“Sustainability in fashion and associated sectors is dominated by old thinking, so we’re inviting our delegates to start with a clean slate,” said Livia Firth. The founder of Eco-Age has partnered with Carmen and social entrepreneur Andrea Somma to put together a three-day sustainability symposium designed to unleash radical disruption and creative ideas from its delegates, and their inaugural Omina Summit is taking place next month in San José, Costa Rica.
As part of the event’s program, we are thrilled to be joined by several fashion leaders and global thinkers who will deliver keynote speeches and take part in panel discussions, and in the first of two posts we have profiled four of the individuals taking part below.
Dr Carmen Hijosa is an ethical entrepreneur and the founder of Ananas Anam Ltd. The London-based company has developed and manufactures Piñatex®, an innovative natural material made from pineapple leaf fibre, that serves as a sustainable alternative to leather and synthetic textiles, and has a low environmental but high social impact.
Originally from Spain and with a background in leathergoods design and manufacturing, Carmen’s career has taken her around the world, including to the Philippines where, shocked at the environmental impact of mass leather production and chemical tanning, she was inspired to research a sustainable alternative. This led to her undertaking an associated PhD at the UK’s Royal College of Art (RCA) and then developing her ideas further through the RCA’s dedicated incubator program.
Recognised for sustainable innovation at the 2015 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and for sustainable materials at the 2016 Innovate UK Women in Innovation Awards, Carmen is a regular participant on panels and at events, including TEDx talks, sharing her innovative views on sustainability.
Oskar Metsavaht is the founder and style director of Osklen, dubbed "Brazil's first global luxury brand" by Forbes in 2012, and has also been recognized for his role as an environmentalist and a leader of the sustainability movement.
The designer, who was included in a list of "the business world's top 100 creative people" by Fast Company Magazine, is also known for his work as a photographer, and is the creative director of his own arts and special projects studio, Om.Art.
He is the founder of Instituto-E, a non-profit organization based in Brazil that is funding projects such as the development of socially and environmentally friendly fabrics, and through this work was named by UNESCO as a Goodwill Ambassador and an official representative of Rio +20 in 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, for which he established the Premio E award, which celebrated environmental initiatives developed over the previous two decades.
Metsavaht is a member of the Board of Conselho de Inhotim, the world’s largest non-profit open-air museum that houses collections of contemporary art, and which also develops educational and social projects, and together with other influencers from across the fields of art, design, fashion and music is a member of Vice's ‘Creators Project’ which uses technology to push the boundaries of creative expression.
He is a regular speaker at global conferences, including Paris’s Ethical Fashion Show, and also serves on the board of Greenpeace.
Former model Gisele Bündchen is now widely recognized for her long-standing and passionate commitment to the environment, and serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program.
During her unprecedented modelling career, in which she was named the world’s highest-paid model by Forbes 15 years in a row, she was the face of countless global campaigns, appeared multiple times on the covers and in editorials for some of the most prestigious magazines, and walked the runway for the most respected design houses.
Her involvement with social-environmental causes began when she spent time with an Indian tribe on the Xingu River in the Amazon Rainforest, and witnessed the problems they faced due to water pollution and deforestation. Returning home, she launched a line of flip-flops with the Brazilian footwear brand Ipanema to call attention to environmental causes and raise funds the tribe, as well as for other forest and water related projects in the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest.
Then in 2008, together with her father, she launched Projeto Água Limpa, a clean water project in her hometown of Horizontina aimed at implementing sustainable environmental management and promoting the recovery of riparian vegetation and the region’s micro basins. To date, the project has facilitated the planting of around 40,000 native forest saplings.
The following year she co-hosted the Rainforest Alliance’s annual gala, which recognizes the outstanding sustainable achievements made by individuals and companies across agriculture, forestry and tourism, and in 2014 she became a board member of the non-profit organization, which is dedicated to conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods.
Gisele’s environmental efforts have been recognized by Harvard Medical School, which presented her with the Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2011, and that same year she also received the Best International Green and Responsible Celebrity Award, voted for by the public as part of the International Green Awards.
Most recently she has been working to raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change with environmentalist Paul Hawken, helping to promote his latest book on the subject, ‘Drawdown’.
Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, author and activist, whose latest best-selling book, ‘Drawdown’, describes in detail the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.
One of the environmental movement’s leading voices and a pioneering architect of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices, he has founded several ecologically-conscious businesses, including, in the 1960s, the Erewhon Trading Company, which was one of the first natural food companies in the US that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods; and in 2009, OneSun, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar power based upon green chemistry and biomimicry.
He consults with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology and environmental policy, and is the Executive Director of Project Drawdown, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed.
Paul has served on the board of many environmental organizations and has received numerous awards and recognitions. In 2014 he was named one of the three Pioneers of Sustainability along with Professors Peter Senge and Michael Porter, and has received six honorary doctorates.