This blog is part of a month-long focus around sustainable fashion across HuffPost UK Style and Lifestyle. Here we aim to champion some of the emerging names in fashion and shine a light on the truth about the impact our appetite for fast fashion has around the world.
I've largely hung up my runway stilettos - once I hit 20, no amount of Bikram and green juice were ever going to shrink my hips back down to catwalk sample sizes. For a few years, I saw Fashion Week as an opportunity to put my feet up and enjoy a cuppa whilst watching harried 16 year olds run around the outskirts of London for castings, then stomping down the runway wearing nothing but two left clogs four sizes too big and a huge hat hiding their entire face. Though I mock it, I do miss that heart racing moment of stepping onto the catwalk towards the flashing bulbs and pulsing music - plus the elation at the end of not having falling arse-over-tit for all of Youtube to enjoy.
However, now that I'm a writer with my own website, Modeltypeface (that's right! I am a model 'slash'!), I get the opportunity to attend the press days of designers and brands that excite me, and this week has been a whirlwind of canapés and inspiring causes. First up was the launch of People Tree's new collection with Zandra Rhodes, set in the great Dame's very own flat. If you haven't been to Zandra's place, I hope you get a chance I your life. It's my DREAM home: a floor to ceiling rainbow, filled with fascinating statues and ceramics and a view of The Shard. As well as shooting her new collection, I gave a little speech at the event about why being an ambassador for People Tree means so much to me. Whilst it all felt very exciting, it was tinged with sadness, because what People Tree do - pay workers a fair price and encourage sustainable farming practice - shouldn't be the exception. It should be the norm.
Here I am with CEO of People Tree, the eco dynamo Safia Minney and the legend herself, Zandra Rhodes. I'm wearing a dress from her new collection: my personal fave.
The next day I was off to the Thames to meet the inimitable designer Agnes b. They say never meet your heroes, but luckily Agnes was every bit as bright enchanting as I had hoped for. I interviewed Agnes on the TARA boat, which she has bought with her own money in the hope of contributing to ecological research. TARA has been sailing across the world gathering samples from the sea to test levels of plankton and how healthy the ocean's ecosystem is. The findings aren't pretty - for example, every single sample of thousands from the Mediterranean had traces of plastic, and the crew had witnessed first hand how rapidly the ice caps are melting over the winter. This project will hopefully draw our attention to the plight of the oceans, and the findings will be presented to the next UN Climate Conference.
Fashion has a reputation for being a greedy and wasteful business, and rightly so: my industry is the second biggest polluter after oil, and I've seen firsthand in Dhaka the shocking conditions sweatshop workers toil in. However, this week was really inspiring. It showed me that we can work from within to effect change, and I'm heartened to see such icons of the fashion industry putting their hearts and their names to causes that will have a positive effect on our planet and future generations.
HuffPost UK Lifestyle is running a special series around Sustainable Fashion for the month of September. Livia Firth is creative director of Eco-Age and founder of The Green Carpet Challenge, and will be guest editing on 18 September. If you'd like to blog or get involved, please email us.