New Year’s Evolutions
Natural-style expert Summer Rayne Oakes is a fan of our local designers 1979 and Muumuu Heaven.
Photo: Jon Dennis
If your New Year’s resolution involves being more eco-friendly, we’ve got just the inspiration for you. Natural-style expert Summer Rayne Oakes was in town for a recent conference, and she had some terrific ideas.
Oakes isn’t just jumping on the green bandwagon. She’s a Cornell grad who trained as an environmental scientist and works as a sustainability strategist for clients like Payless, for whom she created the affordable, ecofriendly Zoe & Zac line. That line carries shoes and accessories that use no animal products and materials like hemp and water-based glue.
As a professional model, Oakes works only with socially-conscious designers, companies and programs. She also wrote Style, Naturally, a book on sustainable fashion and beauty. Here are her suggestions for easy changes you can make:
Small changes, big results
Examine the stuff you use on a daily basis—toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, says Oakes. “Stick to ingredients that you could eat, or herbals. You can check at safecosmetics.org. and see what you are using and how it fares.”
Pamper the skin you’re in.
In the past, people may not have thought of their skin as an organ that they are in direct contact with, notes Oakes. “It’s easier to think of that now, in the era of the nicotine patch. Over the span of your life, it’s better to put nutritive stuff on your skin,” than chemicals.
Read the fine print
Look for the Natural Products Association seal, which you can find on products like Burt’s Bees, John Masters and Pangea Organics, suggests Oakes. “Doing my book, I was so struck by the lack of regulation, and that [personal care products] are self-regulated. You can put anything in a bottle and sell it.”
When you’re doing laundry, says Oakes, fill the washer up with clothes, rather than running a half-empty machine. Use cold water. “Stay away from tumble drying as much as possible. Hawaii’s great [for line drying] because you have the wind and the natural smell of the air.” She recommends Ecos, Method Home or Seventh Generation soaps.