The model tells Olivia Petter how sustainability influences her daily life
The Independent’s My Sustainable Life is a Q&A series in which famous faces reveal their personal approach to the climate crisis
Born in London, Lowe, 32, has been modelling since she was just two years old. Having worked with everyone from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and Vivienne Westwood to Burberry and Agent Provocateur, she is one of the most prolific British models working today.
She is also a keen environmentalist and regularly uses her social media platforms (she has more than 365,000 followers on Instagram) to promote her sustainable and vintage fashion finds.
Here she explains why feeling the grass on her feet helps her to feel more connected to nature, how investing in a water filter has made her home more eco-friendly, and why everyone simply needs to consume less.
The most sustainable decision I made in the past year was…
…to starting drinking filtered water. I live in London, and the tap water is not drinkable. I used to buy bottled water but you don’t really think about how many bottles you can actually go through that way. So now I have this water filter installed in my house that alkalizes the water as well as cleans it.
My least sustainable guilty habit is…
…the amount of things that get sent to my house. I order some of them but I also get sent a lot of things, and the rubbish that comes with it just makes me feel really awful. I wish people would please stop using polystyrene and not use plastic in their packaging.
If I ruled the world, I would make it more sustainable by…
Eradicating single-use plastic bottles by installing lots of refillable stations where you can buy a few glass bottles just once and refill them with every kind of liquid you need [like washing up liquid and shampoo].
It’s just about taking things back to basics. It’s such a simple idea. And actually, I think in the long term, it would save brands a lot of money on packaging.
When I want to feel in touch with the natural world I…
…try to feel the grass on my feet. It’s a really helpful tip that my godmother told me when I was quite small. She’s said, “If you ever just want to feel grounded, just go and find a patch of grass. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of central London, but just take off your shoes and feel the ground”. Donc, Oui. I love that.
If I could invent one thing that would make my life more sustainable it would be…
Something that would turn all waste directly into something else. That’s I thing that makes me the most panicked about my own personal carbon footprint; there’s just a lot of stuff that has to go in the bin and can’t be recycled.
So my invention would have to be something that turns that rubbish into things that you can use that are helpful. There’s a Kenyan engineer [Nzambi Matee] I have been told about who recycles plastic into bricks that’s stronger than concrete. That’s amazing. Her company is called Gjenge Makers.
My sustainability hero is…
Tamsin Omond. She was one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion. I met her when I was 19 and she had just set up a climate group where they would all dress up the suffragettes and handcuff themselves to railings and all that kind of stuff.
Now her and Jesse Brinson have set up this brilliant movement called Hey, Mothership, which has actually been set up as a charity, but it’s the idea of using that nurturing mother energy, even if you’re not a woman, or you don’t have children to heal the planet.
The one thing everyone should watch or read about the climate crisis is…
…Kiss the Ground on Netflix.I’ve watched quite a few documentaries about it, but every time it just breaks my heart and I end up just sobbing, and then not wanting to leave the house or do anything, Kiss the Ground is great because it makes it feel like it is possible to do something to help make a difference.
My favourite vegan or vegetarian restaurant is…
I used to love Manna in Primrose Hill but it’s closed down. So I love Mildreds, which is a chain and has a few restaurants in London.
My one piece of advice to people trying to be more sustainable is…
…just do less. Buy less and consume less if you can. I think it’s a really brilliant piece of advice that a friend of mine gave me.
I also just think that if you want to be more sustainable it’s just about considering your choices and knowing that you do have the power as a consumer to make better choices. Before you do anything, think about how that affects the planet.
Three sustainable brands everyone should know about
Lick– for every tin of paint that you buy, they take 18g of plastic out of the ocean. Sustainability is really their mission.
Nimble– it’s an incredible Australian activewear brand and they’re using plastic waste that they melt down and use to make their clothing out of.
Fill – it’s really great for cleaning products, I refill their glass bottles every time I run out of something. And it makes me feel better about the fact that I’m not throwing away a plastic bottle every time I’m finished.