Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on December 31, 2009
Seeing a model posing for “G” a.k.a. eco-jeans or walking the runway for Ethical Fashion Show is admirable and sexy, but Summer Rayne Oakes is more than just a pretty face making commendable fashion statements. She’s a smart beauty who has figured out how to combine her image with her real interests and has become an earnest activist and entrepreneur. Heading up SRO (after her initials), a consulting company focused on sustainable business strategies, Oakes is using her background in science and her cause related modeling, and now travels the world helping companies tie in style with sustainability.
It’s one thing to read that Oakes graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources and Entomology, but it’s another to hear her speak her mind on environmental issues. She is, of course, still a pretty face, but the beauty falls to the wayside and you’re left listening to a confident, comfortable, and very intelligent female communicate with passion on a subject that has been close to her heart since youth the environment.
Oakes can keep it basic with folks about the simple ways they can start greening or she can talk scientifically. She has said herself that she finds speaking publicly exhilarating and enjoys being able to connect with a roomful of people. She speaks with comfort, breaking down worldly issues into concepts that anyone can grasp, or giving suggestions on how to make even the smallest incremental changes.
On occasion, when approached by an interviewer who brings up topics that she isn’t 100% versed in, she is very down to earth and honest about both needing and wanting to find out more.
Like many people nowadays, Oakes also has a blog that has her coming off as even more down-to-earth and approachable, even though some of the video displayed pertains to very important events she has recently been involved in.
For instance, Oakes recently acted as communications representative for Power Shift 2007, joining the first national youth summit to solve the climate crisis in Washington D.C. The events leading up to lobby day and the day itself are all documented on her blog. There are also clips of her interviewed at a Riverkeeper event, articles she has published, an article written about her in German Elle, and various info on her efforts with Be Carbon Neutral, SustainUs and many other efforts she believes in.
Oakes has a lot on her plate but for her, work is invigorating. She is now host for Eco 4 The World, an international prime time show debuting on teen channels throughout Asia, she writes a fashion editorial for magazine Lucire, and still models for socially conscious labels and initiatives. But she’s mostly the spokesmodel for her own company and the brains behind S4.
S4 is SRO’s quarterly newsletter reporting on how design trends affect the world. S4 addresses global warming, energy and even poverty, relating it to the apparel industry. Those who subscribe to S4 are companies like Aveda, Levis, GAP, Urban Outfitters, WalMart, Whole Foods, Conde Nast and many universities.
Along with continuing to school companies on sustainable business strategies and guide the youth, Oakes will continue developing her own TV programs which she hopes to host and produce. With all of her passion, it’s certain she will continually find ways to motivate environmental change, whether it’s written, through the camera, or just by sitting in someone’s living room.