can continue with victories. 

While I consider myself a feminist, an organic food advocate and a democratic health care proponent, none of that matters in comparison if we’re living on an unstable planet where communities are forced to migrate because of climate change or if the health of certain neighborhoods are compromised because of their geographic location. Our planet cannot sustain life if we continue to ignore the signs it’s sending us of how unsustainably we’re living. I don’t want my grandkids to ask me why we had the resources (and common sense) to protect our planet and why we chose to ignore them. 

Here are some small steps you can take towards living more sustainably. You shouldn’t feel the pressure to change every way in which you live but as Yamaguchi of CoolClimate stated, we as individuals can make crucial, positive impacts on our climate in small ways and all of that starts with self-awareness.  

1.    Donate
•    If you don’t have the time to get as political as you’d like, invest in companies that are doing the work and research for you! 
•    Project Tsehigh is a nonprofit that provides renewable energy sources to impoverished communities around the world.
•    Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. 
•    EarthJustice is the legal backbone helping back organizations big and small that protect our environment.

2.    Go for a hike
•    Explore the outdoors and enjoy what mother nature has to offer you. It’s a natural remedy that will calm your nerves and lower your stress levels. It’s a great workout and an awesome way to bond with friends and loved ones.

3.    Use mass transit (or better yet, walk or bike!)    
•    Public transportation dramatically reduces vehicle emissions and pollutants that create smog. 
•    Transport accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions just from the U.S. Public transportation will help significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile. [7]

4.    Air dry your clothes
•    In most households, the dryer is the third-most energy-hungry appliance, after the fridge and washer. If we air dry, we have the potential to lower our average household carbon footprint by 2,400 pounds per year. [8]
•    Dryers account for almost six percent of a household’s annual electricity consumption. You can dramatically reduce your spending if you decide to switch to air drying. [9]

5.    Stop using plastic water bottles, straws and utensils. Use reusable water bottles and carry reusable utensils with you. 
•    Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. 
•    Enough plastic that is thrown away each year is enough to circle the earth four times. 
•    Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles per year. 
•    It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade. [10]
•    Need a reusable water bottle? Find ours HERE!

6.    Become a conscious consumer. Buy less, buy better!
•    The pattern of consumption has changed so dramatically; we now purchase 400% more than we used to only 20 years ago. [13]
•    Especially in fashion, we’re taught to buy into seasonal, trendy clothes that often only last a few wears, if that, before they’re tossed into landfills.
•    The average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste each year which end up in landfills, often taking over 200 years to degrade [13]
•    Buy less, buy better; invest in fashion that will last many wears, won’t go out of trend and are made by companies that value an ethical and sustainable production chain. [14]

7.    Educate yourself
•    There are a ton of amazing books, documentaries, and bloggers out there taking charge to raise awareness on climate change and environmental harm. If you’re looking to learn more, start small by educating yourself. 
•    EcoCult, Sustaining Life and Huffington Post Reclaim are all great resources to get in the know.

8.    Get political
•    I myself never considered myself a political person until I realized the importance of each individual to speak up and get involved
•    By voting, donating, or going on a march, you can add to the masses and stick up for change. The fact that we live in a democratic society is so important and often overlooked. We have this incredible privilege to be political so don’t let it go to waste!

9.    Lower your red meat intake
•    In the U.S. red meat, especially beef, accounts for a lot of resources that cause a lot of waste and global warming emissions. [15]
•    Animals require an enormous amount of water to grow crops for the animals to eat. A single cow will drink up to 50 gallons of water per day. 
•    It takes almost 20 times less land to feed someone on a vegan-style diet. [16]
•    Red meat specifically causes 10-40 times as many greenhouse gasses as vegetables or grains. [17]
•    If you’re a red meat fanatic, simply consider lowering your intake or making sure the meat you have is from organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. Small steps can create a huge change for the better! For the better of our environment and for the betterment of your health! [17]