I like to design and work on creative solutions
to some of our greatest environmental challenges.
These are things like improving our supply chain with technology, designing more environmentally-sound products, creating entertaining media with a message, helping people eat better, and bringing back the joy of movement to a sedentary world.
Then I tell inspiring stories that encourage people to pause—
think, laugh a little, and even act.
I sometimes do this as a masked crusader.
Summer Rayne Oakes was reclaiming mine sites, researching sewage sludge, and restoring forestlands when she was struck with the idea that style—and how we live our life—would be a far more effective means to connect people to the natural world. Graduating Cornell University cum laude with degrees in Environmental Science and Entomology, Oakes began to bridge her interest in ecological systems to industries that affect our everyday life—from what we wear to what we eat.
This journey has led her to over a decade of experience infusing sustainable-thinking and practices into the heart of the fashion, beauty and food industries. Most recently Oakes has been focused on sustainable food systems and our connection to what we eat. She has worked closely on the launch of numerous companies including Good Eggs, a farmers market meets online grocer and Foodstand, a food-savvy community app that helps people eat better. In 2014, she founded SUGARDETOX.ME to help people come to terms with their sugar tooth. She has released her first cookbook and guide based on the website in March 2017 with Sterling Publishing. And in the same month, she launched the blog and YouTube Channel, Homestead Brooklyn, to help people become more attuned to nature in the city through the simple things: a potted plant, a farmers market apple, or even a walk through the botanical gardens.
Though food has been a core focal point, Oakes is most known for her work in the world of fashion. She is recognized as the first “eco-model,” a term bestowed originally by Grist to describe her values-based modeling. Over the past seven years, she has co-founded Source4Style (now called Le Souk), an award-winning, venture-backed marketplace that connects thousands of designers to sustainable material suppliers around the world; authored the best-selling book Style, Naturally; served as a correspondent on Discovery Networks; designed environmentally-preferable lines with Payless, Portico and Modo eyewear; and served as the muse for Toyota’s Prius C (they even went so far as to name a paint color in her honor).
She and her work have been featured in a range of media outlets worldwide including: CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, The Guardian, Vogue, Vanity Fair, L'Officiel, INC, Forbes, and many others. Outside magazine called her a "Top Environmental Activist," Amica listed her as one of the "Top 20 Trendsetters under 40," and CNBC named her one of their "10 Best Green Entrepreneurs." In 2013, she was one of eleven women featured in the iconic Pirelli Calendar shot by photographer Steve McCurry of Afghan Girl fame.
Oakes serves on the board of the Mezimbite Forest Centre and works closely with organizations such as Rainforest Action Network and Gaia Amazonas. You may often see her in Brooklyn walking her African millipedes or flexing her green thumb in her copious indoor plant gardens. ♡