We've created powerful pants for powerful people because of the positive impact small, easy changes can make on you and your environment. So, we want to highlight some Everyday Radicals that strive to make a real, radical difference to their community and our ONE Earth.
This month, we're highlighting and celebrating the work of Aine Rose Campbell (pronounced Awn-ya), for her work co-founding the Model Mafia activist community for a more equitable, just and sustainable industry & world.
"Thank-you so much for working with us on our first shoot, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you. We're so grateful to work with a professional model who's really made a difference to her industry and aligns with our values."
What was your 'lightbulb moment' that drove you to make a change and create Model Mafia.
Modelling is a challenging career, and one of the things that makes it so tough are the feelings of isolation, disempowerment and uncertainty. I founded a community for models called “Beyond the Runway” that focused on careers outside of modelling and that gave members a sense of empowerment. A lot of our members were interested in activism and making a difference in the world, so I invited Cameron Russell to come and speak. The event was packed! It was obvious that there was hunger for more activism focused events. So, Cameron and I decided to see if we could kick-off a powerful, model-led community that could transform the fashion industry from the inside out, utilise our unique access to media, and alleviate the feelings of isolation that models feel. We are now approaching our fifth year!
Can you tell us a bit more about how model mafia works?
We are a lively community with 400 members around the world and with hubs in New York and London. We exist as a private google group where members can share what matters to them in confidentiality. We aim to highlight the diverse leadership in the community and all the incredible work that’s being done, educate our members around different topics, empower them to take action, and build relationships with our events and online community.
What do you feel your biggest achievements to date are with the work you've done so far?
Since we were founded in Dec 2016, Model Mafia members have walked in sustainable fashion shows at the UN, marched in multiple climate marches around the world, spear headed the #Metoo movement in the fashion industry, raised funds for Hurricane Harvey and the indigenous communities on the frontline of climate change, held clothing swaps, educational panels, book clubs, and much more!
Perhaps the most important, but least visible work we’ve done is build relationships and trust. Our community members have a place where they feel safe, respected and able to ask for help. This was most apparent when we created our Covid -19 mutual fund powered by our members for our members. So, if you were struggling, you could reach out and ask for aid and we would put a call out to members to donate what they could to support those in need. It was only because we had invested so much into tending the soil for relationships to grow and flourish that we were able to create it.
How do you balance your career in fashion with your climate activism?
I’m lucky that at this point in my life, I no longer see the two things as separate. I mostly work with sustainable or small brands and I get to decide which jobs I want to do. I see my organizing and campaign work to be another facet of my work in fashion. I really think that there is so much potential for fashion to be a leader for climate action - it employs so many people in the world and we all have to get up and get dressed in the morning. Fashion fully stepping up would have monumental effects.
I feel post covid we all thought there would be a big shift in how we lived/ worked/ consumed, but having just experienced LFW it doesn't seem so different and we've reverted back to the normal. From the inside of the industry what are you experiencing and how do you feel about it?
I do see and feel a shift. It isn’t as fast or as honest as I’d like it to be, but it is happening. There are so many industry insiders that want fashion to be a part of the solution, not the problem and that’s led to major innovations in regenerative agriculture, recycling and reuse programs, new sustainable materials like pineapple and mushroom fabrics, and ONE’s biodegradable underwear!
Ultimately, we need to change our culture. But that’s what excites me. Organizing in fashion means we can bring together all those that want to see a better future and use collective action to help bring about that shift.
What is the one piece of advice you would share with others looking to follow in your footsteps?
Focus on the things where you can really make a difference. These are usually close to you and in your life. It could be starting an anti-racist book club, hosting a clothing swap or muting people on social media that aren’t good for your mental health. Big change often starts with small actions which accumulate over time and much of the most important work is unseen. In our culture, small gestures aren’t seen as important enough, but that’s not a sustainable way to look at and exist in the world. Having confidence and pride in what you can do is important and it soon becomes a way of living that rubs off on others.
What would be your top tip for creating an everyday impact on our climate crisis?
Move your money to an ethical bank! Massive investment into fossil fuels comes from banks and it can’t be funded if a lot of people bank with ethical banks. It’s a really easy thing to do and it has a big impact!
Learn more about Aine and stay up to date with her community here