Calm Before the Storm

My good friend Dani and I have been in the modeling industry for six to 12 years respectively, and plan to stay in it as long as it will let us. While we’ve learned the tips and tricks to navigate our jobs with as much calmness as physically possible, it goes without saying that we’re in a tough industry that is both physically and emotionally draining. We’re constantly in a state of anxiety with our last minute schedules and every friend we seem to make will come and go from NYC as fast as the latest juice shop. For the friends that remain constant, we’re often competing for the same jobs… stressful to say the least. 

For Dani and I, we realized the way that we can calmly remain in such a hectic industry is by focussing our energy and downtime on side gigs and hobbies outside of the modeling world. For me, that was the inspiration behind starting this sustainable company, ODM/ODC. While I love my job and what I do, I was beginning to find it difficult to be in an industry that was not only competitive with my peers but also one that was quite wasteful. Rather than quitting, I thought I could continue modeling and using all the connections I’ve made the past six years to create something positive that would hopefully help create change, for me it was by starting a sustainable company. This will hopefully not only help me learn and grow but motivate those around me to do better. 

Dani has always had a passion about getting her community together to do fun activities. She recently launched Ladyballerzz, a community give-back initiative to get her peers together for a fun game of basketball. She was sick of paying at least $15 per for a workout all around the city and wanted to give her community a fun free workout that would get people moving and laughing off the stress of their day jobs. Ladyballerzz pairs up with The City Basketball which is a 501(C)(3) non profit youth organization serving New York City student-athletes. They believe basketball is a vehicle to keep the youth safe and off the streets and work on inspiring student-athletes to become well-rounded individuals by instilling patience, self discipline, hard work and commitment; something that goes hand in hand with Dani's mission. 

In starting our own companies, we realized a lot of our friends had cool side gigs going on as well! As we mentally prepared for the upcoming fashion week, we thought what better way to give back to our own community by having a night of pampering to help our friends and peers as they gear up for fashion week. We would break down all the negative barriers that are often attached with being in the fashion world, as well as celebrating all our close friends who had incredible projects of their own. For the younger models in attendance, we hoped this would be a night for them to relax and realize that having something on the side often helps to alleviate the stress and loneliness that comes along with our jobs. If modeling is their main thing at the moment, great! As long as there is love and passion behind what you do day to day, I think it makes it much easier to stay motivated and grounded in this city. And for when it gets a little too stressful, hopefully at our event they were able to meet a new friend who they can turn to for support. 

We started the event with a little chat about how Dani and I navigate this industry, what we do in our off time with ODM/ODC and Ladyballerzz as well as an introduction to both of our biggest inspirations in the modeling world, Toni Garrn. She shared with the girls how she’s been able to maintain such a successful career for so long all whilst creating her own give-back foundation, the Toni Garrn Foundation. Beyond modeling, one of Toni’s biggest passion is little kids and with her own foundation she works to create schools in Africa and spread the message that education is a right, not a privilege. It’s doing work like this on the side where Toni can use her success in the industry to spread this important message to all of her friends and following. As models, we are all incredibly blessed to have huge social media platforms for people to listen and look up to. Rather than abusing this power, Toni makes sure that all of her followers know the importance of education to little kids around the world, especially in Zimbabwe where she has helped build schools, separate laboratories and dormitories for all the kids she works with. Inspiring to say the least. 

We also wanted to make sure our community knew about all our other friend’s cool side projects they had, as this is what truly makes our New York community so special. Our vendors included:

Aine Campbell; Focuses on professional development outside of modeling. They connect you with mentors and resources around being an entrepreneur and also will connect you with other models who are on a similar journey. Events coming up with year: "What does a model resume look like?" and "How to build a website (in partnership with Squarespace)" and Models disrupting the fashion industry with tech."

Zoe Colivas of Zoe’s Table; Zoe realized the importance of balancing health and wellness on the go by creating easy recipes that are delicious and easy to take with you on your castings. She loves bringing her community together over a good meal and conversation.

Joe Holder; Joe is a top NYC trainer who values balancing health and wellness with mindfulness. His holistic approach to working out sets him apart from other trainers and his workouts are manageable and incredibly effective!!

Rebecca Casino; Rebecca talked to you all about eco-friendly beauty and the importance of tuning into your authentic self and taking time to care for your mind and body.

Face Love; What looked to be THE MOST relaxing facials where provided to you by Face Love. They made our event that much more special. 

Dominyka Gajauskaite of Amberlight Beauty; Dominyka 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. Her serums are our favorite...

Our guests were able to mingle and network with our vendors to figure out more about their products and companies. In addition to these vendors, we had a huge list of sponsors who were able to make our gift bags SO special. A big thank you to Ripe, ADAY, Amberlight Beauty, BOKA, The Bosco, Cat's Jewelry, EcoEnclose, Faubourg, Health Ade, Jaw x Jawshop, Kalumi, Rise, RYU, Schmidt's Deodorant ,Sub Rose, Redd Bar and Vermont Village

Check out the pictures from our event. It was a lovely way to celebrate each other and our community, meet new faces and have a new friend to turn to whenever living in New York or navigating the fashion industry gets a bit too tough. Stay tuned for more events in the future!

Your Sustainable Guide to Fashion Week

Living in a big fashion capital like New York, it can often be tough to stick to sustainable habits. However, once we're properly informed, avoiding fast-fashion shops like Zara and Forever21 can become quite easy. Other habits are harder to form, especially as fashion week approaches. We see celebrities and models dressed in gorgeous new outfits every day. We’re bombarded with the new "must have" trends that models wear as they strut down the runway, some available for purchase before the show even finishes... and we’re invited to parties and networking events where food is left untouched and plastic straws and cups are littered about, most of which will not be recycled. It’s an exciting time when the city comes alive and everyone shows off their best-looking selves but why is it we forget what truly matters, our duty as human beings to be more environmentally conscious? Shouldn’t our utmost priority be to make sustainable sexy? Here’s how!

Going to an event? Not sure what to wear? Try some of these options below. 

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is a company that lets you borrow dresses and evening wear for those special events, then return it for free as soon as you’re done! You can order in multiple sizes so you can ensure you get the right fit and don’t have to worry about dry-cleaning post wear, they’ll do all that for you!

When you rent a dress, you’re saving all the natural resources that go into manufacturing a new piece of clothing. The average woman throws away around 82 pounds of clothing per year. Renting helps reduce this significantly. [1]

We often wear that statement dress only once or twice, so why not get something fab (they have 250,000 designer pieces to choose from!), wear it once and then return it? It’s about shifting perspectives of the consumer and letting your friends and peers know it’s okay to rent something that’s already been worn and it is so much more environmentally friendly. 

Have a clothing swap

I’ve written about it before on a previous blog post but I can’t stress enough how amazing a clothing swap party is! You can do it with as little or as many people as you want, and the whole thing can be done without spending a dime. Have some extra clothes laying around that don’t get worn? Bring them (or host) a clothing swap party where everyone brings a few garments and trade away! It’s the perfect way to revamp your wardrobe and get some awesome unique pieces that your friends no longer wear. The best way to ‘shop’ sustainably, and reduce waste is to reuse! [2]

Borrow from a friend

Sometimes, the easiest and most cost effective way to complete a look is to borrow from a friend. Rather than my friend buying a fancy clutch she’d only end up using once for an upcoming wedding, I let her borrow one from me. Now I know in the future I can count on her to lend me an accessory or even a dress if I need it. We all have way too many things in our closet so why not share and save a little money for some more drinks with your girls at the bar?;)

Second-hand shopping

Here in New York, we’re lucky enough to have some truly amazing second-hand shops. The stuff is already made and reusing that is, without a doubt, the most sustainable option out there, even more so than making new clothes out of sustainable materials. You can often find some one-of-a-kind pieces that will make your outfit so much cooler than whatever Zara outfit every other person is wearing. Then, when you get stopped by a street-style photographer asking where you got your blazer, you can be that cool, off-trend person who says they got it from the second-hand store;) Often, used items are less expensive as well. Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and even your local Goodwill are excellent options. 

Reduce the Plastic

With a plethora of parties coming up and with that, a decent amount of drinking, why not make a pledge to yourself to #stopsucking? The Lonely Whale foundation seeks to educate people about the oceans and our impact on them. From overfishing, plastic pollution and acidification, our oceans need us to live smarter and become more aware of our actions. In the U.S. alone we use 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY, many of which end up in the ocean. Lonely Whale has set out to combat this pollution by not using any plastic straws and encouraging everyone to join them. Paper, metal, glass and bamboo are all MUCH more sustainable options. Take the pledge to #stopsucking on single-use plastic straws and challenge your friends! Going out to a fashion week after party? Order that drink sans straw. Or, if you prefer your drinks with straws bring one with you! Read more about strawless oceans here

Your Straw offers incredible bamboo straws as an alternative. They’re the perfect size for anything from coffees to smoothies and come with a tiny brush so you can keep them clean. Purchase your own Your Straw here.

In addition to straws, try and carry a tote bag with you everywhere you go. That way, if you get some cool gift bags from shows or have to do a quick grocery shop on the way home, you can skip the plastic bag! I also always try and carry a fork and spoon with me. It’s the easiest way to reduce the single-use plastic options and is great to have on hand as I run from casting to casting all over the city.  

Take Public Transportation

New York City Fashion Week is spread out with a conflicting schedule that makes attending a few shows each day near impossible. Traffic is always a mess and people are always running late. Why not take mass transit to avoid the headache of being stuck in traffic knowing you’re not doing the environment any good? “A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel-efficient than the average single-occupant auto used for commuting.” [3] Sometimes the high heels are too high to navigate the subway steps and grates, so if you plan on using Uber or a taxi as your main resource try and pool with as many friends as possible. 

Living sustainably is without a doubt more difficult. But taking positive action is not only beneficial but is necessary. If we stick to our current ways by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Our actions have a direct impact on our earth and we have the resources and knowledge to reduce this impact and live cleaner. Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil. We can make a significant impact just by shifting our consumption habits... even in small ways. So, as you get ready for fashion week try a couple of these recommendations and share some with your friends. Rather than buying the newest, latest thing, why don’t we all try and make sustainable trendy? Nothing is sexier than a cleaner, greener environment.   

Sexy, Sustainable Street Style Basics (Click the boot to see entire collection) 

Fashion Week Street Style Part Three

Here's the last post of our three part series on how to achieve the model street style look sustainably. We teamed up with Xin Wang, a NYC street style photographer to capture our favorite fashion week looks and then found sustainable versions of each. Enjoy!
 

GET THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY! 

 

SHOP THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY!

 

GET THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY!

 

Fashion Week Street Style Part Two

Here is part two of our three part series on achieving the Off Duty Model look, sustainably. We teamed up with street style photographer Xin Wang to find some of our favorite off duty looks and then did some research on how we could achieve these looks with our favorite eco-friendly brands. Let us know which looks you like best in the comments below!
 

GET THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY!

 

GET THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY!

 

GET THE LOOK, SUSTAINABLY!

 

How To Achieve the "Model Off Duty" Look Sustainably

With fashion week upon us, it may seem imperative to invest in jaw-dropping clothing and accessories that will get you onto the pages of Vogue Street Style. If not Vogue, at least looks that will help you blend in with the fashion elite and 6-foot-tall models parading around the New York streets from show to show. 

With more fashion weeks happening each year than we can count, we also want to be mindful of our budgets and invest in pieces that will last and not go out of style. In this respect, I think the models are a perfect inspiration for us. They look stylish with ease and their coveted “model off duty look” never seems to veer too far off from season to season, making it easily accessible for everyone to emulate. Sure they may add a statement designer hand bag or the new must-have stiletto, but they generally all have their stylish staples that they mix and match to make each look their own.  

In order to help you achieve this look, we’ve compiled some of our favorite sustainable brands so you can always look stylish while knowing you’re not harming the environment. We admit it, these basics may seem a little overpriced but keep in mind you’re paying for the quality of fabrics, the workers' conditions, and the ethical standards of the factories. You can wear your white t-shirt more than once knowing it’ll keep its shape and won’t get tossed after a couple uses.