Last week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, British actress Emma Watson, the Harry Potter star and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, took a stand. Quite literally. In her 13-minute speech, she launched the #HeforShe campaign for gender equality. While the reaction in the media – both mainstream and social – has been rather mixed, there is no doubt that Emma is a true leading lady who is using her global popularity to promote the causes she believes in, including ethical fashion. Here is a look at other leading ladies who are making a difference — for fashion and for women.
The supermodel: Gisele Bündchen. The Brazilian beauty is the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme and a long-standing advocate for going green. She is joined by other eco-conscious models including Miranda Kerr, Amber Valetta and Lily Cole, all of whom are proving that the green is most definitely in.
The Green Carpet Queen: Livia Firth. Since founding her Green Carpet Challenge, Livia Firth has convinced numerous celebrities and fashion trendsetters to choose green clothes for the red carpet. As creative director of Eco-Age, Livia is the driving force behind projects that bring ethics and aesthetics together and is a founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group.
The executive: Marie-Claire Daveu. As Chief Sustainability Officer of luxury group Kering, Marie-Claire Daveu is responsible for achieving the group’s ambitious sustainability targets including eliminating PVC and hazardous chemicals from products, and ensuring a 100% sustainable supply of gold and leather. Before taking on the corporate job, Marie-Claire Daveu held senior positions with the French Ministry of environment and sustainable development.
The designer: Stella McCartney. A life-long vegan and animal rights activist, Stella McCartney has established herself as a leading name in the fashion industry and an advocate for cruelty-free fashion. She is famous for not using any animal leather or fur in her creations, and has supported numerous environmental causes over the years, all the while making a profound impact on fashion for years to come.
The journalist: Vanessa Friedman. As the recently named “fashion director and chief fashion critic” of The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman is responsible for putting sustainable fashion on the pages of the paper famous for its motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. Vanessa Friedman made waves at the 2014 Copenhagen Fashion Summit where she argued that “‘Sustainable fashion’ is an oxymoron. It’s ‘jumbo shrimp.’ It’s a ‘down escalator.’ It’s ‘terrible beauty.’ It’s ‘resident alien.’”
The advocate: Eva Kruse. As the CEO and President of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week, Eva Kruse is a pioneer in sustainability in fashion, and since 2008, she has been working ambitiously to push the sustainability agenda in the fashion industry globally. She is the mastermind behind the world’s largest and recurring event on sustainability in fashion, Copenhagen Fashion Summit.
The activist: Christina Dean. Christina Dean is the founder and CEO of Redress, a Hong Kong based NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry. In 2013, she took a challenge of wearing 100% dumped, discarded or donated clothing for 365 days in a personal and professional effort to draw attention the problem of excessive clothing waste. Christina was named by UK Vogue as one of the UK’s ‘Top 30 Inspirational Women’.
What do you think about these ladies taking on the fast fashion industry? Which other leading ladies deserve to be on this list? Let me know!