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9 Oct

Sustainability Q&A With Brand Ambassador: Elle L

Why is sustainability in beauty so important right now?

Sustainability in all industries is important now and always. Over the last couple of decades, there’s been a focus on speed and a greed for more, now. With that has come a mindlessness and irresponsibility on the impact our every move has, from our beauty, fashion choices and beyond. Whether that’s accidental or not, the result has been chaos and confusion. Sustainability has never been more important than now in beauty because we are in a crisis where if we don’t put on the brakes and reverse the impact fast-lifestyle industries and mindset, there will be no beauty left in the world. It’s that simple. We are at a cross-roads and everyone can play a part in nature’s survival and resurgence. From the moment we wake up our every decision has an impact and it’s our choice whether that is going to be a positive one. Slow-conscious beauty is the new real-beauty.

What experience do you have in sustainability?

My eyes were first opened to sustainability about three years ago. Before I realised music was my absolute calling, I was directing fashion films and projects for CNN (though I’ve always been pretty 360 as an artist and was making my own music to film for all my projects). This time I was directing for Copenhagen Fashion Week working with a true pioneer Eva Kruse. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the curation of CPHFW was and how ahead they were on the idea of sustainability. I had to ask myself “why are we so behind and not thinking like this?”. That alongside my route into music lead to a lot of ‘fast-fashion’ collaborations coming my way. At first I said yes to the free stuff but as soon as I did I felt so uncomfortable endorsing products that were made badly and I didn’t think it was right so I started to look for different routes to use a growing platform better. It’s hard saying ‘no’ but I had to. I researched the poor conditions these products are made in and the harmful nature of toxic chemicals being pumped into the environment as a result – how could I suggest my following buy into this? I simply can’t. Yes, it would be an insulin spike of popularity for but I am way more interested in real art, fashion, beauty trends and my greatest source of inspiration is nature, so how could I neglect her. From that moment of realisation,  I wanted to do everything I could to protect the natural world. I now champion and advise sustainable fashion, beauty and have worked on a lot of environment and charity projects which have taken me from the Amazon jungles of Peru to the UN Environment Assembly Kenya over the last 12 months.


What projects have you recently done to support sustainability?

I began working as Ambassador to Fashion for Conservation started early 2018 and also curated and lead a runway show with Mother of Pearl and Deborah Milner [two power-house slow / sustainable fashion designers] for Whitley Fund for Nature’s Hope Gala last November. The project went onto support raising funds of over £1m to go directly to grassroots conservation and for the first time, fashion was an investor in fashion not part of the problem. Sir David Attenborough was in attendance and gave a key-note speech which was I think a special moment for all the attendees which brought together an audience from fashion to the natural world. From there, I have been advising the United Nations in Sustainable Fashion & Media and recently curated and supported the launch of the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. I was in Kenya to moderate a special project Future Fashion Now with my partners Kaleidoscope and Vepsi which debuted at UN Environment Assembly. We were fortunate enough to collaborate with Heron Preston who was our special guest and speaker. He is doing so much to make sustainability accessible to youth culture, and I would describe him as the ultimate game changer right now.

What are some of your favourite brands that support this?

I have been a long-time ambassador of Vegan, all-natural skincare supplement Esthechoc. They are on a journey to become more sustainable and I love the product because it’s delicious and forward thinking, they are huge supporters of the environment and work I do in the field. Responsible Cacao Farming can actually be a very supportive industry to support Amazonian farmers so they do not fall victim of illegal logging, poaching or black market trades to support their family and as a consequence ruin the land. I also love you guys at Cohorted, similarly because the passion is there to be greener and so many of the products you now feature are vegan, botanical, packaged responsibly and I am excited to hear that you are reducing your packaging and I know we have a couple of special collaborations coming up this year to support slow and sustainable  beauty which I can’t wait for! I love Sana Jardin as I think the sense of smell is a really underrated sense for beauty and relaxation. My favourite product at the moment is Amly Botanicals sleep mist… I do have a lot of other favourite products like IS Clinical, which I like because they have glass packaging [so less plastic] and because it really works. I also like Creme De La Mer because it’s hydrating and because they support a lot of Ocean Conservation projects.

What significant changes have you seen be made?

Sustainability is collaborative space and I’ve seen a lot of collaborations igniting change. I have seen real progress. Even a year ago, sustainability was a cloudy subject with too many opinions, not enough facts and too little action… It was in conversation but as Elvis once said ‘A little less conversation  a little more action, please’. 😉 Now, it is of serious interest, people want to change. Some still don’t know how but that’s okay. It’s not a destination, it’s about doing all you can, collaboration, learning and doing more. Even the simple stuff – stop using the straws, single-use bags, buying throw-away dresses… simple steps make huge differences. Many brands are active on their mission now because they realise the importance and that’s good but there is a long way to go, which is why we must all come together. I recently presented an award at Attracta Beauty Awards with ES Insider and the reason I love these awards is because Attracta Courtney, the founder, champions conscious-slow beauty within the industry. It’s so important we celebrate those who are leading the way and enjoy ourselves on the way to doing things better.

Where do you see society in 10 years if we don’t make a conscious effort to support the environment?

If we don’t? We are on a fast-road to mass extinction. Sounds scary doesn’t it? It is. It’s alarming what damage is being done right now with too much stuff going to landfill and being made in a way that is toxic and harmful. The time is now for change.

 

What can we do to help encourage sustainability?

Stay conscious, stay active and demand better for big brands – we can all do something. The beauty of nature is within each one of us and so it’s our responsibility to be mindful that we are all part of one eco-system. By abusing it, we abuse ourselves in the long-run so stay on the road to sustainability even when it is challenging. I think the biggest change we could make is to ask for transparency from the brands we buy from – what is in the product? how is it made? and to request less plastic and less packaging in general. The biggest change the beauty industry could make right now is to significantly reduce packaging so it is minimal, bio-degradable and / or easy to recycle. It’s possible and that’s positive. Also, there’s a lot of over-production that goes to waste but I also think people buy too much junk, so try get the best quality you can and love what you buy so you look after it and it lasts.

Emma Tarabay

I'm Emma-Jane Tarabay, a 22-year-old freelance lifestyle blogger and Social, PR and Marketing Executive at Cohorted Communications, based in Leeds. As a freelance writer, I blog on topics surrounding lifestyle, beauty and travel, whilst being able to collaborate with brands to work on creating content. I'd like to consider myself as a mental health advocate, being completely transparent about my journey with depression and anxiety alongside my studies and the influence this may have on my post-graduation journey. 98% of the time you will find me in my pj's, looking at photos of sloths and wishing I had a dog, whilst drinking endless amounts of tea and mango juice. xx

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