Arizona Muse on a Fast-Fashion Line You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty About

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For years, fast fashion looked the ultimate wardrobe savior, offering runway trends at rock-bottom prices. Yet, as swiftly as the sales rose, so did the problems. Fast fashion – with its outsourcing to factories in third-world countries with no governmental oversight, poor quality that quickly overflowed the earth’s landfills causing greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket, and toxic chemicals used to produce the clothes ending up in drinking water – has been responsible for disastrous human rights and environmental issues.

However, there are some brands that have the integrity to address these issues head on. Mango is leading the way when it comes to tackling fast fashion’s biggest issues and has worked with Greenpeace to reduce its water consumption, offset greenhouse emissions, and offer in-store recycling banks for used clothing.

With the release of the brand’s new ‘Committed’ line, there’s finally a fast-fashion line that you don’t have to feel guilty about buying. Inspired by relaxed bohemian shapes and safari styles, the Spring/Summer 2018 ‘Committed’ collection is made with recycled polyester, organic cotton, and Tencel, a sustainable material made from cellulose fibers.

Starring in the campaign for Mango’s ‘Committed’ collection is all-natural beauty Arizona Muse. Growing up in New Mexico and Arizona, the model has a true, bone-deep love of nature, making her the ideal star of this campaign. Her connection to her surroundings is real, born of a lifelong fascination with the outdoors. In this exclusive interview, Muse tells Savoir Flair why sustainable fashion is important to her, what this collection means for the greater good, and why she’ll always be a nature girl at heart.

Photo: Courtesy of Mango

Are you closely connected to nature?
I feel connected to nature all the time, and it’s something I really need to nurture. I live in a city and I find myself feeling starving for nature – I really want to go to remote places that are far away from humans and what they’ve built. I grew up in Arizona and New Mexico. Arizona is especially very ‘desert-y’ and wild, and that was amazing for a child – to be totally out in nature. It played a big part in my childhood; we went camping a lot and that was really cool because, when you are camping, you are so deep in nature. It’s more than just going on a hike.

You feel, hear, and perceive things differently. Sounds sound different. You understand things differently when you are deep in nature. I try to be in contact with nature as often as possible. I’m really lucky; my son is so interested in nature, so we don’t have to make him go for a walk or play in the garden. He’s desperate to go and explore nature. He knows so much already about plants and animals and how to live in the wild. He’s very passionate about it.

I live in a city and I find myself feeling starving for nature – I really want to go to remote places that are far away from humans and what they’ve built. 

What, in your opinion, is the most amazing natural paradise?
The Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I have this one memory from when I was about 14 and we went on a hike up to one of the highest peaks in Colorado. And when you get up near the top and past the tree line, there are no more trees – just grey rock. You can see how everything is falling down, like rock avalanches. The sky that day was also really gray, so it was the same color as the mountain. We were in this valley and you looked up into the top of the peaks, and you could see how colors melted. I loved that.

What is the best advice you were given in order to grow up loving and respecting nature?
To really nurture your kids, and that is what I’m trying to do with my son – support his passion for nature. His dream is to live for three months in a forest with nothing. I want to start building our family time around that, so we are going to start doing holidays in nature.

When was the first time you realized the importance of sustainability, and who has influenced your sustainable actions?
I grew up in a nature-oriented household, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I became really passionate about it. I have been educating myself, only to realize that there is so much to learn. It’s so exciting because there are so many solutions. There is so much plastic in the ocean, and we need to clean it up – let’s do it. Let’s make clothes out of the plastic bottles we take out of the ocean.

There are a few people who have been huge influences on me and my sustainable journey. One of them is Nina Marenzi at the Sustainable Angle, which is an organization in London that sources sustainable fabrics from all over the world and introduces them to brands so they can make the right choices. The fabrics that Mango has used for its ‘Committed’ collection are amazing. I am so proud, so proud to be here wearing them. And also, Orsola de Castro at Fashion Revolution, who has been really helpful, as well as Olivia Firth. They’ve all taken me under their wings and taught me so much. Everyone there is so excited about what they do. Sustainability is fun.

How do you integrate sustainability into your daily life? What you do in your life when it comes to sustainability?
I found the best way to introduce sustainability into my life on a daily basis is to use less water, so I turn the tap off when I brush my teeth – it’s so simple and so easy. You use much less water that way. I also try not to buy things that are made of plastic anymore, and I don’t buy clothes made of synthetic fabrics. And after natural fabrics is organic fabrics. These are the kinds of the steps that are not difficult to do. 

We just have to listen and take action.

What do you like about the ‘Committed’ collection? Why did you decide to participate on this project?
I love the collection. I am so excited to be wearing it. Mango approached to me and said, “We would like to have you in our collection because of your interest in sustainability.” People are starting to see that this is my real passion, and I am really honored. I love it because the fabrics feel great, I know a lot about where the fabrics come from, and I know how much better they are for our environment, our world, and us.

The fabrics that Mango has used are really high-quality, like Tencel, which is made from trees that were raised to be cut, so they’ve never deforested anything and wasted chemicals in the process. They reuse 99.7 percent of the chemicals that they use for processing. There’s also organic cotton, which is a totally different way of growing cotton. From my personal point of view, my decision to wear organic cotton comes from the way the farm is run – an organic farm for cotton is a totally different organization and that’s really important to the health of our environment.  

What about the ‘Committed’ collection felt relatable to you?
I relate to this collection because it fits my values. It’s really important to me to have clothing that is responsible, and this clothing is responsible.

Where do you see fashion currently when it comes to sustainability?
On the move, in a very exciting time of change, realization, and education.

Which values does a ‘Committed’ woman have?
I am committed, and I am really glad Mango is too. I think the Mango woman is educated and intelligent – she knows that her choices have an effect on the world, so she uses them wisely.

When we think about ethical and environmental issues all over the world, it’s easy to think, “I’m a drop in the ocean and what I choose will never make a difference.” Never think like that because it does make a difference. We need to be making this decisions as individuals. Consumer feedback is also really important to companies and governments. It really changes when they get feedback.

The global orientation to sustainability will change when education is prevalent. If everyone knew, we would never make bad decisions, but I think a lot of facts are kept a little bit secret. And when we don’t know those things, you can find them on the internet. You can find an incredible amount of information about what’s happening to our environment and the people who make our clothes. We just have to listen and take action.

You can shop the Mango ‘Committed’ collection here.

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