In 2009, I received an email from Livia Firth suggesting that she and her great friend and collaborator Lucy Siegle came to see me at Vogue to discuss an idea. I hadn’t met either of them before and, having recently seen Tom Ford’s A Single Man (the world was in love with Colin yet again; the fashion world particularly), I entered the meeting slightly star struck and intrigued. I left as pure fangirl. Livia’s plan was to travel the global red carpets during the Awards season wearing sustainable fashion, thereby turning the carpet green and placing fashion’s potential for positive change – both environmental and social – on front pages all over the world. Her adventures ran as the Green Carpet Challenge blog on the Vogue website, of which I was editor. And it worked – people haven’t stopped talking about her or the work she continues to do since – and as a result of it, sustainable living is now at the forefront of progressive conversation like never before.
(It also drove unprecedented traffic – Livia never shied from photographing herself with a mega star celebrity – before “selfie” was even a word – which pleased the Vogue House bosses all the more.)
Some time later, I was in the audience as Livia and Lucy led a public discussion about the horrors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013. Paying tribute to the many lives lost that day, and the hundreds of children orphaned as a result, they made the point that while we are absolutely capable of preventing similar atrocities, our ingrained societal habits make change seem impossible – a notion we humans hide behind thereby prohibiting progress. Inspired, we started to publish more stories about sustainable living on Vogue – resulting in vast traffic and proving that our audience was hungry for change; and for knowledge about how to drive it themselves. The assumption that everybody was too obsessed with aesthetic to care about the provenance of their clothes was wrong. This was a story that would run and run.
Fast-forward to a Wednesday in January 2018 and I had just left Vogue House after two decades there; looking for a new challenge and for something that would give me a thrill. Almost immediately Livia called me: “I just saw on Instagram that you’ve left Vogue,” she said. “I’ve had another idea…”
So here it is – the new Eco-Age.com. A platform to tell the stories of the brilliant work that the spectacularly talented Eco-Age team do every day – and to entertain, inform and engage new audiences as sustainability increasingly becomes the priority it must be for us all – young, old, at home or at work – and to galvanise positive change in every aspect of life.
While change is possible, however, it’s challenging at every turn. Livia’s favourite adage is that we’re looking for “progress, not perfection – because the pursuit of perfection can stop progress in its tracks.” So Eco-Age.com is about sharing ideas; inspiring transformation and celebrating opportunities. We want to tell the stories inherent in the collective challenge we’re all undertaking to live life better for ourselves and for everybody else.
We hope you’ll love it and stick with us as we develop and grow it – please send us your ideas and comments and we’ll try to bring you the best of what’s out there to inspire us all to change the world. That’s not too ambitious, is it?