Zero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The Blue

Fashion’s footprint doesn’t just involve clothes; it involves promotion, too. And that’s one reason we are so impressed with this zero carbon fashion shoot!

By Chere Di Boscio

The idea of creating a zero carbon fashion shoot may seem a bit nuts. I mean, why even bother? But Stylist Vaanita Oakey knows that a fashion shoot usually involves a lot of energy. Namely, air and ground travel, take out food  and plastic wrapper waste; and electricity switched on and running for a continuous 10 hours or more. Shoots usually promote fashion brands that are not at all eco-friendly.

So she decided to see if she could produce a zero carbon fashion shoot, and she did!

The shoot was done in small, low impact studio in Devon, and the model Milly May, lived quite nearby. Vaanita also used eco-friendly vehicles or public transport to move people and clothing, and the food for the shoot was all vegan, locally produced, and home made. 

Only vintage, ethical, and sustainable fashion brands were used, as were vegan makeup and hair brands.

And the best part? The crew will be planting 20 trees towards the offset of the carbon  emissions produced by the shoot.  

Here, I asked Vaanita more about her zero carbon fashion shoot, Out Of The Blue.

Zero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The Blue

Why did you decide to make your work sustainable? 

I would say I have a conscious approach to fashion, and have been  working towards doing more sustainable editorial fashion shoots for the past  decade. For me it’s always been a natural approach to fashion  styling. Using fast fashion or unethical practices in my work is not an option. 

Having worked in the industry for over 20 years as a stylist, designer and producer, I have seen many unethical practices which  would make one weak at the knees. I believe in storytelling by using  pieces which are ethical, handcrafted and upcycled.  

I believe sustainability is more than a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle. I live on a tree farm in Devon,  where my husband a professional tree grower and horticulturalist. We grow trees for the future. We have been growing them for 15 years on our 25 acre farm, surrounded by 20,000 plus trees in various stages of growth.

In this particular shoot, the theme is blue. Tell us a bit about  what inspired the colour scheme.

It was the colour used by ancient Egyptians for makeup. Cobalt hues bring inner peace. And during this pandemic, we’ve been seeking ways to support others. Turning to wellness and spiritual awareness is a means of support for us. Lapis lazuli is  associated with strength, courage, royalty, wisdom intellect and  truth. The colour blue is associated with calm and harmony.

How did you choose the clothes and brands? 

With direction and style, the narrative of the editorial is a juxtaposition of romanticism and reality.  The brands also had to reflect this style, as well as exude ethical standards. 

Once the direction and theme of the shoot had been decided, we solidified the concept of using natural materials in nuances of blue. We featured vegan, vintage and new independent sustainable brands practicing ethically within the  industry.

Each of the new brands had to not just pass being or working  towards sustainability, they also had to ensure that the source  materials, production and manufacture where ethical. Speaking  with each independent brand individually helped me gain insight into how they designed and produced each piece. 

Focusing on beauty, the styling would act as a frame rather than a focus. The main focus was the sublime lines and smudges of the blue pigments on a flawless complexion. 

What inspired the makeup, and which brands did you use?

I was inspired by a mix of ancient times, romanticism and 80’s style realism. The makeup was inspired by the ancient deep blue rock, lapis lazuli. The beauty products all cruelty free, vegan and produced using  high exacting standards. 

The products were used were specifically: Trinny London, Ouidad UK, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Inglot, Cosmetics a la Carte and John Masters.

Where do you see fashion promotion going in the future, given fashion weeks are pretty much banned? 

Fashion promotion in the future will be a wide open melting pot. A mix of pre-recorded digital presentations, real-time live shows,  performances and installations. 

The runway show may be a model of the past, but in my eyes, it is irreplaceable. Watching the show slowly reveal each look, seeing the fabrics up close, the creativity of the hair the makeup – it’s all beautifully brilliant!  

However, it’s only in the past decade that we’ve noticed the huge cost the industry has on the  earth. The amount of CO2 emissions per show is colossal! So finding  new sustainable and ethical practices which reflect through the whole of the industry is imperative. Not just across the the products. Doing our zero carbon fashion shoot is one example. 

Recently, runway presentations shown  by many couture houses, such as Balmain, Valentino, Chanel, transported the audience to the show via digital technology. There are exciting times ahead, may be virtual 3D digital experiences via  spaces like zoom.  

Zero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The BlueZero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The BlueZero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The BlueZero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The BlueZero Carbon Fashion Shoot: Out Of The BluePhoto Photo credits

Photographer and Cinematography : Andy Edgecumbe @andrewedgecumbe Model: Millie Spence @milliemay.s 

Model: Milk Model Management @milkmodelmanagement  

Director and stylist: Vaanita Oakey @vaanitaoakey 

Hair and makeup: Shari Rendle @sharimakeup  

Chere Di Boscio
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