The EcoChic Design Award’s star model this year is Bonnie Chen. We caught up with her to get her thoughts on the contest, and learn more about her model life
By Chere Di Boscio
In our printed magazine last month, we featured a fabulous fashion shoot highlighting designs created by the contenders for this year’s EcoChic Design Award. The star of that shoot was model Bonnie Chen, who’s also an EcoChic Design Award Ambassador.
What’s the EcoChic Design Award?
Before we get to the shoot, you may be wondering what the EcoChic Design Award is, anyway. The best person to fill you in would be Christina Dean, the founder of Redress, the NGO behind the Awards. She says:
“We wanted to make change in the fashion industry, which is the world’s second most polluting industry only second to oil. To do this, we had to educate those people making the decisions at the drawing board – the all-important designers!
It’s estimated that designers influence 80 to 90 percent of the environmental and economic costs of a product. But we were witnessing a huge lack of knowledge about how designers can reduce fashion’s negative impacts. So The EcoChic Design Award was born, an educational competition to drive positive change into tomorrow’s industry leaders”.
The Shoot’s Concept
‘From One Side To Another’ is the concept behind the shoot. Creative Director Denise, said: “As a stylist working in the fashion industry I am constantly surrounded by beautiful clothes. But The EcoChic Design Award designers’ passion always inspires me.
This year, as usual, there was huge variety in how they transformed textile waste. So for this shoot, I divided the finalists’ pieces into two contrasting groups, light versus dark, and stillness versus movement.”
Photographer Tim Wong was delighted to be in charge of capturing that concept.
“Having shot for The EcoChic Design Award for three years, I’m beginning to feel part of this global family of creatives who are using their professions as vehicles for change,” he said. “It’s energising to help Redress and the designers through my photography so they can continue to move mountains.”
We spoke to model Bonnie behind the scenes, to get some inside info about her life, and the shoot.
Model Bonnie Chen: Behind the Scenes
How did you get started as a model?
My mom encouraged me to join Elite Model Look when I was sixteen, and I won
Which other models have inspired you to get into the industry?
Christy Turlington Burns. She’s so beautiful, inside and out.
How would you describe your own style, in three words?
Classic, simple, minimalist.
What did you like about the clothing you wore for the shoot?
I am most impressed by the creativity of use of resources such as old wedding dress materials, discarded linings, hotel bed sheets, care labels and fabrics with iron scorch marks. Everything is so stylish that you can’t even tell it’s made from waste.
Can you share any beauty tips from the shoot?
Makeup Forever Mat Velvet Foundation was applied with a Kabuki brush to take off the shine. We used Aveda Control Force hair spray and Mineral Makeup Artist Eyeshadow Palette 2. Basically, all natural products.
What’s Bonnie Chen’s favourite model pose?
Looking slightly over my left shoulder
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Leigh, my booker from Next, decided to take me on when nobody else wanted me in New York. Many people didn’t support my decision to model after college, and I was often told I looked “too commercial”. Leigh took out all the bad pictures from my book and told me: “Edgy models may catch the eye for one or two seasons, but beauty lasts forever. I like your energy and we should aim high.”
If you weren’t a model, what would you like to be?
A landscape photographer.
Finally, why did you decide to be a brand Ambassador for the EcoChic Design Award?
There is so much pollution in the world! So I love modelling for The EcoChic Design Award designers because they are talented and care about our planet’s future. The shoot challenges me in exciting ways because I know I am presenting the designers’ works and aspirations. Collectively in this project, we are all making a difference in the world.
To see more, check out the behind-the-scenes video with model Bonnie Chen here.