Summer Rayne Oakes, discovery host, model-activist, author of Style, Naturally

American/German-Welsh-American Indian-Polish-Dutch, formerly living in Montdale, PA – now New York.

Highlights

Being known as ‘The Eco-Model,’ for forging a values-based career in fashion and showing that you don’t have to compromise your values in what you do. Consulting brands/NGOs behind-the-scenes on sustainability strategy and projects. Being a spokesperson for what they do is just the icing on the cake.

Travels

Mezimbite Forest Centre near Beira, Mozambique where I work with architect Allan Schwarz on the a.d. schwarz sustainable development and design projects. www.adschwarz.com. The San Francisco, CA area for quality of life. I often head out there for trail running or hiking. I love their green market at the Ferry Building. Saturdays at the Rose Pistola tent is a must! Vancouver, British Columbia also for being a short trip away from Great Bear National Rainforest, the last coastal contiguous temperate rainforest left in the world; it’s a magnificent and sacred place. I have a newfound appreciation for London now that I got hooked up with some of the right folks there. I just love all the homespun shops, the vintage, Portobello Road, the works.

Favourites

Green Market Union Square: The best farmer’s market that NYC has to offer. Rick’s Picks aromatic pickled beets; divine goat cheese, a wonderful array of house plants and herbs… 5 in 1 Studio. This is pretty much the place to go to find überhip, socially conscious, up-and-coming designers in the Brooklyn area. They have Tara St. James’ STUDY; H. Fredrickson; Uluru; and others. Aurora Restaurants, best Italian in the area by a long shot. I frequented the Brooklyn location, which has been around for the better part of the decade – and was psyched to find another location right across from my agency in Manhattan. Aurora’s pastas, breads and sauces are all homemade and you’ll get the freshest combination. Their peach or watermelon salads in the summer are supreme. Kaight NYC, one of the best merchandised eco-boutiques in Manhattan. I often head over to see what Kate McGregor has gleaned from the shows... and her hand-printed cards and candles. Gobo, vegetarian junk food at its best! I was introduced to Gobo by my friend Eben and was immediately hooked. Try their avocado tartar and oyster mushrooms with fresh lily and asparagus. Linhardt Design, Lisa Linhardt creates some of the biggest and best eco-conscious baubles around – hand-wrought from recycled metals; hand-carved horn and woods are the cornerstone of her boutique. She also carries some of the a.d. schwarz line that is near-and-dear to my heart. Souen, macrobiotic perfection. You immediately feel healthy upon stepping inside. They maintain the highest nutrient value in high-nutrient foods. I ate there for a week straight and found my body craving more leafy green vegetables. Totally bizarre. Moon River Chattel, turn-of-the-century type shop near the East River with re-worked and reclaimed vintage furniture and perfect finds for your home. American Museum of Natural History. The ultimate destination for discovery, I especially love when the insect or herpetology exhibits roll through. There is a frog chorus exhibit as well as Journey to the Stars film… Amarcord, where I pretty much get my vintage finds. The owners always bring cool stuff back from Europe. Honorable Mention: Evolution in Soho. Mr. Wilson’s Wonder Cabinet (Wunderkammer) on steroids www.theevolutionstore.com.

Eco Tip

Make an effort to buy locally and take the opportunity to steal away and work on one of the nearby farms for a weekend. It will give you a deeper appreciation of what it takes to get food to your table.

Sth Eco in my life…

At the moment I’m involved in Rainforest Action Network’s “Don’t Bag Indonesia’s Rainforest” Campaign; Power Shift Pennsylvania – a statewide climate change summit centred around young people; and the Mozambique forestry and design projects with Allan Schwarz. There is such a myriad of cause-related projects that it’s difficult not to be involved in one or more at any given time. Get involved in something that really speaks to you. Visit: www.summerrayne.net

Photo: Faubel Christensen. Hand-painted silk cockroach dress by former design duo Yuma Topeka; crocheted scarves by Projekt – a woman’s cooperative in South Africa; organic cotton jeans by Replay; vegan heels by Charmone Shoes.