THE SUSTAINABLE SPRING 2020 COLLECTION
MODEL, GLOBAL MATERNAL HEALTH ADVOCATE, AND ENVIRONMENTALIST CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS STARS IN OUR LATEST CAMPAIGN.
STARRING CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS
ART DIRECTION MERITOCRACY PROJECTS
PHOTOGRAPHY MATTHEW WELCH
STYLING KARLA WELCH
MAKEUP PATI DUBROFF
HAIR TEDDY CHARLES
NAILS MARISA CARMICHAEL
WORDS MEGHAN BLALOCK
Christy Turlington Burns is much more than a model, a bona fide icon, and one of the world’s most beautiful and recognizable faces—though she is certainly all those things. At time of writing, her Instagram bio reads, in order: Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Advocate, and Founder of maternity advocacy nonprofit Every Mother Counts. And if you ask her, the first and last of those descriptors are the most important.
"Protecting the environment is intrinsically connected to my mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere,” she tells us when asked to explain her passion for advocacy (Christy has a lengthy resume of work with human rights organizations, including CARE, (RED), and the United Nations, ). “If we don’t take care of the planet and its natural wonders, we can’t possibly or ethically encourage bringing new life into the world.”
Christy’s unbridled passion for safe pregnancy and childbirth was born of her own intimate knowledge of its dangers; in 2003, after giving birth to her first child Grace, she experienced a serious postpartum complication that served as the catalyst that opened her eyes to some grim facts about childbirth. Foremost among them is that every year, 303,000 women die globally from complications of pregnancy and childbirth—that’s one woman every two minutes. Even more devastating is the research that confirms that 90% of these deaths are completely preventable.
"Protecting the environment is intrinsically connected to my mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. If we don’t take care of the planet and its natural wonders, we can’t possibly or ethically encourage bringing new life into the world. I am and have always been a ‘less is more’ kind of person. I don’t understand or respect the habit of accumulating anything. If I make a choice, or a purchase, I intend to live with whatever it is for a very long time."
“Once people are aware of these facts, they want to help. Our aim is to educate and engage the public to invest in proven models of care that will ensure survival,” Christy explains further. “But we want women to do more than survive childbirth. We envision a world where they not only survive, but thrive, in motherhood. We all came into the world the same way. I want people across the country and around the world to unite around this common experience, and to help to ensure equitable access to safe, quality, and respectful maternity care when and if they choose to become mothers.”
Considering her A-list level of recognition and fame, many are surprised to learn that Christy’s runway career was, officially, rather short; she began modeling at the ripe age of 14 and retired from the catwalk at the still-young age of 25 to go back to school, graduating from NYU with honors in the year 2000. She came out of runway retirement last year, when she closed Marc Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2019 show at the age of 50. She felt a strong calling from a very young age to invest her energy in things much larger than her modeling career.
“I have learned a lot over my lifetime that I can’t separate from my career, but I honestly don’t think about my past in my daily life. I forget sometimes that my personal history is linked to a bigger one that others feel a part of,” Christy muses about her career and her fame. “I feel fortunate that I still have opportunities to see and meet people in the industry, when these days I spend most of my time working with people in public and global health. There’s some overlap, but really my two worlds couldn’t be farther apart. I am most proud of the relationships I have made over the years. That’s what really stands the test of time.”
Her passion for protecting women and mothers ties directly to the personal choices she makes in her everyday life—namely, her predilection for minimalism and mindfulness when it comes to her consumption habits.
“I am and have always been a ‘less is more’ kind of person; I don’t understand or respect the habit of accumulating anything,” she waxes. “If I make a choice or a purchase, I intend to live with whatever it is for a very long time. As a citizen, as a consumer, the choices we make reflect our values. Given all we know about the social and environmental impact of our footprints, these choices are not only important, they are critical.”
As such, Christy perfectly embodies the ethos and sustainability-first mindset of our Spring 2020 offering. Shot in Los Angeles by photographer Matthew Welch and styled by Karla Welch, the campaign blends her unfiltered, honest viewpoint with a light and minimal modern California feel, true to our West Coast DNA.
“I like to know who actually makes the fashion we wear, what did it take to create the piece, does the value reflect the cost, and vice versa,” she says of her own shopping process. “We have so much information at our fingertips these days. Do your due diligence. Research the brands you buy and products you stand for. Ask yourself, are your values in line with the brand’s? That’s transparency in fashion to me.”
Christy, who says the sustainable Thelma Super High-Rise Wide Leg was her favorite from the shoot, reports that she wears denim almost every single day.
“With a T-shirt, a button-down, or a sweater,” she says of her go-to jeans ensemble. “[Denim] is really seasonless fashion and suits my day-to-day better than anything else. Unless I need to dress up, I really don’t. I am a practical person. I like to be comfortable, not fussy. I suppose my ‘less is more’ philosophy comes across in my style, too. What you see is what you get.”
We’ll definitely take it.
“I like to know who actually makes the fashion we wear, what did it take to create the piece, does the value reflect the cost, and vice versa.”