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Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes Comp Card. Photograph by Anouk Morgan.
Date of birth June 3, 1984 [1]
Place of birth Pennsylvania, USA
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Hair color Brown
Eye color Brown
Measurements 34-25-36 (US); 87-63.5-89 (EU)
Dress size 36 (EU), 6 (US)
Shoe size 41 (EU), 10 (US)
Website Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes is an American-born model, activist, and television host known for her social entrepreneur work in ecofashion and related sustainability ventures. Because of her close ties to the environment, she is often referred to as "The Eco-model."[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Early life

Growing up among Pennsylvania farmlands outside Scranton, Oakes was a self-taught naturist.[8]


Oakes attended Lakeland Jr./Sr. High School.[9] In her community, Oakes was the youngest board member of the Environmental Advisory Council.[10]

She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources and Entomology.[8][11]

Oakes is a Udall Scholar and National Wildlife Federation Fellow.[10][12] Upon winning the Udall Environmental Scholarship, Summer Rayne said she was looking to become an ecosystem manager and work to improve conservation programs "by successfully integrating human dimension aspects, scientific research and the intrinsic value of nature into comprehensive management plans." [10]

At Cornell Oakes was Vice President of the Educate for the Earth Club and a frequent artistic contributor to Ursus, the student environmental publication. Her work experience includes serving as a research assistant in the Cornell Waste Management Institute where she co-authored publications including "Investigation of Alleged Sludge Health Incidents Associated with Land Application of Sewage Sludges"[13], "Sewage Biosolids Land Application: Reported Health Incidents," [14] and "Organic Chemicals in Sewage Sludge" [15]. She also worked in the Aquatics Laboratory of the Department of Entomology on stream water quality studies, and studied rainforest regeneration in the Central Highlands of the Dominican Republic. Oakes also was an environmental lobbyist for the Long Island Neighborhood Network against pesticide application. [10]



Oakes is known as "The World's First Eco-model"[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] for exclusively aligning her career with environmentally- and socially-conscious companies, designers, and projects as both a model and sustainability strategist.

Oakes began modeling while attending Cornell University. She was approached by a Philadelphia-based modeling agency, but signed with Boss Models upon graduation. Her first project brought attention to sustainable fashion and rainforest conservation with photographer John F. Cooper and stylist Peter Brown's Organic Portraits series from 2001-2004.[24]. She is currently represented by NEXT Model Management [25] and Chic Celebrity in Australia [26]

Her fusion of values-based modeling, business, and activism has garnered much international interest. Her first full-paged interview came in 2004 for Lucire:

"Summer Rayne Oakes may be the archetype of the twenty-first century supermodel. While the "s" word has not been applied by the media yet, she has all the ingredients that make one in the modern context: an active involvement in environmental causes, an intelligence quotient that hovers in the 180 mark, and a sexy, smouldering look. However, what makes Oakes tick? This is a Cornell graduate with degrees in entomology and natural resources, the winner of numerous academic awards - certainly not the twentieth century's idea of the model. If she has a fault, it may be that she is ahead of her time, and the world is catching up." [27]

Since then, Oakes' work has been featured on CNN,[28] NPR,[29], HGTV,[30], NY1,[31] MTV News,[32], Neue Zürcher Zeitung [33], Grist Magazine[34] and Discovery Channel News[35].

Oakes has modeled for Levi Strauss & Co., Nicole Miller, Replay Jeans, and others. In April 2009, she launched an environmentally-preferable shoe line with Payless ShoeSource called "zoe&zac," for which she is the model, spokesperson and sustainability strategist. [36], [37]

Books & Magazines

On September 5, 2005, Oakes launched "Behind the Label", a monthly sustainable style editorial produced for Lucire, which became the first international editorial completely devoted to ethical and eco-conscious fashion designers. On October 23, 2006, Oakes took over as acting editor for the magazine.[38] In September 2006, she also launched the S4 Newsletter, reporting on sustainability trends in fashion [39], which is relaunching as a B-2-B marketplace for sustainable designers in 2010.

In February 2009, Oakes released her first book, "Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty," which became an Bestseller. [40], [41]. She says the book is "aimed at women who love style but may not have "environment" or "green" in their lexicon" [42] and an "irreverent, witty guide for green virgins." [43]

In November 2009, Oakes accepted the Editor-at-Large position at Above Magazine which was once occupied by Charlotte Casiraghi. She writes articles and produces for the magazine. She was featured in the Winter 2009 issue in an editorial by photographer Gilles Bensimon.

She writes the "Ask Summer Rayne" column for [44]; personal musings for; fashion and beauty tips for [45], and Huffington Post [46].


In early 2008, Oakes was named spokesperson, resident expert, host, and board adviser for Discovery Channel's Planet Green Channel, a 24-7 hour network devoted to the environment launching in the United States in June 2008.[47] She also previously co-hosted Eco 4 the World[48] with Andrew Patterson[49] created by Big Durian Productions[50] in Singapore.[51]


She has been honored by Vanity Fair as "A Global Citizen;" [52] Outside Magazine as a "Green All-Star;" [53] Cosmopolitan "Fun, Fearless Female;" [54] AMICA's "Top 20 Trendsetters under 40;" [55] Shape Magazine's "Women Who Inspire Us;" [56], CNN "Young People Who Rock;" [57] Glamour's "70 Women of Green;" [58] and Earth First's "Hottest Girl in Green." [59]]

Environmental work

Oakes is actively involved in environmental causes. She is most known for her work in sustainable fashion and beauty but is actively involved in the youth climate change movement through Energy Action Coalition; Green-collar jobs; sustainable development in Africa; and reforestation/ecosystem conservation efforts.

In September 2005, Oakes designed and launched an educational curriculum entitled ECOFASHION 101, which links pop culture, fashion, and mainstream media into traditional subject topics. [60]

In December 2005, Oakes attended the Fair Trade Expo at the World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong to represent the international fair trade movement. [61]

In October 2007, Oakes was part of a donor-funder trip to Great Bear National Rainforest, the last contiguous coastal temperate rainforest in the world and home of the Kermode bear. In November 2007, she helped organize and lobby for the first time on Capitol Hill with the youth-run group, Energy Action on the case of global warming. She was one of 6,000 young people who participated in the largest lobby day and summit on climate change.[62]

That same month, Oakes left to Africa for a shoe drop with TOMS Shoes in South Africa[63] and an annual sustainable development trip to Mozambique.

In June 2008, she wrote an op-ed for her local Pennsylvania paper on green-collar jobs to urge the community and the government to take political action. [64]

In February 2009 during New York's Fashion Week, she staged an event called "Don't Bag Indonesia's Rainforests" with Rainforest Action Network and Tiffany & Co. They identified over 100 fashion companies unknowingly using endangered Indonesian forests in luxury shopping bags. [65] The campaign was considered successful since most fashion companies pulled out and one of the major packaging suppliers (Pak 2000) announced its separation from Asian Pulp and Paper. [66].

Personal life

Oakes currently resides in New York City.[citation needed] She has never been married.[citation needed] She is reportedly single, but has been linked to dating fellow environmentalists in the past.[citation needed]


  • The glamorous appeal that surrounds modelling really helps target a wider and more varied audience for the causes that I am associated with. Environmentalism and humanitarian issues are hot button topics all the time, but usually within certain cliques. My image is the primary draw for most viewers, but I've received countless mail from individuals who inadvertently learn about my work and can relate to it, are interested in it, or are inspired by it. It's really energizing to hear what they have to say. You don't always get that appeal and response from general audiences to traditional activism. I think it's a viable way to engage fringe groups..
    • Lucire, April 2005
  • Don't get me wrong, I care. I care a whole deal, which is why I was there. But for my generation, we realize that there is a glut of 'F*** you' finger-pointing that is clogging the political pipelines, and we are in desperate need of an enema.
    • Made in Hong Kong article on fair trade, Lucire magazine, February 2006
  • I've always cared for the environment, but I've never wanted to be limited to studying or caring for just one aspect of it. I want to use all my assets toward making a difference.
    • Experience Life Magazine, April 2006
  • Take me out to [a bog mat] and I would be shoving my nose in moss or looking at insects. I get really excited about that kind of stuff!
    • Grist Magazine, September 2006
  • I think the press first started using that phrase [to describe me]. It doesn't really describe the depth of my work, but it does roll off the tongue quite nicely, doesn't it? I guess if I were a comic book character, I'd be somewhere between Captain Planet and Wonder Woman, and that isn't half bad.
    • Capricho Magazine, November 2006 [after asking who started calling her "The Eco-model"]
  • Though this issue is not something I speak out about directly, I do hope that young women can take away a healthy lifestyle from my own work. If you do not take care of yourself and do not learn to embrace your body in a healthy manner, then you will not be able to live happily or create the change that you wish to impart on the earth. Beauty is not strictly about physical features. It is about inner confidence, peace with oneself, and a good heart. Don't compromise your health. It's not worth it.
    • SRO News Blog, November 2006 [on discussing the pressure to be thin in the modeling industry]
  • Just from my background, I've really honed [sic] in on a lot of broad skill sets...I was also asking in my own life, how can I get my environmental and social issues that I feel most passionate about out to a mainstream audience? How can I get this brand or this product or this company out into the mainstream? There are so many companies that are doing good and do have a good message, and not getting the limelight they deserve...
    • Sustainable Industries Journal, December 2006
  • I didn't see what I wasn't able to do, but more of what I was capable of.
    • Ibrido TV, December 2006
  • I would define optimism as the belief in hope...Just imagine all the experiences you have left to experience; all the people you have left to touch or be touched by; and all the dreams you have left to do.
    • Ibrido TV, December 2006
  • When you do your own thing, it forces you to innovate. I started my own business because I couldn't find a company or organization that shared the same vision I had for the future. I felt the need to develop a broad-skilled approach, so I have a tendency to do all sorts of things - consulting, modeling, writing. Most everything I do, however, is centered on sustainability. My passion is for people and the environment. I look at what I do very much as a business as well as an educational awareness campaign. I don't consider it a job or a hobby. I consider it a responsibility, a way of life.
    • Speech on entrepreneurship to Gettysburg students, January 9, 2007
  • We're like dogs. We can smell fear and have no patience for bullshit.
    • Outside magazine, January 2008, on what she said to a friend after a weak speech given by Nancy Pelosi at the Power Shift climate change summit


  1. ^ summer rayne oakes Photo #116676
  2. ^ Grist MainDish interview, April 20, 2006
  3. ^ Capricho interview, Brazil
  4. ^ Treehugger interview, October, 2006
  5. ^ Triple Pundit article
  6. ^ NPR Living on Earth interview, December 1, 2006
  7. ^ Vanity Fair feature, May 2007
  8. ^ a b Grist Main Dish, September 7, 2006
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d Summer Rayne Oakes named Udall Environmental Scholar
  11. ^ Cornell News: 2003 Udal Scholarships
  12. ^ Summer Rayne Oakes named NWF Fellow
  13. ^ Investigations of Alleged Sludge Health Incidents, New Solutions, New Solutions 12(4):387-408, 2002
  14. ^ Reported Sludge Health Incidents
  15. ^ Organic Chemicals in Sewage Sludge, Science of the Total Environment 367 (2006) 481–497
  16. ^ Grist MainDish interview, April 20, 2006
  17. ^ Capricho interview, Brazil
  18. ^ Treehugger interview, October, 2006
  19. ^ Triple Pundit article
  20. ^ NPR Living on Earth interview, December 1, 2006
  21. ^ Vanity Fair feature, May 2007
  22. ^ NY Post Page Six feature
  23. ^ Campbell Live interview
  24. ^ Organic Portraits Project
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ [2]
  27. ^ Sweet Summer Rayne, Lucire, April 2004
  28. ^ CNN "Young People Who Rock" interview, August 22, 2007
  29. ^ NPR Living on Earth interview, December 1, 2006
  30. ^ HGTV Sustainable Fashion Feature
  31. ^ *NY1 Interview, January 2007
  32. ^ MTV: The Revolution Starts Now, November 2007
  33. ^ Summer in the City, NZZ, May 2007
  34. ^ *Grist article on Summer Rayne
  35. ^ Discovery News, Young People Bring Green Demands to D.C. November, 2007
  36. ^ Treehugger, zoe&zac
  37. ^ Zoe&Zac
  38. ^ Summer Rayne Oakes becomes Acting Editor of Lucire Magazine
  39. ^ Treehugger, Summer Rayne Oakes & S4 second issue
  40. ^, Style, Naturally book
  41. ^ Style, Naturally site
  42. ^ Treehugger, Style Naturally debuts
  43. ^ Page 6 Interview, Summer Rayne Oakes
  44. ^ Ask Summer Rayne on
  45. ^ Recyclebank, Live Green Section
  46. ^ Huffington Post
  47. ^ Planet Green Announces World Class Board of Advisors February 26, 2008
  48. ^ Eco 4 the World website
  49. ^ Andrew Patterson on IMDB
  50. ^ Big Durian Productions website
  51. ^ Summer Rayne Oakes on IMDB
  52. ^ Vanity Fair, 2007
  53. ^ Outside Magazine, Green Issue, 2007
  54. ^ USA Today, 2007
  55. ^ Summer Rayne Oakes, AMICA feature, 2007
  56. ^ Summer Rayne Oakes, Shape Magazine feature, 2008
  57. ^ CNN "Young People Who Rock" interview, August 22, 2007
  58. ^ Glamour Magazine, 2009
  59. ^ Earth First, 2009
  60. ^ Springside Academy Recycles and Talks ECOFASHION 101
  61. ^ Hong Kong's Fair Trade Fair and Symposium : TreeHugger
  62. ^ Save the Polar Bears, Save the Humans article, Treehugger, November 6, 2007
  63. ^ Friends of TOMS
  64. ^ State Must Don Green Collar, June 3, 2008
  65. ^, Don't Bag Indonesia's Rainforests
  66. ^ Pak 2000 Separates from APP

External links

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