It’s about time. Livia Firth has been recognised for her work in trying to reform and reframe the fashion industry, from the red carpet (or better known as the green carpet challenge) and her wider role at Eco-Age. She’s been out there doing her thing to promote a more sustainable fashion future for over a decade. Livia says her honorary MBE “will be a weapon of mass construction,” and “it will mean people will listen. Whatever it takes to spread the message.” (source: Guardian)
You may know Livia Firth as the wife of actor Colin Firth from the Bridget Jones movies, The Kings Horsemen, and The Kings Speech. She’s been lucky enough to grace the red carpet with her husband and use her position of influence in the media to do good.
“Livia is Co-founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). She is renowned for creating compelling frameworks and campaigns for environmental and social justice with global reach. A founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group, she recently presented the findings of The Circle’s Living Wage report to the EU Commission.
Livia is a UN Leader of Change and has also been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award and the Rainforest Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability. She is a powerful communicator on progressive change; her keynote addresses include the World Economic Forum.” (source: EcoAge)
She set up Eco-age to work with a variety of NGOs, charities and organisations on advocacy and global projects to campaign for a more ethical and sustainable world. If that’s not enough reason to be inspired by this woman, I don’t know what is.
Livia also champions #30wears which is something I adopted nearly 5-years ago as a model for trying to be more sustainable and respectful to my clothes. I have since taken that challenge and converted it to #100wears and in some cases championing clothes that surpass #1000wears. It is because of women like Livia that have stayed the course and continued to work towards a more sustainable fashion future, I keep going, even when things get tough.
Like Livia, my approach is very different from that of Extinction Rebellion, whilst I agree with a lot of their messages, and peaceful protesting – I don’t think radical rebellion against high-profile events like cancelling London Fashion Week is the answer either. The LFW events have massive reach and influence and should be used for a force for positive change and highlight emerging sustainable fashion designers.
I think we need to reframe HOW we look at fashion and what laws and processes are in place to protect people, planet, and animals so our desire for ‘fashion’ doesn’t come at a detrimental cost. If we want to appeal to the masses – we need to think about how we ‘attract’ a mass movement. Don’t get me wrong, Extinction Rebellion has pulled in a crowd, but it’s not one the mass public relates to. And this is my issue with environmental protests, they can sometimes give off a particular vibe – it’s hard to see where someone like ‘me’ would fit in. I know that’s a bit of a sweeping statement – but that’s what I believe the public sees. If I can’t see ‘myself’ in that crowd – although I believe in a lot of what they are doing, how are other women like me going to contribute?
I’m not about to glue my bottom to the road – disrupt the city and hope to get featured in the paper. This kind of PR doesn’t always generate widespread compassion for a cause, instead people end up resisting it.
It’s women like Livia Firth that I look towards. She has inspired me for the past 5-years, she continues to make a positive impact in this world by standing by her beliefs and staying stylish – now that’s a movement I can get behind.
Whilst I am an ambassador for ethical and sustainable fashion and making sure my everyday actions count (and being mindful of what I wear and how often) – I appreciate that even that’s not enough. Only through systematic changes, government policy, and global laws will we see the radical shift that is needed to set the fashion industry on the right path.
I also believe we all need to stop trying to solve the problems we face alone, we need to put our egos to one side, unite, share knowledge, share our resources and use our efforts to collaborate wisely. By doing so we can accelerate the work required to see these important changes happen.
I hope to follow in the footsteps of Livia and inspire other women, like me, who are just doing what they can with the resources they have available to them. It’s important we find our own path and be a rebel for a cause we believe in. I am ready to fight, but I don’t want to give up my love for looking great and appreciating the joy fashion can bring me.
When used properly, fashion can be a force for good, not a weapon of mass destruction. I hope 2020 brings fresh focus to the cause and we see more people working together to drive change.
In case you missed my appearances on the ITV news, where I mention my Livia Firth inspired tip for #100wears you can watch this here:
And more recently I was asked to appear on the BBC News on News Years Day 2020, to discuss sustainable fashion and clothing swaps which you can watch here:
Have you got any strong female characters in the public eye that influence you and inspire you? Let me know who they are in the comments.
*Since this post was originally written it is reported that they have since separated.
Main blog photo: taken from Livia Firth Instagram, Image credits Creator: Jacopo Raule Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2019 Jacopo Raule
For more information on booking me for TV and live speaking gigs please see my Press Pack Page