You're a brilliant example of someone using their platform to raise awareness for good causes, especially when it comes to sustainability. This will be your fourth Instagram campaign focussing on environmental issues. Where was the #WeSeaThrough idea first conceived of?
I learned about microfibers (one type of primary micro-plastics) recently and started thinking about the impact they had on our oceans in the summer, especially as people tend to buy new swimsuits for every destination. Hence, my first thought was to raise awareness about the importance of
Portrait by DAN ILO
Marina Testino hails from blue blooded fashion Royalty, but instead of living off the fruits of her family, she is putting her name and efforts to good use. Her experience within the fashion industry is unparalleled, having studied fashion marketing at Parsons, she then went onto work at Purple PR, Vogue Paris, Art Partner, alongside her notorious uncle Mario Testino before founding her own label Point Off View. Whilst submerged within the thick of the fashion industry she began to see the ugly truths of it's effect on the planet and decided to do something about it.
choosing sustainable swimwear. However, after researching potential alternatives, I realized there is no clear answer: should we choose clothes made from recycled plastic pieces? Are natural fibres the solution? Neither the government organisations, NGOs, retailers nor the scientific community have a clear answer. What seems obvious to me is that we should all avoid buying clothes that increasethe production of new synthetic fibres (made using fossil fuels) as well as being mindful of our daily routines and avoiding single-use plastics.
Moreover, what's even more worrying is that microfibres are just one type of microplastics. We can also find them contained in beauty products, in the form of microbeads or when plastic pieces break down. Besides being harmful pollutants, they spread like wildfire because of their dimensions and there are no specific techniques to collect them.
Which of your three previous campaigns did you find the most challenging?
To be honest, this is going to be the hardest campaign. I am not a scientist and I am still researching and learning new things about microplastics every day. Also, there's not a lot of information on this subject since it's only started being studied recently. That's also part of the reason why I am getting help from different organisations: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, PPC and 5Gyres have all helped me in this adventure by providing facts on the issue. The other projects were easier campaigns since they were based on extending the life of clothing, through being creative with my outfits and only renting, borrowing, or sharing clothes and only buying when absolutely necessary. Here I decided to go the extra mile and use my skin as a way of protest because nudity is undeniably the most sustainable solution.
Can you tell us about your collaboration with videographer Danilo and the Ellen MacArthur foundation?
Danilo is a long-time friend of mine and I sort of pitched the idea to him about having a campaign focussed on microplastics and from there we drew up the bigger picture of how we wanted this campaign to look. We knew we would need the help of an organisation that actually knows about microplastics to back us up. I had been in touch with the EMF in the past and I felt they could be a great source because of their extensive work on this subject. The EMF team has been beyond helpful, and I would want to thank their Fashion Circular Initiative team in particular for their support in giving me all the facts and information I needed.
The whole nature of fashion is based on trends and wanting the latest thing. Do you think the fashion industry can ever be fully sustainable?
As an industry, we just need to stay informed and look to organisations and governments to tell us how to move forward sustainably. We can't keep pointing fingers at companies that are not doing enough or dismissing their acts as greenwashing... As consumers, we need to show them what to do and how to do it. A lot of the problems come from lack of knowledge; people want to be more conscious but don't know how to.
I don't expect the fashion industry to be 100% sustainable right away, but I think it is up to the consumers to realize their purchasing power. We all need to be more aware that where we shop truly does influence the business of these major corporations, the ones who continue to reinforce our thinking that fast fashion is the trend to be followed. Once we realize our voice has power to change their business models, I hope the industry takes a different direction.
The fashion industry has a huge problem with waste and lack of transparency within its supply chain. How can we improve this?
The government must step up, laws have to be implemented so that companies can follow. As consumers there is a limit of what we can do before we need the power of the government to implement change on a larger scale. That's why voting is so powerful since we are the ones that elect officials into office to create the change we want to see.
What rules would you like governments to implement in order to help save our planet?
We really need to stop single-use plastics; we are drowning in plastic even if we cannot see it. I would really like to see governments starting to ban single use plastics. They are one of the top environment killers, and, to make things worse, they break down into microplastics that we end up eating in our food. Plastic was only created in the 1950s, but we have already done such extensive damage in such a short amount of time, and so political action needs to be taken immediately in order to change our planet's future.
The education system seems to be reluctant about teaching sustainability to the next generation. How can we better our understanding of our planet and help to sustain it?
I think it's about the importance of talking about these issues so we can start a chain reaction of wanting to educate ourselves and others on the impact we have on the planet. That's why I do these campaigns, so I can spread the facts about the current state that we are in with regards to climate change. It is up to us to change the direction that we are heading towards and we can do our part by using our voices to incite change.
Which fashion houses do you admire who are making good changes and why?
There are several brands already making a difference: Allbirds, For Days, Nadaam, Reformation, etc.
What do you think is the future of sustainable fashion?
I think sustainable fashion will help us move away from producing large quantities of identical clothes and towards a more unique and original style for everyone to express themselves in. I see fashion as art and art as action. Let's all be part of this change as polluting our planet with our clothes will never be in fashion!
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