March 8th is International Women’s Day, and while it’s not an official holiday in the US, then President Barack Obama declared March to be Women’s History Month on March 8th 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the holiday’s founding. To celebrate, Rust & Fray will be bringing you a month of women’s empowerment themed articles, and we’re kicking it off by highlighting five women bringing about change in the sustainable fashion world.
Greta Eagan has been a staunch advocate for eco-friendly fashion since her first blog, a style website called Grettaguide. Since then she has launched the hugely successful Fashion me Green, wrote the book Wear No Evil, and travels the world to consult both large scale name brands and startup on how they can incorporate sustainability into their corner of the fashion industry. From face creams to footwear and everything in between, Greta has truly shown that sustainability never has to sacrifice style.
As the daughter of some of the most famous and recognizable people in the world, Stella McCartney could easily live her whole life simply coasting off of her parent’s fame and fortune. Instead, she chose to combine her creative passion with a passion for animal rights and environmentalism, founding a brand that shows that even the heights of luxury fashion can be sustainable. Refusing to use both animal products and the usual petroleum-based replacement PVC, Stella was getting sustainable fashion on the red carpet before most people even knew what the term meant. Initially her focus was not on advertising her brand as an environmental one, and instead gain fashion devotees solely through her elegant designs that happened to also be sustainable. Her sustainable designs helped lay the groundwork for the current slow fashion movement now growing among the millennials, being one of the first to prove just how stylish going green can be.
The famous Hogwarts witch and critically acclaimed actress Emma Watson has been using her fame and visibility to champion several very important issues, including both sustainable fashion and women’s rights causes. Between an Instagram that tags her favorite sustainable brands daily, collaborating directly with fair trade brands like People Tree, and sporting an entirely recycled dress to the red carpet, Watson makes sure her A-lister status goes green wherever she is seen. Her personal style seems to have become synonymous with green fashion, and she has been instrumental in promoting eco-friendly choices both with Millennials and with Generation Z. Thanks to Watson, ecochic is the term on everyone’s list these days.
Lauren Singer is cool. She has that Brooklyn chic vibe about her personal style blog, her social media, and the small storefront she runs. But among New York millennials that’s not particularly unique. What is unique is that Lauren does this all without making any trash at all. While majoring in environmental studies at NYU, Lauren decided that she wanted to be the change she wished to see, and started living as low-waste as she could, all while documenting this lifestyle on her blog Trash is for Tossers, which eventually grew into the package-free shop she now runs. Lauren proved that a zero-waste and highly environmental lifestyle can also be the trendy and hip young look of tomorrow.
While all the people on this list have stood up for human rights and environmental issues, Erin Schrode is the only one here who's even taken a bullet for it. Describing herself as a “citizen activist,” Schrode has run for congress, covered Standing Rock protests live (where she was shot by a rubber bullet), distributed meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, helped develop recycling infrastructure in Ghana, and co-founded the environmentalist non-profit Turning Green. She was helping organize education session for safe and eco-friendly cosmetic products when she was only thirteen years old. And for the past few years now she has walked on stage for New York Fashion week in support of eco fashion in collaboration with eco-designer Bahar Shahpar. There’s nothing you can say about Erin Schrode that’ll top simply listing her accomplishments.